INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: Those magical 2-liter bottles, again!

image by Muffet

I recommend the 2-liter bottle as a food storage must-have so often that people have asked, “How much soda do you drink,anyway??”

With super hot summer temperatures present across the country, combined with power outages, those wonderful 2-liter bottles come in handy yet again!

Get ready for the next heat wave by filling clean bottles with water and freezing. Here’s how they can help:

  • Multiple bottles of frozen water in your freezer will help keep food frozen longer.
  • When the power goes out, put a few of these bottles in the fridge to lower the temperature and prolong the life of food.
  • An easy way to avoid opening the refrigerator door, and thus raising the temperature with each ‘open’, put 2 or 3 bottles of frozen water in an ice chest, add bottles of water, soda, fruit, etc. The smaller interior space will stay chilled longer than the larger refrigerator.
  • If someone in the family is overheating, wrap several frozen bottles in towels and place them around their body to cool their core temperature.
  • Float several of these bottles in a bathtub or smaller swimming pool to keep the water cool.
  • As the water melts, the icy water is the perfect temperature for drinking or pouring over a small towel to place around the back of your neck.
  • If you have livestock or pets, place frozen bottles in chicken coops, rabbit hutches, dog houses, etc.
  • Place a couple of bottles directly in front of a fan (battery or generator powered). The air flow cools as it passes the ice.

If you’re short of space in your freezer, try placing a layer or two of these bottles in the very bottom where it’s harder to find frozen food anyway. You’ll have several bottles ready when you need them.

I’m not a soda drinker at all, but my husband loves his Coke Zero, so we have plenty of these empty bottles. If you don’t drink soda, buy a few bottles of club soda or sparkling water instead. Store brands sell for as little as 79 cents or so.

Stay cool out there!

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

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  1. says

    We don’t drink much soda here, but I’ve found I can gather quite a few of these soda bottles after parties–keep your eyes open at birthday parties, church gatherings, school or sports parties, and other similar activities. Just offer to take all the empty soda bottles at the end and you can go home with a bunch of bottles without having to buy or drink any of it!

    • RightWingMom says

      My DH has an addiction to diet sodas. I’ve actually been the source for 2 liters for fellow preppers who don’t buy them.
      😉 LOL

    • Teena says

      Two liter bottles can also be used for warmth. Just fill them with the hottest water from the tap. If you have a gas water heater and electricity goes out, just surround yourself with hot water in 2 liter bottles under the covers. Not to mention using them as a heating pad for sore muscles and pain. just be sure to have the lids on tight!

  2. says

    I agree with Angela, plus, I go to the nearest recycling collection center and dump-dive in their plastics bin. Tons of soda bottles and detergent bottles there! I use the detergent bottles to fill with water for the “other” uses; toilet and bathing…yes, it already has soap in it…hehe 😎

  3. Bonnie says

    Good idea with the 2 liter bottles. I don’t have freezer space for them right now, but I do freeze water in the vitamin bottles with screw on lids to tuck into smaller coolers when sending something home with my grown kids. They don’t leak and a person can re-freeze or toss. Also, those ‘kids’ milk bottles from McDonalds or other places work great for little frozen chillers in lunch boxes, etc. Don’t fill them clear full of water before freezing or the tops might pop off. “Use up and re-use!”

  4. Janet says

    These are super uses. Glad to know. We save gatorade bottles for the wide mouth. They are great for storing beans or rice too. But, where the heck to store all the empty bottles??????They are taking over the house!

    • mary says

      I ran out of room for the 2 liter bottles so now I put them all in a large drawstring trash bag and hang them in the garage on a nail.

    • Charley says

      no bottle should be empty. no point taking up space to store air. fill with water if you don’t need them for something else.

      • Jackie K says

        I sometimes have empty bottles. Not many, but enough to get in the way until I can fill them while doing my rounds of stocking. Not everyday, can I spend filling bottles w/ a hectic family. It bothers me they are empty but, in a perfect world I would have more time in a day.

