Introduction: Unusual Uses Ziploc Bags

Picture of Unusual Uses Ziploc Bags

Resealable plastic bags are so useful at keeping things securely sorted. Though the organizational uses for this plastic pouched wonder are abundant, there's quite a few unusual uses for Ziploc bags that might surprise you. From paint to marinade, there's more than a few unusual uses for Ziploc bags.

Step 1: Airplane Phone Holder

Picture of Airplane Phone Holder

There are so many storage uses for resealable bags when travelling, especially when there's liquid limits to what you can take on your carry on. Carrying a few extra bags with you when travelling on an airplane is smart, since the bags can be used as a makeshift phone holder for your next flight.

When you're in your seat, place phone inside the clear plastic bag and seal closed. Open the drop down tray table in front of you and place the top of the bag into the tray lip and close the tape, trapping the thicker closing strip between the tray and the seat. You can close the locking hasp over the bag to secure everything in place.

When your phone is resting securely you can still use the capacitive touch screen, and headphones can easily puncture the bag into the jack if you want to watch a movie.

Some airplanes have different versions of the tray table, so you may have to adjust the method to suit your plane model.

Step 2: Piping Bag

Picture of Piping Bag

If you're ever in need of a piping bag but can't find one, chances are you'll be able to locate a sandwich bag that will serve the same function.

Scoop your frosting into the bag. If you can find a small bowl to wrap the open top of the bag over, that will make filling much easier. Spoon frosting into bag until about 3/4 full.

Seal the bag and use scissors to snip a small corner off the bottom of the bag. Squeeze the bag from the sealed top to push the frosting out the cut opening in the bottom of the bag. Pipe directly onto your cupcake or dessert. The bag can be refilled as many times as needed.

Step 3: Funnel

Picture of Funnel

Piping delicious frosting isn't the only function of filling a resealable bag and snipping off a corner. Using the same trick the bag can be used as an emergency funnel for dry good or liquids.

Depending of what you're funneling, and the opening size of the receptacle, you can cut off more or less from the corner to get the right flow for your application.

Step 4: Marinade Bag

Picture of Marinade Bag

Staying in the kitchen, resealable bags are perfect for marinading food. The best part is that it keeps your hands from getting messy, and makes marinades a snap!

Simply put all your marinade ingredients into an appropriate sized resealable bag, seal up and mix with your hands until combined. Open the bag up again and place your food to marinade inside the bag. Lay the bag flat on the counter and try to remove as much air inside the bag as possible before sealing. Once the plastic bag is sealed massage with your hands until the food is completely covered with the marinate. Place in the fridge and let the marinade do the hard work.

Step 5: Breadcrumbs

Picture of Breadcrumbs

Ziploc bags are just so good at keeping a mess contained, that it's perfect for the next time you want to make crumbs from a cracker or stale bread.

Place your food into a Ziploc bag and start smooshing it with a rolling pin. If you're not gentle with making crumbs the plastic bag can split, so if you're unsure double wrap the food before turning into crumbs.

Step 6: Keep Ice Cream Soft

Picture of Keep Ice Cream Soft

Okay, the last kitchen use for Ziploc bags. I promise.

If you've even kept ice cream in the freezer for too long you might have noticed ice crystals forming on the top of your favorite flavor, this is called heat shock (or freezer burn). This happens when ice cream melts a little and then is refrozen, when the ice cream is put back into the freezer the container isn't air tight and the cold draws moisture out of the ice cream and freezes into large ice crystals on the surface.

The best way to combat this is to add an air barrier between your frozen favorite and the rest of the freezer, like in a large Ziploc bag. This provides a method to block air from moving around inside the container of ice cream but still let the cold through.

Step 7: Store Paintbrushes

Picture of Store Paintbrushes

In the workshop a resealable sandwich bag can be invaluable for your next paint job. Between paint coat applications while the paint is drying on your next project it's also drying on your brush or roller. Instead of cleaning your brush between every coat and wasting water or mineral spirits just put your brush in a resealable sandwich bag, squeeze out the air, then seal to preserve your brush until you're ready for the next paint coat.

I've had brushes last overnight using this method, though haven't tested longer. I usually finish my paint jobs in a day so duration isn't as important as the short-term gain of not having to wash my brushes between coats.

