Measure Liquids Without Contaminating the Measure




About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

Nighttime cold medicines come with a handy dosage measuring cup. It would be simple to pour the recommended dosage into the little cup and drink from it. But, a couple of people in a house often have a cold at the same time. Who wants to drink after another from a sticky, dirty measuring device? Just as you are recovering from your headcold, you are suddenly re-infected by the germs of others on the measuring cup. 

Here is a simple solution that can be used with nighttime cold medicines and other fluids, like transmission oil.

You will need some paper cups, juice glasses, or old soft drink cans; a marking pen, a scissors, and water.

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Step 1: First, the Cold Medicine

Fill the little measuring cup for the cold medicine with water to the recommended dosage. For an adult that is 30ml. The 30ml line is at the shoulder on the cup about 3mm below the top of the cup. Be as precise as you can.

Step 2: Transfer the Measurement

Pour the water you measured into a clear juice glass and mark its level on the outside of the glass with a sharp-tipped marking pen. We have been using these glasses for years. Originally they contained cheese spread. Each person in the family can have his or her own precisely calibrated glass for measuring and drinking the cold medicine. Just mark the glasses by writing a name on each glass or setting each glass on a small piece of paper with a name on the paper.

Surely someone will write, "Why not just pour the medicine into the supplied plastic measuring cup and then pour it into a juice glass from which it is drunk?" My answer is that the measuring cup becomes coated inside with sticky cold medicine unless washed after each use. That is possible. But, also, some of the medicine measured coats the sides of each container into which it is poured. Pouring it once into a juice glass wastes less medicine.

Step 3: Adapt to Use With Automotive Oils

I replaced the fluid and filter in my automobile's transmission. After a while the pan gasket compressed a little and I needed to tighten the pan bolts again. But, in the meanwhile, a small amount of fluid seeped out between the gasket's mating surfaces. I began to notice a hard 1-2 shift on moderately fast accelerations from a stop. I needed to add about 3 ounces of transmission fluid and all was good again. But, now the hard 1-2 shift has returned. The pan bolts each needed about 1/4 turn to be fully tight again. The pan exterior showed a little oil discoloration. Now I need to add a couple of ounces of transmission fluid again. 

A 4 or 6 ounce paper cup would work very well in place of the juice glass I use with the cold medicine, but I do not have any paper cups. So, I cut the top 1/3 from an aluminum soft drink can with a scissors and used it. I poured 3 ounces of water from my wife's kitchen measuring cups into the can and used a butter knife to press a crease into the side of the can as a marker. Then I poured the water out and swabbed the inside of the can with a facial tissue to remove any water droplets. I poured transmission fluid into the can until it reached the crease. I took my car out for a test drive and the rough shifting is gone. My wife will never suspect the part her measuring cups played in adding fluid to my transmission so it shifts smoothly again!

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    10 Discussions

    Phil Bavocadostains

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. It seems like a trivial idea, but also one I found helpful. I am glad it may be helpful to you, too. Thank you for looking.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Or you could just wash the measuring cup that came with the medicine... :-)

    On the other hand, I can certainly see the advantage to having a small measuring container for automotive fluids since you don't want to put them in measuring cups that will then be used for food.

    1 reply
    Phil Bxmedic

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I might just wash the measuring cup out as you suggest if I were the only one using it, but others in the family will be using it, too. If I use a juice glass, it can be sanitized in the dishwasher. I cannot do that with the little plastic measuring cup.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    If you are in contact with a group of people who all have the same cold odds are it is the same bug so what is the difference? Plus whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger so you might as well just go with it.

    My cold remedy I invented on a camping trip I got sick on. Brew up some hot tea, then put some Jack Daniels and honey in it. Drink enough of those and it'll make you feel better! Of course the sicker you are the more Whiskey you put in. Purely for medicinal purposes of course.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Phil, I do the following: the first time I use the plastic measure and drink the medicine directly from it, remembering (or trying it) the amount in my mouth. Subsequents time, I drink the medicine directly from the bottle.

    As you say, that sticky dirt left in the plastic measure is horrible, and if you wash it each time, you are wasting medicine.

    With oil, years ago I don't deal. I took the car periodically to do maintenance will.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have done this before with sugar for my morning tea and with medicine. Great idea to make it an instructable.

    1 reply