Why You Should Always Clean with Plastic Wrap (Plus, 11 Other Surprising Kitchen Uses)

published May 26, 2023
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someone putting plastic wrap on guac
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

There are certain household staples that are great to have around the kitchen purely because they’re so versatile, stretching your dollar further and accomplishing more with less. Plastic wrap is up high on that list — and it’s good for so much more than just wrapping up leftovers. 

From maintaining a clean fridge to keeping annoying pests at bay, you’re going to wish you knew these 11 smart, surprising ways to use plastic wrap in your kitchen sooner.

1. Use it to line fridge shelves.

Anything helps when it comes to keeping your fridge clean. By lining your fridge shelves with plastic wrap (or press-and-seal plastic wrap), it takes next to no effort to simply scrap the lining when it gets dirty. This will ensure your refrigerator deep-cleans don’t have to happen quite so often. 

2. Keep the top of your refrigerator clean.

Plastic wrap isn’t just good for keeping the interior of your fridge clean — it also works wonders for the top of your biggest appliance. Once you’ve dusted and wiped the top of your refrigerator, cover it with a layer of plastic wrap so that next time you’re up there, you just have to toss the top layer and it’ll remain clean underneath. Plus, no one is ever up there so they won’t be able to see it!

3. Make a *perfect* pie crust.

No matter what type of pie you’re baking, crust is one of the trickiest, most important aspects. When you roll out your pie dough, do so on top of a piece of plastic wrap (the one it was wrapped in the fridge or freezer in, or a new sheet). Once you’ve ensured you have two inches of overhang, use the plastic wrap to transfer it to your pie tin, then simply peel it off, and voilà!

4. Keep pests away with a DIY fruit fly trap.

During the warmer months, bugs inside can be a real drag. Luckily, plastic wrap makes for a great DIY fruit fly trap. Take a jar, fill it with a cup of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of liquid dish soap, and cover it with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic with a fork and in a few days you’re sure to have gathered some unlucky fruit flies. 

5. Make icing cleanup easier.

If you’re an avid baker, you’re going to want to see this clever icing hack. Lay out some plastic wrap, then scoop your icing out into the middle (you can use the wrap to scrape every last drop out of the bowl). Then twist the plastic wrap around the icing like a Tootsie Roll, stick it in your piping bag, and cut one end off. When you’re done icing, take the plastic out and toss it — no mess whatsoever. 

6. Keep decorated desserts safe in the fridge (or in transit).

Whether you just spent hours decorating a cake or making a delicate design atop your focaccia, placing your masterpiece in the fridge or in a moving vehicle is always a risk. With this tip, place toothpicks around the circumference of the cake and a few in the middle, then drape plastic wrap over the cake and wrap it underneath. Wrapping plastic tightly around an undecorated cake is also a great way to prevent fridge odors from seeping into it.

7. Create two-toned frosting in a snap. 

Yes, yet another icing-related hack! To make a simple, two-toned icing bag, spread your icing out on a sheet of plastic wrap, then add your second color of icing on top. Wrap it up in the plastic like you did in tip number five above, then place it in your piping bag, and act like the pro baker you are.

8. Prevent liquids from leaking.

Lost the cap to a product, or worried your toiletries will spill inside your luggage? Simply put a piece of plastic wrap over the opening and secure it with a rubber band or the cap itself. So long, surprise vacation disasters!

9. Save corked wine.

If you’ve got a “corked” bottle of wine — meaning it’s contaminated with cork taint — it can be a pretty unpleasant tasting experience. To

fix it

10. Make packing and moving small items easier.

When you’re moving, plastic wrap can be super useful — especially with smaller, less fragile items. As a more eco-friendly (and cheaper) alternative to bubble wrap, it’s waterproof and residue-free, perfect for wrapping items that just need a thin layer of protection.  

11. Bake a super-moist cake.

Bakers certainly have plenty of uses for plastic wrap, don’t they? With this pro tip, you’ll bake the most tender, moist cake you’ve ever made. Instead of waiting for your cake to cool before wrapping it in plastic, industry experts suggest wrapping it in plastic wrap (either in the pan or not) while it’s still warm — about 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven — to keep moisture in that typically evaporates during the cooling process. 

12. Keep oddly shaped foods fresh in the fridge.

Obviously, plastic wrap is often used for covering food in the fridge, but it also works well when wrapping weirdly shaped foods and produce, too. While it wasn’t the winning strategy in our showdown to see which method would keep cucumbers fresh longest, the plastic-wrapped cucumbers in both the crisper and the refrigerator door lasted 12 and 8 days, respectively, before browning. Tightly wrapped plastic wrap is also a great way to store spring rolls and cut watermelon in the fridge.