Step 8: Shower Head Soaker

Picture of Shower Head Soaker

Vinegar is great for descaling all kinds of things in your home, like your kettle or stainless steel water bottle. It's also great for use on your shower head to to descale the insides and increase the flow. You could remove the shower head first before soaking but by leaving it on you also expose the neck of the shower plumbing to the same treatment, double whammy!

The bag is placed over the shower head and filled until the head is completely submerged, the top of the bag is wrapped closed and secured with a zip tie and left to sit overnight. The next morning the tie can be cut and the vinegar can be poured into the drain. Let the shower run for about a minute after this application to blast out any remaining vinegar in the head.

Step 9: Packing Airbags

Picture of Packing Airbags

An alternative to using paper wadding next time you ship something is to use airbags. If you're like me you reuse your resealable bags as often as possible. Before throwing them away for good, using them as packing fill is a great last use.

Close a resealable bag most of the way, then blow air into the small opening until bag is inflated and quickly seal shut while continuing to fill the bag. Once the air is trapped inside you might need a little tape to secure the seal and ensure it stays inflated. I find it easiest to fold over the resealable top and then tape shut, giving an extra layer of sealing protection.

Step 10: Paint Project (for Kids!)

Picture of Paint Project (for Kids!)

Kids love being creative, and messy. Allow them to express themselves with color without all the mess that comes with painting.

The best part of this method is that there's no rules with how you apply the paint, or make your creation. Any paint will work (though, water-based acrylic is best), and can work for any ability or age group.

These artistic masterpieces can be made by placing a piece of printer paper in a large Ziploc bag and then adding a few drops of acrylic paint, then seal the bag. Press your fingers, palm, or any other instrument against the bag where the paint is to smear it around and make your design.

After, clean out your Ziploc bag with warm soapy water and let dry, then repeat for the next project.

Do you have your own unusual uses for Ziploc or plastic bags?I want to see it!

Share a picture of your unusual use in the comments below and get a free Pro Membership to Instructbales!


aunt margie (author)2017-11-03

Thanks, everybody. I found 3 different sizes of small zip.bags at Michael's for the same prices I was seeing online, but without having to pay shipping.

aunt margie (author)2017-11-03

Thanks, everybody. I found three different sizes at Michael'

dridenh1 (author)2017-11-02

I loved the 'Easel-like, mix the paint' one; thanks!!

dridenh1 (author)dridenh12017-11-02

I use a '''''zip bag within a zip bag within a bag within a zip bag''''' system; as many bags as needed. See-thru is seriously helpful, of course.

My knitting bag needs something to house all the smaller tools of this trade; smaller parts first like stitch markers in it's own tiny zip bag, tip protectors in another, crochet hooks and yarn needles in another (yes, knitters need crochet hooks), knitting needles into another (as I always carry three or four pair leaving the big case to tote along as necessary). Yarn goes in another; the bags keep the yarn clean and can be threaded out of a corner using larger zips, like a gallon size which is partially open.

If your bag isn't totally used or full, wrap the surplus around the item, knitting needles particularly, and band it off with rubber bands. At the end of sorting, all go into the largest zip I've found being a 2 1/2 gallon and found online.

I save all sorts, too of see-thru bags such as those used to hold conforters or quilts. Love them!!

My tackle box has zips in them, too!! LOL!!

Hubby uses them to hold chemicals and metal parts needing de-rusting, etc. We don't reuse these, of course.

Alaskan Bev (author)2017-08-27

I can't show a picture of this because it is summer and it's a long drive from our house to old snow! When a little kid gets hurt (not enough for EMTs!) but wants the attention of being cared for, I've been known to slip some snow into a ZipLoc (Freezer style) bag, let the crying injured child pick out a sticker or two for the bag, then hold the bag over the injured area. Either hold it over the clothing and bandage, or wrap in a towel to keep it from compounding an injury by freezer burn!

dridenh1 (author)Alaskan Bev2017-11-02

Love the idea!!

gm280 (author)2017-08-14

You can buy really small size ziplock plastic bag in the 2" by 3" sizes. Those are great for sorting electronic parts like resistors and capacitors. I print out a label and slide it inside the bag with the sorted parts and can easily see what each bag has in it then.

aunt margie (author)gm2802017-08-17

Where do you buy them? I have tried stationery stores... no luck.

dridenh1 (author)aunt margie2017-11-02

Walmart has the three small sizes in their craft section. So many come in one purchase that you'll never need to buy more! LOL!!