    • Nancy Hunt-McDonald says

      I have found after making home made jam for several years that storage space is availble under beds and if your couch is high enough you can store below or behind it

    • Jackie K says

      I store empty bottles in my empty coolers. I got tired of the darn things falling down as I was organizing my supplies one day. I thought, hmmm I can put these bottles in the cooler and store them empty until I need them. Whamo, out of my way and easy to get to.

  5. Cheryl Hart says

    I’ve also found that I can pierce an eensy hole in the lid, fill the 2 liter bottle w water, and upend the bottle/s alongside my tomato plants! Real slow drip, give them extra water during the drier times of the summer!

  6. Will says

    I got 30+ in 1-2 months just by asking for them on Freecycle. People want to feel good by helping and keeping trash out of the landfill.

  7. Mariceli says

    I’m going to start doing this. PS, why is everyone so high and mighty about the fact that their family doesn’t drink coke? I drink tons of it, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.

    • kel says

      I don’t they are being high and mighty… I just think they are being health conscious. Sodas are incredibly bad for you – high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and loads of chemicals. The diet sodas are even worse: fake sugars are loaded with horrible chemicals and are linked to all sorts of cancers. Plus, people think they are doing themselves a favor by avoiding sugar in normal sodas, but don’t realize that fake sugars are damaging to your body’s natural ability to track and manage your glucose levels (in essence, making you gain weight, not lose it.) We are trying to limit them here, but we love our sodas. Ugh. So I’ve limited the family (as step one) to sodas on weekends only. The kids look forward to “fun fridays” when they get their first soda of the week. haha.

  8. Stephanie Dayle says

    I love 2 liter bottles – so many uses.

    Water and Food Storage
    You can cut the bottoms off and flip them upside down and make them into hanging tomato hangers.
    You can turn them into waterers for you single plants in your garden – again upside down.
    And little heat caps for young plants

    We save all of our empty bottles.

  9. Charley says

    I don’t drink soda but raids on various recycle bins has yielded quite a haul. I do drink a lot of tea. some brewed but mainly instant for the convenience. Those large wide mouth glass jars that instant tea comes in are great for storing all sorts of things.

    • Tina says

      I would really think twice before using bottles from unknown sources, such as putting out an ad and getting them from strangers or getting them from the recycling bins. I have had to use one as an emergency urinal for a toddler so you truly do not know WHAT may have been in them. No amount of bleach could make them clean enough for me.

  10. Wanda says

    I certainly understand about the 2-liter bottles – but am very concerned about the plastic dump in the oceans and the fact that we are finding more and more that plastics are affecting the human body.
    Autism’s Rising Rates Increasingly Blamed On Toxic Chemicals
    UK – Household chemicals’ ‘cocktail effect’ raises cancer concerns for watchdog
    How International Regulations Are Changing American Supply Chains
    REACH chemical safety review: Re-opening a can of worms?

    Some of this is about plastics & a lot is about chemicals.

    The check out this book by Beth Terry
    “Plastic Free. How I kicked the plastic habit and how you can too” .

  11. anna says

    In Michigan, there’s a 10-cent refund for pop bottles, so we don’t keep them. But any juice bottles do NOT have the refund. THOSE are the ones you Michiganders should be re-using! I swear, with five littles, I have hundreds…!!

    • jeannine says

      i have found fruit punch plastic bottles [large] r great for rice, beans and anything that will fit. and i raise rabbits,here in michigan, this summer with 90 degree days, i have frozen bottles of water for the rabbits. they dont take heat and humidity well at all.

  12. says

    A quick thought. Powerade and Gatorade work great to! we keep a few bottles in the freezer. then move them to the fridge in the morning. By afternoon, they are a prefect slushy! In addition the bottles are durable once empty you can use them to start veggies or other plants in!

    Here is a handy way to keep things cool, I’ll add some pic’s next time i’m out by the water!

  13. melanie says

    I use the soda bottles in the freezer all the time but how do you store things like rice and beans safely in them? What ottther foods can be stored in them and how?

