Uses for Milk Jugs

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.

Milk Jug On White Background
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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

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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!

Scoop for pet food.
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    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 milk jug lower portion on table.
      Three piece stack.Two piece stack.
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      This is a guide about using milk jugs in the garden. Plastic milk jugs have a variety of uses in the garden.

      A single plastic 1/2 gallon milk jug against a black background.

      CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      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

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      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.

      CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      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.

      CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      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

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      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 :-)

      ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
      Read More Answers...

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

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      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.

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      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.

      CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      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.

      Growing tomatoes in a milk jug.

      CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      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.

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      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

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      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

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      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


      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

      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

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      The milk is gone and the jugs are stacking up in the garage! What are some good, frugal uses for these jugs before they go to the recycling bin?


      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      THE PERFECT CARRYALL (for school, etc.):Wash thoroughly, w/ soap and water; towel-dry; begin cutting plastic (on opposite side of where the handle is located), right below where pour spout is, and cut a hole (fairly large) in the side... leaving about 2, remaining inches at the bottom of the jug. Decorate jug with glued-on pictures, stickers, stamps, fabric glue, tempera paints, etc. This will make the most adorable, thrifty AND USEFUL carry-all, for children's school supplies (boxed crayons, scissors, glue bottle, ruler, etc.), gardening tools, odds & ends, etc! I used to work with grade school children, and now I've even put my handy-dandy milk cartons to use at home!!! (01/08/2001)

      By apinder1

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      We fill empty milk jugs with water and tie them to our swimming pool cover, in the fall, to help keep the cover from falling into the pool. (01/08/2001)

      By maparker

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      If you have a sunny window, fill the jugs with water, replace caps, and sit them in the sun. They will absorb heat while the sun shines, then radiate it back into the room at night. If you can paint them black, or sit them on a black ground cloth, that will help even more. (Cover the window once the sun goes down, to decrease heat loss. - Kate (01/09/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      One of the neatest Christmas decorations in our town is a drive way lined on each side with milk jugs. They have put a colored light in each, then when the snow falls, or it gets dark, they are beautiful - They have also added some decoration to the top, (ribbon, holly, etc.) so they are even pretty in the day time. - Jayne (01/09/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      1. Cut off the bottom; use the top portion as a mini greenhouse for tomato plants in early spring. 2. Cut out pieces of the side to make name tags for kid's camp luggage and sleeping bags. 3. Cut pieces to make name markers for garden plants. 4. Wash and dry inside. Use to store sidewalk de-icer. It can be scattered easily as needed. 5. Wash and dry inside. Fill with bird seed to store a quantity and at the same time be able to fill the feeder easily. 6. Cut a circle in the side of the jug. Hang it in a tree and fill with bird seed. 7. Wash real well and fill with water as back-up water for washing in the event of a water line break. Freezing temperatures can cause frozen lines, too. 8. If yours is a large freezer, water can be frozen to fill space thus helping the freezer operate at peak. (For the smaller freezers use 20/24 oz. pop bottles.) 9. Cut off the opening and a portion of surrrounding plastic to make a quick funnel. 10. Wash; fill with water to take to a picnic so hands can be washed before eating and after clean up. 11. Cut in half. Use the lower half as a disposable cleaning pail. 12. Cut real low to the bottom and use as saucers for potted plants. 13. Cut in half. Fill the lower half with soil for starting plants from seed. 14. Cut in half. Use lower portion for storage of little items on a shelf. 15. Cut a small piece from the side. Using permanent marker write on it "PE"; pierce a small hole at end. Using yarn attach to a plastic butterfly clothes pin. Clip to your child's lunch tote or backpack as a reminder to take PE clothes to school. ~Charlotte (01/09/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      We cut off a portion of the top-front, leaving the handle and a section around it to use them for scoops for dog food, or for putting in a bag of salt for salting the sidewalk, etc. We also cut off the bottom part leaving just a small amount including the handle in tact to make a funnel. We have a water softening system, and we have to refill with minerals each year. We use the "funnel" to keep from spilling the expensive minerals and it fits perfectly on the fitting on top of the tank - L (01/09/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      OK, here goes for plastic milk jug uses (these appeared at: discussion group the other day, as we were on the same topic. 1. Wash 'em out and reuse to make frozen orange juice or lemonade or grape juice. No need for those Tupperware plastic beverage containers. 2. Cut off the top, but leave the handle on. Keep by the kitchen sink and collect all vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags for the compost heap. 3. Cut off the top, but leave the handle, and put cleanser, a scrub brush, a few rags, etc. in it. Put it under the bathroom sink or the kitchen sink. Instant cleaning caddy; easy to carry around. 4. Cut the top off (and the handle). Punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage. They make good tomato seedling pots, (or any seedling pots, for that matter), or put transplants in them when dividing perennials from the garden. 5. Cut off the top and invert it to use as a funnel in the kitchen when needed. 6. Cut off top and use as a funnel in the garage for pouring motor oil into the car. 7. Use to keep automobile oil when doing a home oil change until you can take it to the best place to be recycled (the oil, that is). 8. Cut off the top (leave a small opening) but keep the handle on, stuff with empty plastic grocery bags. Keep one handy in your car trunk for garage sale finds and also you'll have bags handy to reuse when shopping. 9. Cut out the bottom and put over tender transplants to keep warm in Spring -- use as "hot caps". 10. Cut out a fist-sized opening at top -- leave handle on, and use to store kid's Legos (or anything with small pieces). - Ness (01/09/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      Cut off the top, but keep the handle intact. This is a perfect receptacle for picking blueberries. -Kate (01/09/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      We always have 2 milk jugs in our refrigerator cleaned out and filled with water. We love to drink cold water and when one is finished you fill it up put it behind the other one that way you always have nice cold water to drink. - M (01/11/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      you can fill empty, clean milk jugs and fill them with water and freeze to put into an ice chest to keep food cold for camping. you can also use the water jugs with frozen water in them to take on a fishing trip for your food or to help keep the fish cold in an ice chest. you can also take rinsed out jugs to a recycler to get some money back. (01/11/2001)

