Introduction: How To: Reuse Franzia (or Any Other "Wine-In-A-Box") Or: a Compact, Airproof Bag for Liquids.

Picture of How To: Reuse Franzia (or Any Other "Wine-In-A-Box") Or: a Compact, Airproof Bag for Liquids.

So, last night I found myself at a party, full of people with questionalbe taste in alcohol. Needless to say, By the end of the evening, there were several empty boxes of wine (which dosen't actually come in a box).
as I was breaking down the empty wine boxes, I realized something very important. The bags inside the boxes are heavy-gauge plastic, and have removable valves. Finally! something I can use to bring along a decent wine on my next camping trip, or any other of the myriad uses these bags will undoubtedly find (even a solar shower). the new franzia boxes come with a spigot-type valve, which (after a bit of pulling and twisting) are removable. Finally! a way to take a nice bottle of wine with you on a camping trip, or a good, sturdy plastic bag with a built-in valve. here's the skinny:

Step 1: Empty the Bag/Box of Wine.

fortunately this first step will be done for you by the partygoers, if not, I recommend squeezing. Drink this foul liquid at your own risk.

Step 2: Remove the Bag Valve

Picture of Remove the Bag Valve

These pictures are a little out of order, as I had the idea for this after I had cleaned out the bag, but they should still work for you.
To remove the bag, Grasp the black valve part in one hand, and in the other hand, grasp the white plastic retaining ring (note: your valve and retaining ring may be of a different color and construction, but I know for a fact this works with franzia).

once you have a good grip, pull and twist untill the black valve assembly pops free. don't do this while wearing a shirt you like, as you will most likely spray a bit of cheap wine about.

Step 3: Wash the Bag/valve.

Picture of Wash the Bag/valve.

now that you have the bag open, it's just like washing a camelbak bladder. However, if you havent done that, the following process works quite well.

rinse the bag out with hot water and empty it.
squeeze about two teaspoons of dish soap into the bag. fill 1/2 the bag with hot water, and pop the (closed) valve back in. Shake the bag around to clean out the inside of it.

once it's nice and fomay, open the valve and squeeze the bag to get the soap and water out (this helps by cleaning out the valve). once empty, pull the valve back out.

fill the bag with hot water (gets more soap out). shake the bag around and rinse it out, make sure you get all of the soap suds (if you're curious, just taste the water, it should no longer taste like wine or soap.

when you have the bag clean, fill it up with hot water. put the valve back in and squeeze the bag. this forces the clean, hot water through the valve, and cleans it out the rest of the way. once that's done, pull the valve back out, and you should have a bag that looks like tihs.

Step 4: Blow the Bag Up and Let It Dry

Picture of Blow the Bag Up and Let It Dry

like it says. brush your teeth and rince with mouthwash (to help with germs)
then, blow the bag up and set it on a shelf to dry.

I didn't documen these next steps, as im not sure how well they work, but I did them anywya to make sure.

when you want to use the bag, Pour 4 oz of rubbing alcohol in it and push the valve back in.
shake it up to clean the bag of any germs, and squeeze it out through the bag.

rinse the bag out with several changes of hot water, fill with whatever you wish, and enjoy your new reclosable, 5 litre bag!

also of note, if you fill these up with air (blow it up), they make GREAT camp pillows.
they will eventually break/wear down, but just ask your box-wine-drinking friends to save their emptys, and you'll be in good supply for a while.

Step 5: Make Sure You Get the Funk Out

Picture of Make Sure You Get the Funk Out

I just checked the bag after letting it dry for a few days, and there is still a very apparent odor of wine. I'm letting the bag sit overnight after filling it with hot, soapy water to see if this helps cut down the smell. I'll Update this when I check it tommorrow. Please feel free to share any methods for getting the funk out. I'd say the bag is probably ok for potable liquids, it'll just make them taste nasty.

Step 6: Clean Out the Funk

SO, if you check out the comments, you'll notice where i hypothesized on the effectiveness of the dish soap/baking soda/hydrogen peroxide concotion. Well, it has been tested, and it works pretty damn well. you have to go through several changes, but eventually you'll get the wine smell/taste out.