  14. dan says

    IMPORTANT FACT: Dont confuse the 2 liter soda bottles with plain water bottles. The soda ones are more durable. the plain water bottles tend to crack and break more easily. The soda bottles are built to withstand the pressure of the carbonation.

    • Tammy volheim says

      I keep two soda bottles under every sink in the house to be used if power goes out to flush toilets or wash up.

  15. Magpie57 says

    I like to re-use those Ocean Spray cranberry 2-qt drink bottles for storing rice and dried beans. Unlike soda bottles, the Ocean Spray bottles are rectangular so they pack tightly on pantry shelves with minimum dead air space..

  16. S. Rosencranz says

    They make excellent hot water bottles as well.. Pour hot but not boiling water into a bottle that already has eight ounces of room temp water in it. The eight ounces is to dissipate the heat so the bottle doesn’t lose it shape. Fill to top. Screw that top on tightly. Stick into sleeping bag or bed and warm up your bed. Do your business and get in. The bottle will stay warm all night never dropping below your body temp. I do this every winter when I turn down the heat at night. I use two, one for my cold as ice feet and one nestled by my belly or against my back. And the water can be reused. Great for camping.

  17. SilentNightPrepper says

    Fishing for Bait (minnow trap)

    Cut a 2-litre bottle just below the neck and remove cap, invert this section and staple (desk stapler works best) back in with the cut edges even with each other, 3-4 staples. Just put a small piece of bread through inverted spout, fill with water and place in ditch, pond, minnow filled area. The minnows get the bread but can’t escape. To get them out squeeze the bottle to create a gap between the exterior and inverted spout (between staples- don’t use to many) and pour them out.

    Hornet Trap

    You can also shorten the main body of the trap and bait with soda or sugary liquid and stick the bottom (double sided tape – or a loop of duct tape) up high near the roof of porch or where hornets/wasps congregate by around shelter. They can’t get out either.
    Really important if someone in family is allergic to bee’s, etc as my daughter is. Could save someone’s life when there is no hospital avail…

  18. amber says

    I use soda bottles and milk jugs for free water storage. Everytime
    I use one i rinse it out and fill it up with tap water and store it away. Buying water is so expensive, this way is almost free!

    • Rebecca says

      Amber, using empty milk jugs is not a good idea for a couple of reasons. One: They are made to break down quickly-within 6 months- and therefore make a mess in your storage space. Two: It is very difficult to get all of the milk residue out. Be careful.

  19. Amber says

    I now have a good reason to buy a freezer. I don’t keep any meat, really, so I never saw much purpose to it for my family, but storing water … that’s the best reason.

  20. Barbara Dahl says

    Never use milk jugs for water that you will drink. It is almost impossible to remove all traces of protein and fat and these could harbor bacteria. 2 liter pop bottles work well because they are sturdy. We store our 3/4 full bottles under the deck where they are handy but out of the way. We use old milk crates to store our non-drinking water. These can be stacked. Many people buy water in heavy jugs, then toss the jugs away. This is the perfect way to go if you can locate some jug tossers that would rather recycle.

  21. Oscar says

    Two things: if you expect to drink the stored water later, make sure you filter it as you would your regular water. Then you don’t have to go through that step when it melts.

    Also, I’m surprised nobody has suggested using the bottles for fermenting ginger beer or root beer! It’s real easy, and 2liter soda bottles are already designed to hold up to the carbonation. When it’s hard to squeeze, it’s done!

  22. says

    My dad would always fill empty gallon milk containers with water and freeze them in an ice chest he had. He still does this today, and now I find myself doing it, as well as my brothers. This definitely came in handy during Hurricane Sandy.

  23. Silly Al says

    I also use 1-liter and smaller soda bottles to fill empty spots in our freezers. They make decent cold compresses too.
    My neighbor uses a liquid laundry soap that comes in @2 quart bottle with a wide mouth and no spout. They are strung up like garlic in my shed for hurricane season. Pee bottles! The soap residue helps keep the smell down. I fully tested them last summer when i was bedridden.

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