Reuse Piping Bags Even the Disposable Kind

Do you reuse piping bags? I know it is a weird question but, I want to know. I started decorating cookies with those cute little bottles but, changed to piping bags because I had more control over my icing and the bottles made my icing separate fairly quickly. I soon realized that the bag were not cheap when you used 8-15 colorful bags per cookie platter. I soon decided to reuse  piping bags to save money and our lovely plant earth.

Reuse-Piping bags thebearfootbaker.comTo make things a little easier than trying to wash out all the icing from the bag, I use the plastic wrap method I learned from Karen’s Cookies here. It makes things so much easier.

How to reuse piping bags:

I understand this maybe something super simple but, if it will save you money and help reduce waste, I wanted to share it.

Reuse-Piping bags thebearfootbaker.comWith Karen’s method of adding icing to your bag, it makes cleaning time super fast. Just remove the icing pod and throw it in the trash and washing your bags with hot soapy water and rinse well.Reuse-Piping bags thebearfootbaker.comI use a baby bottle cleaner to wash them out since most of the icing is in the tip of the bag. Before I got the bottle cleaner, I would shove a dish cloth in there and maneuver it around with the end of wooden spoon or a butter knife. I sometimes poked holes in them and well, lets face it, you can’t reuse piping bags if they have a big hole in them.

Reuse-Piping bags thebearfootbaker.comThen, open them up and place them upside down on a towel and let them dry overnight. If you don’t let them dry completely, they will be really disgusting and develop a bad smell. We want them to be clean and dry especially after we went through all the trouble of washing them.

Now let’s crunch the numbers. I reuse piping bags at least 10 times each before they get tiny little holes in them. I don’t use the Wilton bags because they changed their design a year or so ago and I found bag after bag with holes before I ever used them. I got frustrated and sought out a different option. I found these 12-inch Ateco Disposable Decorating Bags at Karen’s Cookies. There are 200 bags in each box.

These bags are about 20 cents each if you only use them once but, if you reuse them 10 times they only cost 2 cents per use. I will be honest, most of the time I use them more than 10 times. I am much happier paying 2 cents per bag and helping keep waster out of the landfill.

Gail at One Tough Cookie recommended I try these and I can’t wait to order them today. She said they are tick like the Ateco. Thanks for sharing with us Gail! You are amazing :)

Now you know that I reuse piping bags and I would love to know what you to reduce, reuse and recycle with your decorating? Leave a comment to let everyone know.

Happy Creating,




  1. Jill FCS says:

    You just validated my Midwestern frugality!

  2. I reuse and wash my bags as well. Mine are an off brand from a local cake decorating store so I don’t think I have managed to reuse them that many times. But, I reuse practically everything in general. If i can, I wash and reuse ziplock bags. I save containers food came in and wash them and store icing colors in them. :)

  3. Michelle says:

    I always wash and re-use! Product of my background! And I hate waste!

  4. Pauline says:

    I’ve cut squares from a thin silicone mat and I use these on my icing nail for piping royal icing flowers onto.

    • That is an awesome tip Pauline. I always use parchment paper but, I have a silicone mat I hardly ever use. Now I know what to do with it! Thanks!

  5. I re-use my piping bags. Way more than 10 times.
    We received two of these in our goodie bags at CookieCon……
    Did you get them Lisa? They’re really nice!

  6. I do this too! It is so easy and saves so much money! :)

  7. Yep, I reuse all my decorating bags, unless of course they burst at the seams! With all that savings, I can easily buy a new pair of shoes! (To go with the dress I bought with the money I saved from ordering water for lunch!) :) BTW, royal icing is much easier to clean out of the bags then buttercream!

  8. Honeycat Cookies says:

    I reuse my bags many, many times. I use ones with little holes in too for a while longer, as when the icing’s inside cling film (saran wrap?), it can’t leak out through the holes. I use my own version of the wrap method where I put a large square over a bowl, scrape (or pour) the icing into the middle, then carefully bunch up the wrap around it, creating a bulb with a long stalk of wrap which gets poked into the bag and out of the coupler, then cut so it’s slightly sticking out of the coupler. That way the icing barely touches the bag at all, keeping cleaning easier. The icing can’t leak backwards into the bag and it works well for flood icing too because of the bowl.

  9. NikkiK says:

    I’m glad you provided this tutorial Lisa! So far I’ve only done those sad piping practice cookies and I used the little bottles but I’m going to try bags this weekend. To get a head start, I just got done making a batch of your icing. Just now. Yes, it’s 1:47am. I’m a night owl!
    I saw the saran wrap trick on Callye’s page so that was on the brain but I wasn’t sure how to clean the bags afterward. Were you reading my mind? Thanks for all your great tips.
    I reused 2 containers from takeout soup to store the icing until I’m ready to decorate. They will make it easy to color it because they’re pretty wide. I’ll post them on Pinterest on that board.
    Wish me luck!

  10. I started by throwing out my bags, but as I have been experimenting and practicing more and more I’ve been horrified at my wastage (is that a word?). I started washing out my bags, just using hot and soapy water and a sponge. I start by running hot water through the bag to loosen any icing bits, and then turn the bag inside out – no need to stick a cloth or anything in it. I let it dry by propping it over an upturned tall coffee mug. So far I’ve gotten to four re-usages, and still going strong. I have been using the Wilton bags, since that’s all that’s available in my area (kind of between two big cities, and Michael’s is it for supply store for me), but I’ve got a nice cart going at Karen’s, and just added the Ateco bags to my cart :)
    Btw, I tried the Saran Wrap thing, and it just never worked. On my grocery list is the touch and seal stuff, so maybe that will help me out a bit more.
    Thanks for all the tips. My dream was always to have my own little cookie and coffee shop, for now, paying the bills with my steady job is winning, but my husband is supportive, and I’m thinking of making it my ‘retirement’ hobby – this is my way of market research. All my co-workers love my experiments, so its a win-win situation.
    Thank you!

  11. I’ve been washing my bags for years. Only royal icing, tho. There’s a reason I buy DISPOSABLE bags for buttercream! Plus, I wouldn’t want to risk mixing my buttercream bags with my royal bags just in case I miss a spot!
    Sometimes I have a dozen or more bags to dry, so here’s what I do. I have large square of styrofoam (that I’ve been using for years). I poke long bamboo skewers into the block of styro and stand each wet bag over a skewer to dry. This way, they won’t tip over or collapse onto themselves and I can move them out of my way.

  12. i used to reuse them… but then my aunt made fun of me one day for wasting my time. now i buy them in bulk and usually don’t make more than a couple colors of outline consistency anyway (and i use bottles for the flood), so i don’t go through them that fast.

  13. Sweetsugarbelle says:

    I. Hate. New. Bags. Bernie already knows death to the person that throws mine away. I like to brag that I’ve been working out of the same 200 bags since the beginning. At first it was to save money. Now I just prefer the softer worn bags. Even of they get holes, with Karen’s trick I never ever have to worry. THIS TIP IS THE BEST!

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