Step 7: The Proofs (and Best Solutions - Literally) Are in the Comments.

Ladies and Gentlemen of Instructables. I am taking this opportunity to do two things: 1) Offer my congratulations to all of you who kept this instructable alive over the past four years, and 2) Thank each and every one of you (and there are so, so many of you) who have upon reading this added your suggestions to help take this from a cheap wine-induced idea to a fully usable and practical certainty. You all undoubtedly embody the prag/enigmatic spirit that is instructables, and I salute each and every one of you, as well as offering my most sincere and heartfelt thanks for helping with the evolution of this brainchild.

In short, I will be publishing an update to this instructable, reflecting all of the gainful insights you have provided, credit where credit is due, of course.  If there is a way to turn this into a group, I'll do that, so that all of you can have creative control of the solutions that you have helped to make into a reality.

Thank you all for demonstrating what this site is about.



Fitsnug (author)2017-12-12

I suggest you bin it and use a glass bottle as the plastic and all plastic is toxic.

Quote - Polycarbonate – used to make plastic food storage containers and bottles, and the epoxy resin used to line tin cans. It can release bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that many experts now believe can cause serious health problems.

PVC – used to make bottles, cling wrap and the seals for screw-cap jars.

Dungeonbrownies (author)2007-08-10

So many people have awful ideas. Add a lil lemon water and rinse it about inside and fill it up withthe lemony water for about half of the sack or, leave the bag open a lil afterwards and pop it in the freezer. Break it up every now and then so it doesnt teat the bag. eventually oyoull have slushy lemony icy chunks in semifreezee bits. keep doing that as long as you can until it forms a big mass of lemony freezy bits. then dump in as much bakingsoda as you dare and fiill it with hot water. Close the bag slightly or lightly plug it with your finger and let th melting, foaming action clean that bag straight out withot any bad smell. ice traps smells. Foam brings out bits. lemon is just plain pleasant. =D

While this post is older than most of my friends offspring, I find your solution intriguing. I'm going to buy some franzia just to test it.

KizzyJ (author)0.775volts2017-06-01

Hello, old post for you but nee to me. I just wanted to share my experience withe the bags. I will say the instructions were great! However, I cant get the wine smell out. I have soaped, bleached, vinegar and still when I re-fill mine with milk, I end up with sweet milk :0) I'm thinking I may have to buy new bags but I really dont want to throw these bags away because I know they can still be used. I will post if I get the wine smell out. Thank you for this post.

KristaraM made it! (author)2017-05-02

Had one in house, decent wine to get sideways on at home according to date, white spoils fast. Never buy less than four months away sell by
Absolute sweet tea and Kool-Aid dispenser when me and friends with their kids go to the beach etc
Watch got scented soaps

JaviM5 (author)2016-03-30

OR go to amazon buy new bags

0.775volts (author)JaviM52016-03-30

Hah... you realize this instructable is over a decade old, right?
Also, it would behoove you to read the other comments, as somebody posted your suggestion 9 years ago.

JaviM5 (author)0.775volts2016-03-30

Just because it's old doesn't mean people aren't searching, like me, I was looking for an easier way to bottle my home made wine, found this article and considered doing it this way, until I found out that Amazon sells the bags :) so I am buying them instead. I got excited and posted it here, if it's been suggested I just made it easier to find at the top ;)

RichardC300 (author)JaviM52017-01-18

Poppin in here.. Now I also know amazon carries them. Thanks!

Mi cha el (author)2016-10-07

Does anyone know of an easier way to pop the spigot out?

Drofnats (author)2016-09-16

Whilst searching the internet "how to reuse wine box bags", I stumbled on this. As an avid maker and consumer of home-made wine, although I bottle the stuff for long term storage (reusing wine bottles is expensive), I wanted an easier way of drinking it from the 5 gallon glass jar. This is a fantastic idea - I just have to drink this 5 liter wine box quickly .. "oh the things I do for science".

