Helpful Uses for Plastic Bags

Written by The Ready Store

Plastic bags can become a great multi-use item because they are so cheap and plentiful! Instead of just throwing them away, use them again and again for gardening, to make rope, make clothing and more!

Check out these ideas on how you can use plastic bags to help you in any situation that might be foolish enough to challenge you!

Line Cracked Vases
Thinking of throwing out that prized vase because it has a crack from top to bottom? Don’t do it! Simply line the vase with the plastic bag before you fill it with water. Then you’re free to add flowers in the top and not worry about cleaning up a mess.

- Different Uses for an Emergency Blanket - 

Treat Chapped Hands
Rub a thick layer of petroleum jelly on your hands and wrap them in a plastic bag. Your body will heat up the petroleum jelly just enough to soak in and relieve any cracks and dry spots. You’ll have supple hands in about 15 minutes.

Crochet

Keep Steel Wool from Rusting
Next time you have to use steel wool in water, throw it in a plastic bag after you’re done. This should keep it from rusting too much.

- 8 Unconventional Uses for Milk - 

Catch Fruits from a Tree
Have a fruit tree in your yard but don’t want the fruit landing everywhere on your lawn? If you can tell that a fruit is getting ripe, tie a bag around the branch that will catch the fruit so it doesn’t fall on the ground. This will also protect fruit from bugs and frost.

Make Rope

Clean off Car Mirrors
If it snows, you’re going to have to clean off your windows. However, sometimes it’s hard to get your scraper on the small mirrors of your car. If you know it’s going to snow, tie a bag around the mirror and remove them in the morning. No ice to scrape off!

- 8 Interesting Uses for Mason Jars - 

Pack your Sandy Sandals
A day at the beach can be tainted when you have to clean out all the sand you tracked into your car. Instead, place the sandals or shoes inside of a plastic bag and tie them up. Plan for an extra pair of

Fuse Plastic Together
If you fuse plastic bags together they become more sturdy and durable. You can then use the plastic sheets as you would a cloth and make bags, clothes, etc.

What have you done?
Comment below to tell us what you’ve used plastic bags for. We’d love to hear what you’ve done!

You might also be interested in reading:
- Make Your Own Natural Deodorant - 
- How to Make Your Own Vinegar - 
- How to Cook on Your Car Engine - 

Updated March 6, 2013

29 Comments

  1. Jan Smith wrote:

    Important facts to live by.

    March 7th, 2013 at 4:14 am
  2. Mary Shew wrote:

    I use the plastic bags to line my small bathroom trash containers; also use them for disposal when I clean the kitty litter box. We also use them by hanging a few on a belt when we harvest our garden produce. One is filled with tomatoes, one with cucumbers, one with peppers, one for squash, etc. They are very handy. We also use them when we are peeling veggies to take the peelings back to the garden to “recycle” them. I keep one in my car and purse to use as a “headscarf” if I get caught without an umbrella.

    March 7th, 2013 at 6:30 am
  3. Dave W wrote:

    I keep some in my get home bag along with some elastic hair bands so I can waterproof my shoes if I’m caught out with the wrong shoes for the weather.

    March 7th, 2013 at 6:38 am
  4. Jeff wrote:

    I tried the TREAT CHAPPED HANDS trick. While using the plastic bags to cover my hands may help the petroleum jelly soak in and make my hands supple,
    the plastic bags on my hands certainly make it more difficult to type this RESPONSE.

    March 7th, 2013 at 6:52 am
  5. Rebecca wrote:

    I have a comment about lining vases… first of all, I am guessing you are talking about bags from the grocery store or Target or WalMart… they always have holes in the bottom!!! that wouldn’t help with preventing water leakage, and maybe the crack would leak less water, haha!! I use them to line my trashcans and send my parents home with leftovers in re-usable containers, but to have them carry them home in these plastic bags.

    Also, I wouldn’t recommend the use of petroleum jelly — very bad for you toxic wise!! This is a by-product of oil production. It may make your skin feel better after awhile but at the risk of toxins leaking into your body (you absorb what goes on your skin). My recommendation would be to use olive oil, coconut oil, or palm oil, much healthier oils, and then wrap the bag around them. :)

    I am thinking about trying the crocheting out!! :)

    March 7th, 2013 at 7:50 am
  6. Dan wrote:

    I realize the topic is mostly about grocery bags but there are uses for other plastic bags most everyone comes across. There are the bags your bread, bagels and veggies come in. All of these can be reused much the same way but they are usually a little big thicker and stronger. If you make your own bread/biscuits of course they can be used to store your creations. (Save the twist ties and such also) If we need to thaw meat out in cold water we use these bags instead of ziplock bags to do so.

    March 7th, 2013 at 8:04 am
  7. Laurie wrote:

    I agree with Rebecca about using petroleum jelly on your skin, it’s not the best idea. Actually the best is jojoba oil because it has such tiny molecules that they can get into the skin more effectively. If you add some vitamin E oil to the jojoba, it will add healing properties. It’s good for hydrating the fingernails too.

    March 7th, 2013 at 9:25 am
  8. GreatDepression wrote:

    I save my bags and when I have enough of them I make throw rugs with them. They are great for muddy shoes. Just google search plastic bag rugs to find out how to make them. And when they get to worn down I put them outside under my flower pots. Helps with the drainage.

    March 7th, 2013 at 9:30 am
  9. Bill wrote:

    I’ll double two plastic bags and drop an old speaker magnet down in them. Holding the bags by their loop handles, I drag it across the area where I’ve been welding to pick up the cold slag and welding rod stubs. It works just as well if you dropped a container of screws or magnetic junk. The longer/larger the bags, the less you have to stoop while pulling. It’s fast and easy!

