When was the last time you struggled to unroll a sheet of plastic wrap?
If the answer is all the time, keep reading. Many people store plastic wrap in kitchen drawers (right next to the aluminum foil, plastic baggies and parchment paper, of course) but it turns out, there's a better way to live your best kitchen life.
Plastic wrap is designed to be super clingy and cling to containers and food, so it makes sense that it would cling to itself. The key to avoiding this situation is simple: store your plastic wrap in the freezer.
It really works! But why?
Most plastic wrap is made of polyethylene. Found in everything from grocery bags and even bulletproof vests, this compound is the most commonly used plastic in the world. In plastic wrap, the polymer's molecules are really tight and naturally sticky. But manufacturers also add adhesives that make it cling to other materials.
Of course, plastic wrap is also known to create static electricity which leads to the argument for storing it in the freezer. According to The Kitchn, cold air cuts back on static. However, plastic wrap also loses its stickiness in colder temps for molecular reasons.
"The adhesion between pieces of plastic may be driven by the molecules in the surface re-arranging themselves to form weak chemical bonds," Dr. Chad Orzel, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Union College told TODAY Food. "And the lower temperature may inhibit that process a bit." Orzel, who authored "How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog," admitted that he's not an expert in plastic wrap but, in his experience, believes it could behave like tape. "I know from attempting winter repairs with duct tape that conventional adhesives don't necessarily work well in cold temperatures."
Though SC Johnson, the makers of Saran Wrap, declined to comment on the practice of storing plastic wrap in colder temps when contacted by TODAY Food, the trick isn't exactly a state secret.
My friend, Mallory Frank, a 30-year-old mom who lives in Idaho has been storing her plastic wrap in the freezer for the past six years.
The hack was handed down to her from her mom, who did it for many years while she was growing up. If you can’t dedicate full time freezer space to the clingy plastic, just put your plastic wrap in the freezer about 15 minutes before you need to use it. It will have a similar, but temporary, de-clinging effect.
Ready to unroll? Follow this 1 trick.
Now that your plastic wrap is nice and chilly, when it's time to get a piece to use, take advantage of the box’s side tabs (they’re also on dispensers of wax paper and aluminum foil) to hold the roll in place while you pull. Otherwise, it may way too easy for the entire roll to come flying out of the box.
Finally, after you’re done getting a piece of plastic, make sure to leave a little bit of the edge of the plastic wrap outside. Stick it to the box's adhesive lip, which will prevent you from having to track down the end piece next time you go to use it.