Mi cha el (author)2016-04-28

Regular coffee grounds will kill the wine smell. I used to haul semi trailers full of garbage, and after having the empty trail washed out, I would sprinkle a pound of coffee on the floor. The next day, no garbage smell! A scoop will be plenty for a wine bag.

kariswg1 (author)2013-10-25

I keep a couple of empties in the car, in my emergency bag, for those "full bladder" nowhere to stop, emergencies. Never had to use one, but they are there, just in case.

RobertH289 (author)kariswg12016-04-23

pity the fool who then tries to drink the contents of your full wine bag ;)

dreadenour (author)2015-12-21

instead of sanitizing with rubbing alcohol, why not use the product I used when I was homebrewing beer. It is called "One Step", and there are other similar brands of the same products out there (such as "Star-San") which use oxygen to destroy bacteria. The coolest thing about these products is that they require no rinsing, are environmentally friendly, leave no taste, and are economical to purchase and use.

bwh13 (author)2013-11-22

I just slid a butter knife between the flange of the spigot and the flange on the bag and torqued it sideways a bit and the spigot popped right out. Give me a lever and I will move the world. Quote me!

rnichols (author)2013-07-02

I usually wash it out as described and then I just cut the bags corner opposite of the spout. Hang the bag over something to catch any drips and when its dry, I use my vacuum sealer to reseal the place where I made the cut. (These are double walled bags but the sealer reseals both layers)

genderbender (author)2013-06-11

I had to use a chisel to get the spigot seal out. But then, once rinsed a couple of times, I was able to refill the bag with rain water. I then turned on the spigot (this time the one which comes from Trader Joe's Block Red Wine Australian Shiraz which is not spring loaded and will stay open just a little bit!) to some plant in the garden to slow water it all day! It took a while to get the opening part just right so the bag would empty in about a day (it wants to close, rather than stay open at just a drip rate).
I also hope to prove how the bag preserves the wine by poring one bottle into the bag and comparing it with another opened bottle of the same wine each day (do not try this at home! Ohh the scienctific excuses for drinking one's self under the table!!!).

Sebastopol Plantman (author)2013-05-30

I just read this 'ible, but I'd come to a similar conclusion some time ago. I hadn't had the courage to try removing the spigot from the one bag I have, though I was fairly sure it was possible: I didn't want to risk ruining it. That said, I did want to make sure my bag was cleaned out of wine and safe for use as an emergency water container, so I went through the soap wash and *MANY* rinses until the water no longer tasted of soap, just like you mention here.

Then, since I couldn't get it open to dry it out, I did the next best thing and put in about half a shot of whiskey to act as a disinfectant and preservative until such time as an emergency might arise. I made sure to expel nearly all the air so that the alcohol was in contact with all the internal surfaces. I expected any water I put in it afterwards to taste of whiskey, but that's not such a bad thing in my opinion.

bluesquid (author)2013-03-30

There is a product called star san sold all over the internet. It is a cleaner made to clean out vessel that liquids are fermented in. Its safe an flavorless to ingest. Works great onmy camelback.

phlogs (author)2006-10-10

If you buy a box of coffee from DnD or STBX, the coffee itself comes in a mylar-looking bag with a similar looking valve. As the bag is empty until you purchase the box of joe and if you don't let the coffee linger too long, you would have a much easier time getting the residual smell/taste out. The silvery mylar would probably make for a better solar shower...

msdrpepper (author)phlogs2009-05-21

Ohhhhh THAT's how they get the coffee into those boxes!? I've seen them for sale at STBX but duhhhh okay so I'm a little dense. But I should get one for road trips, even if it is cold, I can still sweeten it with liquid stevia and it would taste better then some of the nasty joe at roadside gas stations... eww. And silver mylar... great idea. Hey I have some extra wine box bags coming up, if anyone wants one, let me know...

KittyF (author)msdrpepper2011-11-06

we're non drinkers around here, I'd love one or two. do you still have any extra?

