The drinking straw isn't just there to help you make annoying noises when you get to the bottom of your soda. That little tube of plastic is extremely versatile and can make your life a lot easier with a little know-how. Curious? Read on to find out more.
We all have our own method for getting stopped-up ketchup to flow, whether it's tapping the bottle neck or shaking it furiously and then upending it. However, there's a foolproof way to get your stuck sauce on the move again without risking a mess: a common drinking straw.
Just insert a drinking straw into your bottle of ketchup until it reaches the bottom, then remove it. The straw's shape will break up the clogged sauce and insert air into the sauce so it can be on the move.
Real Simple recommends that you gently shake the bottle from side to side to loosen the ketchup and then pour out the condiment with the straw still inside. Both methods work—it's your call as to which you prefer.
I've also used a single chopstick to stir up the ketchup and coax it out if I don't have a straw handy.
Getting the air all the way out of a plastic bag is a great way to keep the food inside fresh since it won't oxidize as rapidly. You don't need to buy a vacuum sealer to make this happen: a zipper-top plastic bag, a straw, and a good pair of lungs are all you need to make this happen.
First, put your food in the plastic bag and then insert the straw. Seal the zipper around the straw, then suck out as much air as you can without feeling light-headed. Slip out the straw real quick-like and snap the zipper completely closed.
Do remember to be careful if you're vacuum sealing food that's juicy or has small particles so you don't inhale anything you don't want to.
Alternatively, if you don't have a straw, you can use a warm water bath to get most, but not all, of the air out of the plastic bag. Check out Tip # 3 in our guide to DIY sous vide machines.
You can hull strawberries (i.e., remove the white center and green leaves) easily by gently inserting a regular drinking straw into the fruit. Start at the pointy end and move the straw straight up. This technique leaves the strawberries looking nice and pretty, especially if you're using them in a recipe. The folks at Food & Wine show you how it's done below.
Want to take your favorite necklace with you on a trip but don't know how to transport it? Thread the chain through a drinking straw and it won't get tangled up in an unmanageable knot.
Have some pieces of cork floating in your wine? America's Test Kitchen says to use your drinking straw to get those pieces out. Just place the straw over a piece of cork, then cover the other end of the straw with your finger to create a vacuum. Repeat as needed (and get better at opening wine so you can avoid this problem in the future).
If you're feeling handy, you can turn a wine bottle, cork, and drinking straw into a device that waters your plants while you're away. It'll help keep water flow to a minimum so you don't drown your plant. You can get step-by-step instructions from One Classy Motha.
You can also go even more DIY and follow Yumi's tutorial on creating a self-irrigating planter with yogurt containers and a straw.
It's a pain to lug an entire container of lotion, conditioner, or sunscreen in your purse or backpack. Never fear: you can use a heat sealer (or a regular cigarette lighter) to convert drinking straws into containers that carry just enough product for a single use.
For instructions on use pliers and a cigarette lighter to make these little single-use packets, check out our guide over in MacGyverisms.
And what if you're using your straw to actually drink a liquid? Well, be sure you know this hack so your straw doesn't float out of your can of soda. Check out this tip over in the The King of Random's summer hacks roundup.
Yes, straws are just one of the many super cheap cat toys that you already have at home. They love those suckers. I know people who buy boxes of these things just for their cats, and apparently, you should never leave a drink with a straw in it unattended.