      By jnp459

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      As a new Mom I've found that my bottle brush has almost become permanently attached to my arm! But I couldn't figure out a good way to store it under the sink without it getting into places I didn't want it to go. I tried storing it in a whipped topping bowl, but it kept flipping out, so I cut the top off a gallon milk jug and now I can store my bottle brush and "handle dishwasher thingy" in it without them falling over and making a mess in the cupboard. - Heather (01/12/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      I use the empty milk jugs for spreading salt on the ice and snow. We buy very large bags of the salt and fill the milk jugs with it. It is much easier to handle the jug, and we are able to carry one or two of the salt filled jugs in our cars. I also use them to mix up my liquid plant fertilizer in. I usually have one or two gallons of it mixed and at room temperature for when it is time to fertilize my house plants. Make sure the jugs are clearly marked with there contents to avoid any accidental misuse. - Ilona Morris (01/14/2001)

      Brainstorm: Uses for Milk Jugs?

      Take and clean out the jug, cut the bottom half off - keeping the lid and handle - turn upside down and use for a scooper for dog food, catfood, kitty litter or even for the sand box for kids. For the sand box, the kids might like a few because they can use one with a lid to pick up the sand and use one with out the lid for a funnel. They can be painted - or stickered what ever you prefer. Our kids love this. They even started to decorate the bottom half of the jug for holding pens, crayons, candy anything that can go in a canister - that doesn't need a lid, paint brushes, etc. The list is endless. - Deb & Rob Taylor, Dustin, Porsche and Kody too!! (01/14/2001)

      Milk Jugs to in Your Clothes Drawer

      I cut the tops off of milk jugs and place them in drawers to organize undies and socks.

      By Linda (05/18/2004)

      By ThriftyFun

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      We buy the buttermilk ranch packets from the bulk store and make a gallon at a time. We use old milk jugs for this.

      We also use them in summer to keep kool-aid or juice made for the kids.

      My mother used to store flower seeds from the previous years' flowers in them. She would patiently go down her fence and pick seed after seed and place them in her milk jugs and label them. They stay dry and easy to get to for the next year. (05/18/2004)

      By Princess Frogee

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      Plastic Bag Holder in the Bathroom

      Cut about a 5" hole on the opposite side of the handle - stuff jug with plastic grocery bags for trash can liners and keep under the bath vanity. This recycles 2 items at a time - the jug and the bags.