Alaskan Bev (author)aunt margie2017-08-27

Stores that sell geocaching supplies have them, too, or you can order them online from geocaching websites.

Dollar Stores...

If you cannot find them at the dollar store, Michael's sells them in all sorts of very small sized in the Jewelry Making Section and they are often on sale

oky jim (author)aunt margie2017-08-17

you can get them at pharmacies and hobby shops. Try hobby lobby.

Was1x (author)oky jim2017-08-19

I got mine at a Pharmacy. 2x3 in

pgs070947 (author)aunt margie2017-08-19


I use a lot of them

PattyP17 (author)aunt margie2017-08-17

Walmart sell two or three sizes of very small ziploc bags in the craft section.

gm280 (author)aunt margie2017-08-17

You can buy the little 2" x 3" bags at a lot of electronic parts stores and places like Amazon. And they also have other small sizes as well.

MaricelaR2 (author)aunt margie2017-08-17

I use these for storing beads and small electronic accessories.

RustyRoller (author)gm2802017-08-21

I buy various sizes of the small zip-loc bags online ... very easy to find with a search. I use them for all kinds of things, including silver jewelry, misc. specialized hardware, and put my meds and supplements in them for travelling. I use a mid-size (4X6) for storing seed packets once I've opened them. Those who craft with beads use them ... in fact, that's pretty much what they are sold for, and if you search on Amazon in the sewing/crafts section, you'll find plenty to choose from.

doo da do (author)gm2802017-08-15

I use a lot of old medication bottles, they work great for small parts.

I have my flash drive in one keep out the dust out

gm280 (author)doo da do2017-08-17

Yea, I too use empty medicine bottles as well. Anything that you can sort items in to keep things organized is always a good thing.

Yonatan24 (author)gm2802017-08-14

And if you buy stuff on eBay you'll get them for free! :)

JustinC208 (author)2017-08-17

sorry #9 dosent work .. i even sealed them with tape and they still lost air and the item moved around in the box

JohnD316 (author)JustinC2082017-08-17

I agree they are not and have never been air-tight or water tight. You cannot use them successfully for either purpose.

dridenh1 (author)JohnD3162017-11-02

Well, got duct tape? LOL!!

TheFireMan (author)JohnD3162017-08-17

I HAVE used them for these purposes.

Try using a Straw to fill the Bag, that way you won't loose air that your blowing in and pinch the straw so that the sealing strips are lined up and pull out the straw and seal at the same time. It works real well when removing air to make it air tight for food storage, or just to take up less space, just suck all the air out with an ordinary straw.

dridenh1 (author)Celticlady19602017-11-02

Well, that's problem solvers!!

tulekah (author)JustinC2082017-09-25

Vasaline on the zipper or the push together will seal better

JoanB5 (author)JustinC2082017-09-02

Some bags don't seem to work and let air or water in. If anything gets in the zipper part they won't seal right, so reusing may not work.

TheOldGrouch (author)JustinC2082017-08-17

I'm wondering if , after filling the bags wit air, they could be sealed with a vacuum sealer., providing, of course, that you first have a sealer, and second, have the option on it of being able to seal without vacuuming bags. Personally, I have loads of the little bag cushions in reserve from all the stuff I've bought and had shipped to me with them inside or cushioning. I've also got a giant bag of the foam peanuts I've saved.

oky jim (author)TheOldGrouch2017-08-17

I have tried doing that and the bags melt if they are on the sealer too long.

TheFireMan (author)oky jim2017-08-17

I just leave them for a shorter time. No melting.

But I'm just an old-fogey curmudgeon...

gunsgt1863 (author)JustinC2082017-08-17

I wonder if they failed because of pressure changes during shipping?

JustinC208 (author)gunsgt18632017-08-17

i think the bag its self leaks air and not 100% sealed

keyguy13 (author)JustinC2082017-08-17

This is correct. They are not airtight or water tight. They don't work for shipping at all

Gadget93 (author)2017-08-29

I've not used it as a FIRE starting device yet but it seems logical to:
1) Fill it up with water then
2) Seal it
3) Bring it out into the sun
4) Use it as a magnifying device to focus the sun's energy into a single point thus creating fire from water.

