The Plastic Bag Hack For Spill-Free Takeout Containers

Takeout is all about enjoying your favorite restaurant foods from the comfort of your home, but spilled food and sticky bags cancel out the convenience factor. To stop flimsy containers and sharp turns in the car from ending in disaster, TikTok account @natalieandconnieshow has shared a hack that can keep spilled sweet and sour sauce off your hands the next time you get Chinese takeout. You don't need anything more than the plastic bag your food is wrapped in.


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♬ original sound – NatalieandConnie

By placing one container in the bag, then twisting the empty half of the bag and putting another container inside, you create an equivalent of a double cup holder, complete with handles for easy holding. The added twist in the center keeps your food safely in place, with no possibility of tipping over and spilling inside the bag. The containers will remain snug as you carry your food home or nestle it in a secure place in your car (no shame in buckling your bag into the passenger seat!).

Despite the usefulness of this hack, it won't save you from spills in the event that the entire bag tips over. If the road home is a very bumpy one, you'll need to pair this bag trick with another anti-spill strategy.

Other tips to keep takeout food safe during transportation

To keep your takeout extra-secure, you might consider keeping a small box, cardboard drink tray, or insulated caddy in your car. Any of these options can hold cups, boxes, and bowls upright, as well as prevent them from sliding around while you're driving. Drink trays can especially come in handy if your takeout comes in a paper bag, rather than a plastic one. They can fit snugly in the bottom of the bag to hold cups of soup or drinks in place. If your tray is too big for the bag, just cut it to fit with scissors. This particular trick requires some planning ahead, but the risk-free transportation can be worth it.

On a similar note, if you're ordering something that's likely to spill, consider taking some aluminum foil or plastic wrap when you pick up your food. Wrap up the containers from top to bottom, and you won't need to worry about anything leaking out. This hack also works well for storing leftover soups or sauces to keep things tidy in a stuffed fridge. Your fridge shelves, car seats, and dining tables will thank you.

Transport your takeout at the ideal temperature

Nothing's worse than arriving home and discovering that your takeout fries have gone cold, and your milkshake is now a lukewarm soup. You can prevent such unappetizing results by transporting your food in the same insulated, reusable grocery bags used by food delivery services. For hot food, you might use a thermal tote to trap the heat, and for cold food, you can use a cooler or insulated lunch box. Regardless of your storage technique, keep your takeout away from the air vents in your car –- what's the point of using a cooler if you've placed it in front of a blasting heater?

Unappetizingly cold fries aside, another downside of takeout lingering at room temperature has to do with food safety. While sitting at temperatures between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (dubbed the "danger zone" by the USDA), foods are highly susceptible to bacterial growth. If exposed to these temps for two or more hours, your takeout container can become a styrofoam hotbed of food poisoning. Though this is unlikely to happen during the short drive between the restaurant and your house, if you don't plan to enjoy your food right away, you better keep it hot or cold for safety's sake.