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





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

About: eh, i'm me, you are free to check my website, though

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

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.

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

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

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.




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One more update: The nice folks who make these plastic bags and valves are now putting out a screwtop addition that can be used to replace the valve. As soon as I can get my hands on some, my plan is to replace the liquid valve and use the bags for storing dry goods. They are way more robust than ziplocks!
Cool, eh?
For you purists who disdain boxed wine, you can get the bladders from some business that buy them to do stuff like dispense soft drink syrup. They are getting more and more popular because they keep the food fresh and away from oxygen, and don't spout leaks easily.

Get some good rope, like paracord. Tie an overhand knot around the valve, just where your fingers would go if you were using your hands. Then tie the two loose ends together with another overhand knot, so you can get a grip. Step on the wine bag, then pull up on the loop. The valve pops right out! I recommend doing this outside, because having your kitchen smell like old spilled wine might give the wrong idea to visitors!
It's the same idea as what we used to do to pull kid's baby teeth. The string gives you a good grip. Use gloves or a rag to protect your hands if needed.



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.

Yes, it's old, but well-written and over the years the boxed wine has gotten a LOT better! And the bags are pretty pricey to buy new, if you need a lot of them. They are also good for storing dry goods one buys in bulk, like rice.
To get rid of the smell, add some baking soda, peroxide, or something like oxyclean.

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 ;)

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

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.

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

2 replies

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.

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.

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

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".

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.

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.

1 reply

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

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.

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!

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)

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!!!).

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.

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.