Gadget93 made it! (author)2017-08-29

I like to double ziplock baggie my phone whenever I take a bath. This way, if something were to happen....such as if phone accidentally fell into the water, my phone would still be safe and sound. (Obviously it's a preventative and not intended to be used as a 100% water proof container).

licheness (author)2017-08-23

Here is a link to another use for ziplocks here!:

Lovetra (author)2017-08-23

EVEN my paint brushes-- big or small when you seal them up for a period of time I use a spray bottle of water in the shop and spritz inside of bags (sometimes snack bags for small brushes). I do this with oil base paint or water base. Oil and water don't mix but on the oil base water double prevents hardening of the brush. When you go to use, water wipes off totally with paper towel or wadded toilet paper without a problem. Brush is pliable for a week or more.

Celticlady1960 (author)2017-08-22

Also, #2 works really well when making Meringue Cookies, since the egg white will flatten if there is any oil in the Pastry Bag, and they are less expensive the disposable Pastry Bags, and if measure and cut the correct side hole by marking it with a Coupler, you can use any tip you have...That way you they are easier to decorated then using a pastry bag. Also, it is a lot neater as no matter how much I twist the end it always got on the outside of the pastry bag, but since the Ziploc's seal well there is no mes

Celticlady1960 (author)2017-08-22

Also, several people talked about putting their tablet in them while cooking, but I have a really good cookbook, that is set up with a 3-Ring Binder Type, and I can take out the page I want to use and make the recipe no matter how messy it is and when all is cleaned up I just wipe down & Dry the outside of the Ziploc, remove the page with the recipe and it is perfectly clean.

Celticlady1960 (author)2017-08-22

I use Polymer Clay, and if it comes into contact with certain plastics it gets ruined. Yet, the Ziploc bag can be used to store opened and scrap Polymer Clay, and it keeps it perfect. Also, I ordered some that came in the mail and the plastic they were originally packaged in was starting to come apart and the small Ziploc Snack Bag worked perfectly to keep them clean, and the good part is you can read through it so if it is getting low you can more if you need it.

Lovetra (author)2017-08-17

I've fallen in love with the new snack size bags. Two main applications is disassembly of an appliance to keep small parts that have to be put back in any certain order. Worked wonderfully on clothes dryer when I needed to tear apart to find I needed to order a belt that didn't arrive for five days. When it did it was easy to know which pieces went back where. Stored plastic envelopes in box in order of use. Then there are all kinds of uses at my sewing machine for need of small bags. They don't take up as much space as glass jars. Handy for all sorts of crafts. Keep change in one of these in glove compartment for parking meters also. I use them to steam 1 half of corncob in microwave adding abt 1 tbs spoon of water 3 to f minutes. I'm the only one in the house likes con on the cob.

NickR37 (author)Lovetra2017-08-18

agreed with snack size bags. The possibilities are endless, especially when you have children. all kinds of art supplies, stickers, game pieces, etc. I especially like them to put different keys I have. Parents house key, in-laws house key, back gate key, each bag labeled so I'm not trying all kinds of keys in all kinds of doors or locks. Lol

Callie Lea (author)NickR372017-08-22

I use these bags for many things, but I hadn't thought about using them for keys. Great idea! Thanks.

pgs070947 (author)2017-08-19

Another one along the paintbrush theme.

Getting adhesive labels off small containers like TicTac - put some paper towel in the bag, wet it with white spirit, put the containers in, leave for a day and the labels will fall off. Try other solvents like methylated spriris if the white spirit doesn't work

Iron-on edging tape - I don't like the heat sensitive adhesive they use, so like the TicTac containers, put the tape in the bag overnight and the adhesive strip falls again - then use a contact adhesive of your choice.

RustyRoller (author)pgs0709472017-08-21

Also, I've found that once I've put a brush or even a roller in the bag, if it then goes into the fridge, the paint will stay fresh enough for several days to keep using the brush or roller without cleaning.

wyldecent (author)2017-08-21

I will vouch for the paintbrush use. As most of the walls in my house are the same color, I just seal the brush and put it in the fridge until ready to work on the next room. It can be months between rooms and the brush is still good (needs a couple of minutes to warm up before using).

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