A drinking straw trick that reduces beverage spills in the car

Amazon: 17" Long Flexible Neon StrawsMartha's road trip tip may save your car upholstery from soda pop disaster:

I have two kids, ages 6 and 4, and both sets of grandparents live one state away. Consequently we often drive there to visit.

The kids sometimes like to get a bottled drink when we stop at a rest stop, but I'd always worry they'd spill as we were driving. My solution: I keep flexible drinking straws in the car.  With a straw in the bottle, the kids don't have to tilt the bottle back to drink, which reduces the liklihood of spills.

Even better, if they don't finish the drink in one go, they can bend the straw, push it into the bottle, and replace the cap! The bottle neck is usually long enough to keep the straw from being submerged.

Bonus hack: I keep the straws in a travel toothbrush holder in my glove box.  They stay clean and straight!

After a particularly sticky juice spill, my in-car beverage policy changed to water only. And I finally bought some good-quality drink containers that fit in the car's cupholders.

Even so, I wish I would have known this hack years ago — because who remembers to bring drinks every time? Spilled water's no fun, either.

More: Hacks for car travel and road trips


  1. Cindy says

    my daughter (2.5) LOVES bottled water but she spills it all over her. I don’t mind that so much in the summer, everything will dry. But in the winter, she’ll freeze! lol This may help thanks!

  2. Patti says

    What ever happened to the sports top bottles that you could pop open with your mouth and then close them again? I haven’t seen one of those in ages. My eldest loved those.

  3. says

    My son loves chocolate milk, so he gets to have it when we eat out. At our favorite bagel place they have plastic bottles of milk with the around the neck pull tab. I use my handy pocket knife and cut a small hole in the lid (without pulling off the tab) and put the straw in. He can’t spill much or remove the lid.

  4. Jen (yup, another one) says

    We keep an old fabric lunch bag in the car with stainless steel straws, cloth napkins, and spoons & forks (bamboo, they came free with something I ordered online), plus 1 knife (sharp, but with a cover) in case we need to cut fruit or something. This way we avoid using disposable stuff when we stop for a snack or a meal. The straws don’t bend (they have a permanent bend to make for easier drinking) so you couldn’t do that part of the hack, but they have been very handy.

  5. mes says

    I don’t trust my kids with straws in the car. It’s too much fun for them to pull the straw in and out of the cup. We got a spill proof sippy top (by Gerber) that snaps onto the top of a water bottle. It doesn’t leak when tipped over, but it can be used as a squirt gun if the bottle gets squeezed too hard. I almost always have a water bottle in the car, so nobody has to go thirsty and my upholstery doesn’t suffer.

  6. Nicole K says

    I keep straws in the car but use them for yogurt. I cut a slit in the top of the foil top and pop in a straw. I keep scissors in the car too so I can trim the straws. If you cut them just right you can get two uses out of one straw for yogurt. It works great unless someone decides to remove a yogurty straw from the container! My kids each have a thermos (funtainer) of water that travels everywhere we go. We NEVER leave home without them. I have the kind of sport bottle with a filter built in so I can get water and then squeeze it through mine into the children’s cups so they have filtered water if they happen to run out while we’re on the go. We live in Florida and with warm weather year round it’s important to stay hydrated.

  7. Krys says

    Love this idea. Been keeping bendy-straws from restaurants (so they have that nice paper wrapping) for a while now, but haven’t thought to use them for bottled beverages.

    @Nicole K – I think your personal filtered water bottle trick deserves it’s own hack! That’s a great idea, and I think I’m going to have to do that! Thanks!

  8. Monica Healy says

    Love this hack… lets just hope they don’t figure out that straws are particularly good at shooting spit balls across the car! :)

  9. Jennifer G says

    I keep a tiny pair of scissors in my purse for those restaurants who have insanely long straws to put in a child’s cup…I trim them down so my child doesn’t stab himself with the straw. (it happened once, there was blood, it was awful) But my husband is strong enough and the scissors are sturdy enough that we can use them to poke a hole in the top of small plastic milk jugs (the ones with the peel-off safety ring and pop off cap…this would probably not work for the twist/screw off lids as they are sturdier plastic)and slip a straw inside the hole. We never even have to take the safety seal ring off the lid, and voila, no spilled milk :)