Do you have a ton of extra Ziploc bags in your house? Of course you do, we all do.
But these bags are not just for lunch you know!
Check out some of the many uses for Ziploc bags that you may have never thought about before.
16 Surprising uses for Ziploc bags
Whether you accidentally bought too many Ziploc bags or got the wrong kind, you don’t have to let them go to waste. You can use the bags in many different ways throughout your home – and even outside the home.
1. Cover wet umbrellas
If you use an umbrella, you know it can be hard to store when you get inside. Fortunately, a gallon size Ziploc bag is a perfect size to cover a collapsable umbrella.
Once you close the umbrella, grab a gallon bag and put it over the wet part. Then, zip up the opening, and you can put the umbrella in your bag without it getting other things wet.
You don’t need to buy a special cover for your umbrella or worry about forgetting the cover. And you can store multiple smaller umbrellas in one bag.
2. Store car equipment
If you have a lot of small car accessories, use a Ziploc bag or two to organize them. You can use bags to store your jumper cables, registration documents, and more.
Even if you know where everything is, bags offer extra protection. You never know when rain might leak into your car. And if a document or cable is sitting right there, the rain could damage it.
Ziploc bags are great for storing car equipment if you move between cars a lot. Then, you can grab the bags so that you have what you need when borrowing a different vehicle.
3. Protecting side mirrors
Another great way to use a Ziploc bag for your car is to protect your side mirrors. If you know you’re about to get snow or ice, grab two-gallon bags.
Put one bag on each mirror to keep the snow and ice from sticking to it. While you may still need to scrape off the snow or ice, you can save a couple of minutes.
And you won’t have to worry about not being able to see behind you. Try to keep some bags in your car for when you have a storm coming.
4. Keep an extra set of clothes
If you’re on the go, you can use a Ziploc bag to store an extra set of clothes for yourself or your kids. You can send the bag to school with your child in case they get dirty during the day.
For you, you can keep the clothes in your car for when you spill something. Then, you don’t have to go home and change or worry about not looking your best for an important meeting.
The clothes don’t have to be super fancy, but they should fit and be clean. That way, you and your family can prepare for anything.
5. Store your shoes
Whether you’re heading to work or on a trip, use a Ziploc bag to store a change of shoes. If you need to change your shoes, you can put them in your bag without getting your other stuff dirty.
And when your current shoes get dirty, you’ll have a clean place to store them within your bag. Then, you don’t have to carry another bag just for your shoes.
If you’re traveling with your family, you can label each shoe bag. Then, everyone can grab their shoes quickly and easily.
6. Organize for travel
You can also use a Ziploc bag when organizing for travel in general. A quart bag is perfect for storing liquids on a plane.
One bag could store charging cables, another could fit another small item. Then, you don’t have to keep everything in one big pocket of your bag or suitcase.
And if you have a lot of similar cables, you can label the bags. Then, you can find the cable you need when you have to charge a device.
7. Store medications
If you need to take medication when you’re at work or on a trip, use Ziploc bags for that. You can store medication for the day, so you don’t have to bring the entire bottle.
When on a trip, label each bag with the date and time that you need to take it. If multiple people on your trip take medications, you can also add the person’s name.
While you can use a pill storage container, those can be expensive. A Ziploc bag is convenient and affordable. Plus, you can use the bag for something else once you’re done taking the medication.
8. Pack a snack
A great way to use a Ziploc bag after taking medication is to use it as a snack bag. Store anything from chips to nuts to other dry snacks in the bag for a quick meal.
This is great if you or your child is on the go. You can pack the bag ahead of time with your favorite snacks to save time. And you’ll save money on expensive snacks you may get in public.
Packing snacks is also useful for people with allergies. You can make sure the bag doesn’t contain anything that you’re allergic to.
9. Cook or bake
When you’re at home, an excellent way to use a Ziploc bag is to help you cook or bake. Consider a few ways you can use these bags.
- Tenderize chicken safely
- Knead dough without a huge mess
- Shake up dry ingredients
- Cover chicken with breading
Using a bag to shake up dry ingredients or cover chicken with breading is a great way to get your kids involved. You don’t have to worry about stuff getting everywhere, and your kids can have fun.
When you’re done with that step, you can take the food out of the bag. And if you need to cover multiple pieces of chicken, you can keep adding one after another.
