Stay Connected

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Washing foil

by Lili Mounce

It's no secret that thrifty folk often wash their aluminum foil for reuse. We all have our preferred ways to wash, dry and store our foil. Here's mine.

I lay my piece of foil out flat, on a large baking sheet (the kind without sides). After squirting with some liquid dish soap, I use a wet wash rag to both smooth out the wrinkles and clean the foil. I rinse under a stream of hot water.

To dry, I stand the pieces on end, on the bottom rack, in my empty dishwasher, between the tines, as I would if it were a tray. I allow it to drip dry for several hours.

When dry, I stand them on end and store them in one of those tall and narrow, base cabinets, designed for storing trays and baking sheets. It's the perfect size and width for sheets of foil. I used to store them flat, on top of stuff in the pantry, but they were constantly in the way, and would get all wrinkled with moving them about frequently.

For those of you totally satisfied with your method of washing, drying and storing your foil, here's some incentive to keep you washing the shiny stuff.

I can buy a 25 linear foot roll of Reynold's Wrap foil at the dollar store for $1. I typically use sheets about 18 inches long. One dollar store roll will provide 16 of these sheets. If I throw each sheet away after one use, in a year's time I will spend about $6 on foil, and I will go through 6 small boxes of the dollar store foil. In 10 years' time I will spend $60, and will have thrown 60 boxes of foil into the landfill. I don't even know how to calculate how much fossil fuel is used to manufacture this foil.

If I wash and reuse each sheet of foil 7-8 times before throwing out, in one year's time I will spend about 80 cents on foil, and not quite use the entire box. In 10 years' time, I will spend $8 on foil, and send only 8 boxes of foil to the landfill.

In addition, because I am willing to wash and reuse foil, I can obtain free used foil from time to time. This past week, we had a large hot dog picnic/barbeque at our church. The kitchen crew used copious amounts of foil to cover trays of hot dogs. I rescued much of this foil and brought it home to wash and reuse, about the equivalent of one and a half boxes of dollar store foil. I just acquired my year's supply or more of aluminum foil for free, while saving a large wad of scrunched up foil from eternal life at the city dump. So, keep on washing your aluminum foil, and know that you're saving some money and doing a good thing for our planet.

This copyrighted article was originally published on .If found published elsewhere, this material has been illegally scraped and should be reported to


  1. Can you not recycle foil (after you've reused it) over there? Ours can go in our kerbside collection, so wouldn't end up in landfill - it's reincarnated rather than consigned to eternal life at the dump!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      No, in our district, aluminum foil and aluminum trays/baking pans are not recyclable through curbside pick-up. Aluminum cans are. That's interesting that they are recyclables in the UK. There are so many inconsistencies with regards to what's recyclable here that a lot of folks just don't bother, sadly. And so much winds up in landfills.
      Thanks for adding info on what's available where you area -- interesting to the global discussion on the environment.

  2. Lili,
    Great post. BTW-I recycle (after reusing as long as possible) my foil, and I am in the US! : )

    1. How lucky are you, to have curbside recycling of aluminum foil! Tell me, do you also have curbside recyling of those plastic clamshells that produce, especially berries, come in? They have the recycle logo, but in our area, the waste collection won't take it! Frustrating!
      Thanks for commenting, and giving me some US info that I can take to our waste collection service!

  3. Lili - after your kind help on The Non-Consumer Advocate, I thought I'd pop over here and say hi! BUT I can't find a way to subscribe to your blog... is there one? I have recycled foil for my entire adult life, thanks to a thrifty mom. I appreciate your ideas on how to do it, my way has been sort of hit or miss! Looking forward to more great tips.
    Laura (aka ReaderWoman)

    1. Hi Laura,
      Welcome! I have yet to figure adding the subscription feature. But I'll get to that soon. (Someone else asked me about that, too. So now your prompting and her's, well, I'll have to make it a priority.)

      Your question on Non-consumer's about storing food stuffs without much storage space reminded me of a Tightwad Gazette article. Amy D. suggested using space under your bed for canned goods, and behind the sofa, if it's placed against the wall. She pointed out that a sofa usually has a slightly slanted back, where it touches the wall at the top of the back, but there's floor space available at the bottom. We used this space for storing things for a long time (For a while the 5 of us lived in a tiny, 2 bedroom apt.) Also, space under a side table, if the table has a floor length cloth on it. And I've seen a look in cottages that I really like, high shelves around the room, about 10-12 inches from the ceiling. I can just see it now, cans of pineapple on shelves all around your living room! LOL!

      But seriously, I am guessing if you live in a 500 sq.ft house, you've just about tapped all the storage areas. And need to find ways to buy so you get the bulk price but don't have to store it all. I have a couple of friends in the same situation as you. And I've been toying with the idea of starting a co-op out of my house for them. They could buy a share of what I pick up, at the price that I pay, plus a share of my gas costs. It would be a win-win. I would recoop some of my gas cost and they would get wholesale pricing. There may be some such co-op in your area, or perhaps with friends you could start one up. Just a suggestion.

      Anyways, welcome to my blog! And I'll figure out how to set up subscription options soon. (This whole computer/blog thing is new to me.)



Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post