      Clothes Pin Holder on Your Clothesline

      Cut a 5-6" hole in same area again and cut about a 1" section of the bottom of the handle out and use as a clothes pin bag to hang on the clothesline. For drainage, poke some small holes in the bottom if it will be left out on the line all the time. (06/07/2004)

      By bj

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      Cut milk jug to height your space needs. Place under the commode at one end. Take a wire (clothes hanger etc.) and bend a piece to shape a Z like to slip one end under the lid of the water cabinet and the other end of the wire in the hole of the toilet brush. Brush stays high and dry with not mold and as it drips dry the drips fall into the empty milk jug and evaporates quickly. Also no musky smell from the brush.

      This can be done in any room with any item you get wet or messy and you do not have moldy smelly situation but clean dry items. (06/09/2004)

      By M.B.Wright

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      Fill the jugs with water or sand, or even plain old dirt from your yard and use them as "tie-downs" for things such as tarps and boat covers. Tie string throuch the handle and let the jug hang; tying the other end to the tarp/boat cover.

      They also work well as a make-shift seed-spreader. fill with grass seed(or whatever your spreading of course!) cutting a very small hole directly opposite the handle and sprinkle....... (06/14/2004)

      By queenbee 62467

      Milk Jugs for Picking Berries

      They are great to give everyone when you go out to pick blueberries. Just cut around the spout, leaving the handle and bottom intact.

      Peter (07/29/2004)

      By ThriftyFun

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      When your public or clubhouse swimming pool with allow it, take a cleaned, empty milk jug to the pool with you for your personal water aerobics workout. They can be used empty (with the lid screwed on) as a 'weight' to push below the water level which will tone your muscles. If the resistance of an empty jug is too much, fill with a bit of water right from the pool and try again. The more water in the jug, the easier it is to push it under the water. With smaller bottles, would your kids like to play like this in the tub? (Look out for splashes on the floor.) (09/19/2004)

      By Valerie

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      it takes about 200 gallon milk jugs but you can make a igloo out of them. in your search engine type in milk jug igloo and you will find instruction sites to make one. (09/19/2004)

      By owenmohrbucks

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      I saw a float in a parade once--an ear of corn made from gallon milk jugs painted yellow. It would take a lot and it's pretty big (each jug was a kernel), but it would be unique! (11/16/2004)

      By calnorth

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      Jugs make a great animal face. The circles color into eyes and the rest can be cut into flip up ears, nose, and mouth. (11/23/2004)

      By DT

      Re-use Those Gallon Milk Jugs

      Cut gallon milk jugs along the shoulder, leaving the handle intact, for a great carry-all, hold -all, etc. I use them for trash in the car, car-sick kids, toilet brush holders, counter-top trash collectors, you name it. Our local school busses now carry them, too. Just throw them away when a child is sick or they are full of trash, etc.

      If you cut off the handle, they are great for starting seeds or a little paint for a touch up.

      By Carolyn (02/18/2005)

      By ThriftyFun

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      I fill them with water...after rinsing thouroughly...a put them into my extra freezer. They come in very handy for keeping coolers cold as well as keeping the freezer and fridge cold during long power outages (02/28/2005)

      By Jdd

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      we made a paper mache piggy bank out of milk jugs. I love all the handy tips you guys have thought of... (03/05/2005)


      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      For times when the electricity is off and not powering the well, they're handy filled w/water for flushing, hygiene, drinking and cleaning.

      They're great for storing your frugal homemade cleaning products.

      Filled with sand or dirt, it makes a dandy door stop which can be moved easily by its handle. Paint it or dress it up like any other craft project. Even brace one against your refrigerator if the door doesn't always close properly or it needs a new seal.

      For the freezer door, a counter-top-located gallon jug filled with liquids keeps it closed by hooking a bungee-type cord onto the handles of each; sometimes it takes the strength of two jugs, one closer than the other, to keep the door closed. This is also great on days things just don't seem to all fit inside neatly but you're too lazy/busy/tired/sick to fix things.

