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Uses for Milk Jugs

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Milk Jug On White Background

Plastic milk containers can be reused for a variety of things around the home and garden. This is a guide about uses for milk jugs.

Solutions: Uses for Milk Jugs

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Tip: Milk Jug Electric Cord Reel

Leaf blower cord wrapped around a modified milk jug.I use the electric leaf blower frequently to blow off the porch and carport. I've just been looping the cord and laying it across the blower for storage and having to untangle it every time I use it.

I told my husband that we needed to purchase a reel to keep the cord on. A reel makes it easier to store the cord and keeps it from getting tangled up. The idea popped into my head to use a milk jug so I gave it a try and it works.

I cut out a section opposite the handle to make some sides to hold the cord. Holding the jug by the handle, I wrapped the cord around the jug. This works, however, I think a heavier jug will work even better. I may not have to spend money on a reel after all.

By Betty from NC

Tip: Milk Jugs for Dry Storage

Don't cut up your plastic milk jugs! I wash them out and then use them for storage. It's much easier to pour powdered milk from the plastic jug than the large cardboard boxes and I can see how much I have left. Prevents running out when I need it for a recipe. I also use the jugs to store dried beans that I buy in bulk (cheaper), elbow macaroni, sugar, flour, and corn meal.. The handle really makes the jobs easier.

By Lisa

Tip: Milk Jugs for Gardening and Around the Yard

It will be garden time soon. So, these are mostly garden ideas.

As you collect seeds, put them into jugs that you have cut with a hole in the side, or have cut the top off. You can carry the seeds to the garden in these when planting time comes. You could also sort your seeds by planting times, i.e., plant right after the last frost, plant in cold frame, start indoors, don't plant until late spring, keep for fall planting, etc.

When you plant your first crop out, you can use jugs to make frost covers.

Make a tote for your clothespins. (Buy any replacement clothes line and pins now, so you are ready the first warm day.) I made mine by cutting a hole in one side, and slicing through the handle. It slips over the line easily.

The tops make good funnels for larger stuff, or larger amounts. I keep one for filling the bird feeders.

Use jugs to store and carry household waste water to the garden. My garden loves soapy dish water, and so does my budget. It's also free exercise.

Set jugs full of water among the tender early plants. They will absorb solar heat by day, and release it by night.

Poke a small hole in a jug and use it as a drip waterer. Set one drip jug where the drops fall in an open basin of water to attract birds.

If you have a large dog, you probably need a big scoop, and you can make one from a milk jug. Cut on a slope, from the bottom of the handle to the opposite side at the base of the jug. Works to carry grain to larger animals as well.

Cut tops off (funnels, remember?) and use the bottom to make medium size planter pots. You will need to poke a couple of drainage holes so plants don't get water-logged.

By Rose B

Tip: Making a Scoop from a Quart Milk Jug

Scoop for pet food.

Simple stuff, but really helpful! I just cut out a portion of a plastic quart sized milk carton and leave a longer 'tongue' at the end. That way I can pinch it into a point to direct my cat food that I pour. It's great in a bag of litter or even for rock salt/cinders to sprinkle for winter!

By

Tip: Reuse Milk Jugs for Plastic Replacement Parts

My husband came up with a "bright" idea. We have electric garden lights in our backyard. The plastic shades shattered over time from the sun. The lights and posts are fine so he placed a plastic milk carton over the tops by measuring the length of the post and then cutting the milk carton the appropriate height. Then he placed the carton over the light fixture. Looks great and much better than the original.

By Mary C. from Newark, CA

Tip: Stackable Gallon Milk Jugs for Storage

Three milk jug lower portion on table.

We go through lots of gallon milk jugs all the time. I have started saving them and cutting off the part below the handle to make little stackable storage for the table. They nest in each other and you can write on them to tell what they are.

I am sure that children could color pictures on them with Sharpies and then give a set of them as gifts to grandma or grandpa. I am also going to make little Easter baskets this year for the kids.

Three piece stack.Two piece stack.

By

Tip: Make Plant Markers Out of Milk Jugs

These are cost free labels for any and all flower and/or vegetables you want to identify. They are cut from plastic milk bottles but any clear, or plain white plastic containers that were not holding dangerous liquids, (toxic, or hazardous to handle), are fine.

These are great for large pots, or to put on rows where seeds are started, and later can be attached to poles at the end of the same rows if poles are needed, as in pole beans, or if you have something that vines.

I find these very handy, because they are first of all, free, and with the permanent markers, they last a growing season. Smaller ones are perfect for small pots of "give to friends", or "trade with others" plants, and show that you were careful to identify, and even give growing instructions if needed.

Hope you enjoy this thrifty tip.

By LJF from Theodore, AL

Tip: Using Gallon Milk Jugs and Preventing Cutworms

My husband is an avid gardener, and has come up with a great use for those empty plastic gallon milk jugs. Cut the milk jug in half underneath the handle, and when you plant your new tomato plants, (or any other vegetable plants). Place the stem end through the spout opening in the milk jug and plant the opening in the ground.

The milk spout not only functions as a feeder by directing the flow of water to the roots of the plant, but it will also keep the cutworms off your plants, as they will not want to travel up the plastic.

Now you can use the bottom half of the milk jug by making some cuts in the bottom of the jug, filling the container with new potting soil, and start your seedlings out the right way, allowing proper drainage.

By Sandra from Floral City, FL

Tip: Planting Tomatoes in Milk Jugs

Growing tomatoes in a milk jug.I plant my tomatoes in the bottom of milk jugs, with another plant on top such as peppers, and eggplants. I also made two milk jugs into a self watering planter for my strawberries, and used drink bottles to make a self watering, mini green house for the rose cuttings I'm propagating. I fed my plants used coffee grounds, and they loved it, their stems and roots seemed to double in size! Here is a recent picture of my garden.