    After the magnet has loaded all it can hold, I have two options: 1. Gently pull away the junk from the outside of the bags and put them, and other loads you keep gathering, into another plastic bag for the trash. 2. If you are finished dragging the bags and the area is picked clean of all the floor items, reach down into the bag and grab the magnet. Then, fold the plastic bags down and inside out. As the junk is now inside, hold by the bags’ handles and gently pull away the magnet. The magnetic junk is now contained in the plastic bags to be tied in a knot and toss in the trash…

    Sure beats crawling around on the floor…

    March 7th, 2013 at 9:43 am
  10. Live to Survive wrote:

    Aside from lining trash cans at home, we also use them as organizers sort of. Put stacks of papers or magazines in separate bags, and stuff in big duffels or whatnot instead of just chucking everything in.

    I also use them in cars as disposable trash bags. Open up the glove box, put in one strap, close it, and you have a hanging trash bag. Not the most elegant, but I have a long commute and generate a lot of cans, bottles, wrappers, etc., as trash.

    March 7th, 2013 at 9:44 am
  11. Sherri wrote:

    My grandmother used bread wrappers to crochet jar covers, toilet tissue covers and purses or beach bags. They were colorful and worked great! I still have a few. Great memories!

    March 7th, 2013 at 10:13 am
  12. John Z wrote:

    Pickup the back yard after the dogs.

    March 7th, 2013 at 11:06 am
  13. Robin wrote:

    I throw one in my gym bag and place my wet bathing suit into it. This keeps everything else in the gym bag dry.

    March 7th, 2013 at 11:17 am
  14. treas54 wrote:

    My 90 year old neighbor cuts them in strips, rolls them up in balls and crochets rugs with them.
    Contrary to popular belief, Vaseline is the best.
    I just had some skin thingies removed and my dermatologist said to keep Vaseline on them to keep the scabs moist so they aren’t as thick and dry. He said Neosporin (triple antibiotic) is the worst, he has more people come in for a reaction to that. Olive oil, coconut oil and the rest can cause allergic reactions especially people who have nut allergies.
    Vaseline also great for cracked dry feet like the hands with the plastic bags.

    March 7th, 2013 at 2:48 pm
  15. jen wrote:

    keep in diaper bag to put smelly diapers in cheaper than buying those smaller powder bags

    March 7th, 2013 at 3:20 pm
  16. Lauralee Hensley wrote:

    Like all the ideas. Thank you.

    March 7th, 2013 at 10:37 pm
  17. ColoradoTracy wrote:

    I use them to fill voids in packages that I need to mail.

    March 8th, 2013 at 12:30 am
  18. KBral wrote:

    I really liked that you included some of the videos so I didn’t have to hunt them down, thanks. Lots of great ideas in the responses!

    March 8th, 2013 at 12:47 am
  19. Dawn wrote:

    Or there is the classic putting them over your socks before you put on your winter boots to keep any moisture off your feet.

    March 8th, 2013 at 3:44 am
  20. mary wrote:

    If the kids leave toys all over the house, have them play toy store. They will have fun filling up their bags and the house will get cleaner. Then bring the bags to your play room and put the stuff away.

    March 8th, 2013 at 7:02 pm
  21. Vicci T. wrote:

    Looks like all my ideas have been covered on plastic bags. They can be used for so many things and so are included in our Bug Out Bags. I take for recycle all unusable bags.
    As for Vaseline, I’ve used it all my life on the body, doctor recommended. It is often the base for many topical medications. There could be a column on Vaseline and its many uses. It’s significant in my prep.

    March 14th, 2013 at 11:19 am
  22. KT wrote:

    We use the bags for throw up bags in the car.

    July 20th, 2013 at 1:13 pm
  23. Alee wrote:

    To re-use bread bags: Add flour and toss in chicken, fish, etc. before frying. Makes for a quick clean-up.

    November 4th, 2013 at 1:00 pm
  24. Pete Bensen wrote:

    Plastic bags are GREAT to line hiking boots to keep your feet dry. Just put them on over your socks to keep feet dryer and warmer. Large garbage pail liners make great impromptu rain ponchos, and keep the warmth in too. I NEVER go out in the woods without plastic bags.

    October 25th, 2014 at 6:07 am
  25. PK wrote:

    FOR CRISIS SANITATION:
    Keep a large supply in your crisis storage. They will be good to double or triple them in your 5 gallon toilet bucket. After use, bury them.

    October 25th, 2014 at 6:58 am
  26. Michelle wrote:

    Try non petroleum vaseline, just as thick , smells better. Pick up at your local health food store or online.

    October 25th, 2014 at 6:59 am
  27. Thad wrote:

    Anyone know how to make braided rugs by using old shopping bags?

    October 25th, 2014 at 7:02 am
  28. Denny wrote:

    What a great article. Great responses!! Learned alot!! I guess the big question I have is decomposition. Most of the suggested uses for the plastic bag seem to lead to eventual disposal as waste. Isn’t that a bad thing?? My wife and I are dog owners, dog lovers. We used to use plastic bags as well. But knowing they will sit in a land fill for many many years with decomposing really bothered us. As a result we found biodegradable dog bags. And they are at local stores not that hard to find. And they are not expensive. As for the plastic bags we return them to the grocery store or stores like target. They reuse them. Thanks for all the great articles and information your team brings to the table!!! Really helpful!

    October 25th, 2014 at 7:27 am
  29. Name Pinky wrote:

    Morning from L.A. we can no longerget plastic bags here unless we buy them. We now have to bring our own tote bags as will the rest of the state starting very soon. Miss those bags!!!

    October 25th, 2014 at 8:55 am

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