10. Store ingredients
Sometimes, you may want to make a nice meal during the week, but you might be busy with work. If that’s the case, you can cut up your ingredients the night before or in the morning.
Put the ingredients in some Ziploc bags to keep them fresh. When you’re ready to start cooking, you can grab the ingredients. Then, you won’t have to do as much after a long day.
If you want to do this for a few days, you can label the bags with the recipe and the date you’ll use them. That can also help if you have someone else do the cooking one night.
11. Prep your meals
Not only can you prepare your ingredients with Ziploc bags, but you can prepare entire meals. After you make a huge batch of food, you can eat a serving and store the rest for later.
A Ziploc bag works best for dryer ingredients, such as salads or pasta. But you can store soup in a sturdy bag. Get a freezer bag, and you can freeze the soup to use weeks later.
Meal prep is a great option for people who can’t or don’t want to cook each night. You can store the food, and it’s easy enough to heat it up or eat it straight from the bag.
12. Add frosting
If you like baking cookies or cakes, consider piping your own frosting. A Ziploc bag is a perfect place to make or store the frosting.
When you’re ready, you can cut off a corner of the bag. Then, you can pipe the frosting on your cake or cookies. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on piping bags.
Making piping bags is especially useful if you want to use different frosting colors. You can separate the frosting into different bags and add food coloring.
13. Keep your phone or tablet safe
When cooking or baking, consider if you like using recipes. Now, think about how you view those recipes. If you use a phone or tablet while you cook, put it in a Ziploc bag.
You can pull up the recipe and still view it through the clear bag, but you can keep the device safe. Small particles, like flour or salt, won’t get into any openings in your phone or tablet.
As long as you set your screen so that it stays on, you can use the device as normal. But you don’t have to wash your hands every time you need to touch it.
14. Fill with ice
Ziploc bags also make great homemade ice packs. You can fill a bag with water and freeze it or start with ice. Add a paper towel around the outside of the bag to keep from touching the cold directly.
If you do this, make sure you seal the bag completely. That way, it can freeze well, and water won’t escape.
You can then use it whenever you need to keep food cold or treat an injury. And you don’t have to have a ton of expensive ice packs on hand.
15. Make an activity kit
Whether you want a fun way to entertain your kids or you’re having a group over, consider creating an activity kit. You can use gallon or quart bags based on the activity.
Fill each bag with enough supplies for someone to do the craft or participate. Then, you don’t have to waste time distributing everything on the day of the activity.
Instead, everyone can start having fun immediately. If you make extra, you can do the activity again later.
16. Organize other bags
If you have a lot of Ziploc bags, you can use one gallon-sized bag to store the others. While the bags come in packing that works as storage, you can use this method for bags after you use them.
After you empty and clean a bag, fold it up for storage in a bigger Ziploc bag. Label the big bag with the size of the bags inside so that you can make finding what you need even easier.
What are Ziploc bags made of?
Ziploc bags are polyethylene plastic, which is one of the most common types of plastic. The material is lightweight and durable, so it’s perfect for many uses.
You can buy freezer bags that are a bit thicker and can withstand lower temperatures. But the regular bags are great for anything from meal prep to storage.
Another option to consider is the Evolve Ziploc bag. It uses less plastic than normal bags, so it can help reduce your impact on the environment.
Who invented Ziploc bags?
In the 1950s, Borge Madsen created the first Ziploc bag. Madsen was a Danish inventor, but he wasn’t much of a businessman.
He sold the idea to Edgar and Max Austin, who were brothers. The Austins created a zipper to use with the bag. They moved from Europe to the United States after communists took control of their assets.
When they got to the U.S., the brothers started Ziploc. Max’s son, Steven, was a mechanical engineer, and he took over the business later on.
How to recycle Ziploc bags
Many people may think they can’t recycle Ziploc bags, but you can. You just can’t do so with your personal recycling bin.
To recycle Ziploc bags, you’ll need to find a collection bin for film plastic. Check with your grocery store or other retailers in your area to see if they recycle plastic bags.
If so, you can use the bin for Ziploc bags and plastic shopping bags. Then, you don’t have to put them in the trash.
Do you have another way to use Ziplock bags that we didn’t mention?
Tell us about it in the comments below.
Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.