Tip: Uses for Milk Jugs

Cleaned out milk jugs are so handy around the house. Of course I take them to the store to fill for drinking water.

I mix up plant fertilizer in them to feed the plants. So easy to grab and pour.

I mix up hummingbird food and store in the frig. I mix up powdered milk for the kitty that comes to eat. I put pebbles in and use as a door stop.

We freeze water in ahead of time to use in the cooler instead of buying ice. It's so handy to have it stored in the frig. Be sure not to fill completely full. Leave room for expansion.

I cut a heavier jug up at the handle area and use as a scoop for my bird feeders in the winter time.

Put nuts and bolts in for a baby to kick around to make noise. They love that.

You can also cut the bottom out and remove the lid and put around young plants in the early spring to protect from the cold.

You can cut the top larger but keep the handle and use to carry smaller items in to the garage.

Another good use is to cut the top open more and use to collect seeds from flowers. Be sure to always mark the outside with a permanent marker so you know what's inside. And do not use it for anything else. You don't want to mix plant food with hummingbird food.

By Donna from Millbury, OH

Tip: Saving the Plastic Rings on Plastic Milk Cartons

I use the rings for sorting socks for the laundry. I keep a small tupperware dish on a shelf above the clothes hamper. And then before tossing the socks in the basket I place a ring around them. Then before washing I remove them and put them back into the dish. It saves on a lot of socks getting lost.

By Jacensgramma

Tip: Plant Labels, Mini Cloche, and Drip Trays From Plastic Milk Bottles

Use your old plastic milk bottles for cutting into plant labels. I use the straight sides. A permanent marker is best for writing on. Then the bottom can be used as a drip tray. Also if you just cut the bottom off, the top can be used as a mini cloche. You can make a handy scoop too.

By Carolyn from Mansfield, UK

Tip: Milk Jugs for Fishing Floats

This is a good way to recycle your empty gallon milk jugs. They do not ever disintegrate so we all have to be creative in using them again and again.

Empty milk jugs with the lid attached make great floaters to drop in the lake for fishing. Tie fishing line, with hook and bait, to the jug handle, toss in the lake and check later. This allowing fishing at all levels of the lake.

Source: Home and Garden

By Elaine from Iowa

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Questions

Here are questions related to Uses for Milk Jugs.

Question: Using Milk Jugs in the Garden

I have a bad back and needed an easier, lighter way to water and feed my plants. I recycle my 1gallon plastic milk jugs for my garden.

I cut the top of the jug just wide enough to fit my hand in and punch four holes in the bottom of the jug. To hold the jug in place, use a twig or stick picked up from the yard and push it through one of the holes into the soil near the plant. Works great as I can add fertilizer to the jug and fill it to 1 gallon (the exact amount in the directions) and NO carrying or lifting water pails!

I do all my veggie gardening in recycled 5+ gallon buckets, which means more watering per plant. I can fill the milk jug to the top and move to the next plant knowing I've given the plant one gallon of fresh water that will slowly leak to give the root time to "drink" as needed.

By txrosee from Montgomery, TX


Most Recent Answer

By Allison08/05/2010

I tried this for a slow watering concept, but the squirrels kept knocking them down!

Question: Flattening Milk Jug with a Clothes Iron

I recently read on this site about using an iron to flatten milk jugs. Could someone tell me more details on how to do that? What temperature iron, what covering on the plastic, etc.?

Polly from Turtle Creek, PA


Most Recent Answer

03/24/2009

Sorry, Polly. I Just assumed it was to flatten the jugs for trash or recycle bin, cause the question didn't mention crafts.

My suggestion would be to first cut top and bottom off of jugs and then cut the body in to two, three or four pieces. To be safe, just experiment with the temperature on small portions until you're sure what is too hot. Any 100 % cotton fabric would be fine to use (old t-shirts, thin towels, etc) but I personally would use fabric under and on top of the plastic.

Hope this helps and be sure to share the iron temp with us and maybe even share a photo of the patterns and shapes :-)

Archives

Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Make Plant Markers Out Of Milk Jugs

Plant labels can be expensive to buy and often don't last more than once season. So, this year I am making my own. I am cutting squares out of my clear plastic milk jugs, and writing the plant or seed name on the squares, along with the date planted. Then, using an ice pick, I am poking 3 holes (in a vertical line) about 1 and 1/2 inches apart in the square. Then, I am inserting my stick, weaving it through the holes to hold it. (with only 2 holes, the plastic square label part slides down, the 3rd hole seems to prevent this) The "sticks" are a piece of stiff galvanized fence wire that I cut to a 12 inch length, bought for about $2.00 at the hardware store in the scrap pile. It should probably make about 25 label holders. Good way to recycle empty milk jugs. I can reuse my "sticks" again next year.

By April from Plattsburg, MO


RE: Make Plant Markers Out Of Milk Jugs

what a great idea,I also use empty milk jugs to transfer seedling from 6 pks to half jugs in spring so that when I transfer to garden they have great start,then I cut off bottom and use ring to prevent cutworms and better watering.Jeanne3737 in Maine (01/18/2007)

By Jeanne3737

RE: Make Plant Markers Out Of Milk Jugs

Another easy way is to recycle old plastic venetian blinds. one blind will make hundreds of plant markers. Cut the slats into 4 or 5 inch pieces and write on them with a #2 pencil. cheap and easy, and fast. (01/19/2007)

By wsulecki

Archive: Cut Milk Jugs for Replacement Parts

The opaque lens cover on our motion light cracked and fell apart from time due to weather. To save time and money, instead of replacing the light or trying to find a replacement cover we just cut a new one from a empty milk jug. It looks great and works fine.

By Linda