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How To:  Vacuum-Seal Cheap Ziploc Bags

Really great tip from Make: reader cashsale, who didn’t want to shell out the money for a purpose-built vacuum sealer and dedicated vacuum bags for his home sous-vide cooking:

  1. Put whatever you want to seal in a smaller Ziploc bag that’s open just a bit.
  2. Then, put that bag in a larger Ziploc bag.
  3. Insert the business end of a cheap hand-operated vacuum pump (maybe a sink aspirator would work, too?) into the larger bag, and close the seal tightly around the hose.
  4. Pump out the air, which evacuates both outer and inner bags.
  5. While it’s pumped out, seal the inner bag the rest of the way with hand pressure through both bags.
  6. Finally, open the outer bag and take out the inner one.
  7. It may not hold as long as a pricey purpose-made bag, but cashsale reports that it works just fine over sous-vide timescales. Nice work!


I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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