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Plastic Bags Work for a Lot More Than Leftovers

August 10, 1996|From Associated Press

Plastic grocery, sandwich and trash bags can be used in a variety of ways to make work easier around the house and workshop.

Painting a room? Here's a good way to keep wall lamps, faucets, handles and other items paint-free. Cut a plastic grocery bag to size and wrap it tightly around the item. Use masking tape to hold the bag in place. Plastic sandwich bags can be used as makeshift gloves to protect phones and doorknobs from paint-splattered hands.

To remove a paint-filled roller cover without getting paint on your hands, pull a plastic bag over the end of the roller. Pull the cover off, then seal the bag and discard it.

You can keep leftover paint fresh by pouring it into a heavyweight, sealable plastic bag. Squeeze the air out before you seal the bag. Then put the bag in the original paint can and tap the lid closed.

When you need to clamp irregular shapes, hold them together with a sand-filled plastic bag. For small fragile items, cut a bag to size, fill it with sand and close it with masking tape. Use larger bags for big items.

Wood filler and putty dry out quickly when exposed to air. To slow the drying, use a putty knife to transfer some of the material to a small sandwich bag. Seal the bag, then cut a small hole in one corner. Then just squeeze the bag as if you were decorating a cake. When the job is done, twist the corner closed and secure it with a twist tie. Store the closed bag in the original container.

When you have to grease bearings or other small parts, put some grease in a sandwich bag, add the parts, seal the bag and work them around in the grease. Then avoid getting grease on your hands by using other sandwich bags as gloves when you remove the bearings.

To pick up spilled washers, nuts or nails, drop a bar magnet into a plastic sandwich bag. The spilled items stick to the magnet through the plastic. Then turn the bag inside out and pour the items back into their container.

To clean up small metallic filings, sweep a bagged magnet over the work area, then fold the bag over the filings and discard it.

To avoid the mess of emptying a shop vacuum, line the vacuum canister with a large plastic trash bag. Fold the bag over the canister rim so the top of the vacuum holds the bag in place. To empty the vacuum, just take the bag out.

Keep a box of large plastic garbage bags with built-in handles in your shop to use as aprons. Trim off an inch or so along the bottom of a bag. Then pull the bag over your head, slipping your arms through the handles.

Don't drag your dried-out Christmas tree through the house, leaving needles behind. Instead, take it apart one branch at a time. Use pruning clippers to cut branches into manageable-sized pieces. Drop them into a plastic bag, and then dispose of the bare trunk and the plastic bag.

You can retrieve an item that your toddler dropped into the toilet without too much fuss. Just slip your hand into a plastic grocery bag for protection. Grasp the item and pull it out of the toilet, then turn the bag inside out. The wet item will be in the bag, and your hand will remain dry and clean.

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