0.775volts (author)phlogs2006-10-10

Our local Panera bread has these as well. I haven't tried anything with them, but they'll probably work pretty well. have you checked to see what kind of valve assembly they use? are they as easily removed as the franzia valves? On a side note: I added a step with the anti-skunk solution (also featured on mythbusters), as it does a decent job of removing the wine smell. You're correct about the coffee, I would guess that as long as you emptied the bag while the coffee was still hot, it would probably have very little smell. I like the silver as well, i'll reflect more heat and keep the wine from getting too hot (on my last trip, the wine got way too hot, I had to put it in a stream for over two hours to cool it down)

mountainmandan (author)2010-04-25

Great idea!  Foil bags work way better than the clear plastic ones. They don't let light in, so it's a lot harder for bacteria to grow.  I've found that they hold on to the smell of whatever liquid was inside much less than the clear plastic.  You still need to rinse them:  one ounce bleach and half bag of hot water, rinse and repeat, hang dry for a couple days.  I've used the pillow idea while backpacking before.  Water bag by day, pillow at night!

KittyF (author)mountainmandan2011-11-06

If you're planning to lay your head on a pillow of water, I wouldn't. water absorbs all your body heat and could leave you with an ear ache at least.

lynnr97303 (author)2011-04-23

I did as you said...then filled it partway with water...put it back in the box ...placed it in the freezer with the sput facing up and open. Now I have a nice block of ice for a cooler and fresh cold water for a trip. The next bag I get I plan on making sun-tea before freezing.

KathyNY (author)2011-01-06

I think these could be reused to store virgin olive oil or olive oil in to keep it free from oxidation caused by air and deterioration from light - and the spigot will make use pretty easy....try it and let me know what you think and I will try it and post feedback if I do.

CoffeeWoman (author)2010-06-29

This idea is sooooo going to the playa! I may have to play around with dollar store/yard sale backpacks and some food-safe tubing - homemade camelback... As far as the odor and bacteria issues, try using campden tablets. You can get them from home brew stores and work great to clean, deodorize and sanitize wine making equipment, which should do the trick for the Franzia bags.

djcssp (author)2010-04-16

Try adding a 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the water and let that set overnight. Vinegar removes nasty odors from closed areas when placed in a cup with a cotton ball in it. I got the smell of a dead bird out of my car with it.

TATTERH00D (author)2009-02-25

Based on the comments for this instructable, another could be started on "Many Ways to Destench Your Stuff" Excellent I'ble, I'll start saving these up to leave a little trail magic on the AT!

msdrpepper (author)TATTERH00D2009-05-21

vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are all good ways to de-stench the funk out of funky stinky stuff. I used it on my wine bag too... that and I let it hang up valve part down, from my little pink clothespin-endowed lingerie hanger - let the air circulate around inside it. Worked well.

blodefood (author)msdrpepper2010-03-25

You could also remove odours from plastic using  some borax dissolved in water.  Let sit ovenight.

freerunnin1 (author)2009-08-22

this gave me the idea of a DIY camel back or platapus lol

mikesty (author)2006-08-21

For some reason, I misread this as "airPORT-proof" and thought this was about sneaking liquids onto planes. Pretty cool otherwise :D

msdrpepper (author)mikesty2009-05-21

bet you could bring it into the airport... it's all plastic, not like it will trip off the metal detector. but these days probably not a bright idea..

outtokill (author)2009-03-06

dam thats smart

sageridder (author)2007-02-27

I know hot water sets in many stains blood,juice ect., did you try soap and cool water to see if it would remove the smell.For the solar shower idea couldn't you spray paint one side black?

0.775volts (author)sageridder2007-03-11

You could paint it black, but I'm not sure what that would do to the plastic. I've made a solar shower from these by just filling it with creek water and wrapping it in a black t-shirt. this also makes it easy to hang, since you can just put a stick through the sleeves and hang that in a tree.

I see a winesack and i want it painted black...