      As long as none touched the sides, filled with sand and a goodly hole cut in the top, it would make a dandy spot to put out cigarettes or matches quickly.

      Cut the top off one, fill it with sand then your car's recycled motor oil. Dip your tools into it b4 storing; it keeps them from rusting.

      You can cut out quilting pattern pieces from it, then use them as templates when rotary cutting.

      By gator10tx

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      My favorite use for a used gallon milk jug...a funnel for pouring coffee into decorative canister. Short, wide-mouth coffee can + tall, narrow canister = HUGE MESS! Cut the bottom off of a milk jug, just below handle. The wide opening is big enough to catch all the grounds from the can and the small opening is big enough to let the grounds flow into the canister. No more coffee grounds all over the counter! YIPPIE! (08/21/2005)

      By adayfromnow

      The Bottom of the Jug

      We all know that if you cut a plastic detergent bottle or milk jug a certain way, you can make a nifty scoop. But if you cut the jug in 1/2 or less towards the bottom, you can make a bowl or tray, that can also be used for a variety of ways. It can be used to transport berries in case you don't have many of the little berry baskets. Use it to hold small items at your yard sales. After cleaning it, you could decorate the milk jug tray or bowl and use it for upcoming holiday gifts. You can use it to give out cookies and candies to your loved one, the mailman, your newspaper delivery person, your hair dresser, etc.

      By Terri (08/23/2005)

      By ThriftyFun

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      I use milk jugs in the garden to water tomatoes, etc...when you transplant your new tomatoe plants, just punch several holes in the bottom of the jug and cut out the top bigger, bury it part way in the dirt with the holes facing the tomatoe plant roots....then you can water the tomatoe plant all summer by putting water in the jug and it will water the roots....and not get the tomatoe plant wet...if you keep the tomatoe plant dry it will help prevent tomatoe blight.... (08/23/2005)

      By Sue Hadley

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      i cut them to make a bowl and freeze water which i then let defrost some and put in dogs water bowl,they LOVE cold water... (08/25/2005)

      By annette

      A sick bucket!

      With a 1 gallon jug, Cut out the corner opposite the handle, and it can be used for a "sick" jug. There is nothing worse when you have a stomach bug than to have to bring a pot or garbage can around, in case you don't make it to the bathroom. It can also be decorated with cheerful images, to help make you smile when ur sick! Its also easier to bring with you when you need to move around! (08/26/2005)

      By Loganmom

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      I went was at a craft fair where I seen milk jugs make into hanging skeletons. it was really cute!! I am trying to find the pattern, would anyone know where to find a pattern for one? (10/09/2005)

      By Theresa

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      We have links and instructions here:

      Scroll down in the feedback for the instructions.


      By ThriftyFun

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      Kids love noise, so when I had my grand daughter over but had nothing to play with I put a couple of stones in a milk jug and we kicked it around the yard screaming and listening to it rattle.

      When I was younger we played "kick the can" with rock filled jugs as well...though according to my grand father it was not the same "Kick the Can" as he played *shrug* -- we used something akin to soccer rules.

      I guess when you grow up poor and can't afford to get a proper soccer ball you just have to make due ;) (02/17/2006)

      By Qryztufre

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      Wash jugs and lids thoroughly & drain jugs upside down. When completely dry, you may store dry beans/peas, rice or etc.
      I save my washed milk jugs to use as a storage for my toilet brushes. Just cut off the top and leave the handle on. Add your brush. Cheap and easy to change if it gets too dirty.
      Also, I took a clean milk jug and cut a 3 to 4 inch circle on the side opposite the handle. I stuff the jug with plastic grocery bags to save under the counter for re-use. (06/14/2006)

      By AnnMel

      Uses for Milk Jugs?

      In a pinch they can be used as baby bottles.
      I found this out the hard way.
      I was sitting my great-granddaughter and found I had no baby bottle but did have the ring and nipple. Really desperate I tried this on a GALLON milk jug and lo it worked!
      Silliest sight one ever saw this tiny baby and this big jug... (04/04/2007)

      By Graycrab

      CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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