Senseless (author)FunkNattidelic2008-07-31

I could not foresee this thing happening to you...

eviloverlord (author)2006-08-21

These things also make small but handy inflatable pillows. They're strong enough to survive a skull resting on them and can be blown up as soft/hard as you like.

msdrpepper (author)eviloverlord2008-04-03

Oooh another most excellent idea!! Would be great for roadtrips where I want to nap in the car!! I'll have to try this. Maybe Ghondi can save me some of his bags the next time his mom's friends come and get loaded at their place (a box a DAY? and here I'm thinking I'm such a lush if I go through more then one a box a YEAR! guess I are a prude! hahahahah!)?? Hmmm I think I'm just gonna slam down that last cup and get started to cleaning my bag. Scientific inquiry beats vacuuming the floors any day! haha.

0.775volts (author)2006-08-22

Just wanted to update you guys, I added an extra step, 'cause the bag still smells of wine.

EvilLawnGnome (author)0.775volts2006-08-22

It will be very hard to get the wine smell out. I think the plastic actually absorbs some of the wine on a microscopic level. Check the automotive section at *mart. You want industrial strength degreaser. The bottle should say "safe for use in kitchens", which means its safe to use here. Follow the directions on the bottle and use hot water. I worked at mcdonalds when i was in highschool; they had some industrial strength degreaser that could cut ANYTHING. I used to steal the concentrate to use at home. :D

msdrpepper (author)EvilLawnGnome2008-04-03

I've had good results getting odors out with just plain vinegar (and vinegar and wine are sort of distantly related). It seems to be better or more effective job for me when I use the Braggs or similar brand of natural apple cider vinegar (www dot braggs dot com ) because it has the natural "mother of vinegar" probiotic in there - good bacteria - which eat up the crud I guess? Don't know how it works but it kinda leaves a pleasant (to me) vinegary smell which is usually preferable to the objectionable stink I originally had (wine etc). But even the pasteurized vinegar does good enough. Seems like I read something one time that vinegar had been proven in toxicology reports to be just as effective and just as recognized by the Food Services industries as a cleansing agent as bleach, but vinegar is not toxic to humans - only to the bad bacteria. Wish I could remember where I read it though...oh well, another googling project for another day. It has worked well for me though in cleaning around the house so I believe it is true, and my family seems to be healthy too.

Anyway I have a bag-in-a-box of Burgandy Franzia sitting right here in the kitchen, reminding me that a) I need to buy a new box as I am almost out, probably a cup or less of wine remaining, and I love using the "box wine" when wet-roasting a roast beef or lamb - easy to pour out into a measuring cup) and b) that i need to try out your instructions for converting it into a water bag etc (*VERY* cool idea, I might add, and I'm ticked at myself for throwing away 2 or 3 perfectly good Franzia boxes in the past years!! arrrgh! But I will go and sin no more, at least that way... heh.). The solar shower idea sounds great, too!! and I know people who like to go hunting so I'll forward them these ideas!!

Subvert (author)EvilLawnGnome2006-08-22

Maybe try out that "Amazing" (or whatever) degreaser from the dollar store that Make featured way back?

Myself (author)0.775volts2006-08-29

I store coolers and water jugs with a handful of baking soda inside. Works like a charm, they don't smell like plastic after a year in the attic. If you want it dry, shove a few spare desiccant bags in there with the soda. If you're just trying to get the smell out before immediately refilling with liquid, try storing it overnight with a stiff solution of baking soda in water, massaged into the corners.

Granny_Leah (author)2008-04-03

Ooh, nice! The kids drink that stuff from time to time. I'll have to divert one from the trash next time. Thanks much for the idea.

Mz3FRS (author)2006-09-11

I clean plastics with a bleach solution to remove residual smells/tastes. Maybe a tablespoon or 2 of chlorine bleach in a 3/4 full bladder. Shake it around, rinse well. If that doesn't work, try soaking it overnight. This removes the tequilla/lime smell from a nalgene bottle quite effectively IME.

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Bio: eh, i'm me, you are free to check my website, though
More by 0.775volts:Beer in the shower part 2: The BeerHanger (wire, pliers, and human interaction.)Keep your beer from getting showered while in the shower Part 1: Make yourself smell like roses while stopping to smell them.How To: Reuse Franzia (or any other "Wine-In-A-Box") or: A compact, airproof bag for liquids.
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