Make your own no-sew nut milk bag

Nut milk bag - twisting

If you want to start making your own raw almond milk (which I highly recommend), you’re going to need a nut milk bag.

And I’ve discovered a quick and inexpensive way to make your own nut milk bag, that doesn’t even require any sewing.

Sometimes these things seem so ridiculously simple and insignificant, that it’s hard to imagine that they could be worth sharing.

But then I realised just how many times a week we use our nut milk bag, and how fantastic a solution it really is, so how I could I not share it with you?

What is a nut milk bag?

A nut milk bag is basically a specially shaped fabric bag, that you strain your blended raw almond milk through, to remove any pulp or fibre that remains.

You don’t have to strain your nut milk, and some people do like to just blend and use their raw milk unstrained, but straining does have some useful benefits:

  • It makes make your milk a lot smoother and creamier, taking away the slightly grainy texture
  • It helps your nut milk to resemble dairy milks more closely, which can make it easier to accept for some people
  • It gives you leftover almond pulp meal, than you can use to make all kind of delicious things, including raw chocolate fudge brownies and raw hummus

You can buy nut milk bags online, where they can cost anything from $5 to $35, and they come in various shapes, sizes and materials.

Most raw vegan chefs recommend that you include a nut milk bag in your collection of raw food kitchen gadgets, so I got myself one when I first bought my Vitamix.

But when I started using mine to make raw almond milk, I got quite frustrated with it for a couple of reasons:

  1. It was the wrong shape and size for the jug I wanted to use it with
  2. The seam of the nut milk bag sat right along the point where the milk was dripping out, so it actually prevented the milk from coming out neatly
  3. I found it hard to clean all of the pulp out of the seams of the bag, and I’m not a big fan of fiddly cleaning jobs

So I figured there had to be a better solution, and I found one that’s so fast, cheap and effective that it seems silly – use a square of curtain fabric.

See! A whole post for six simple words? Crazy!

But it works really, really, really well for us, and I reckon you might like it too.

How to make a no-sew nut milk bag

I’ll repeat the instructions for you below so you can print them out, but basically it boils down to this.

1. Buy yourself some super-plain swiss voile fabric in white or cream

Nut milk bag - fabric rollsSwiss voile fabric is basically a very light fabric, similar to chiffon, usually made from cotton or polyester, and used mostly for curtains and dress-making.

I bought mine at Spotlight (in Australia), and you should be able to buy it from any larger fabric shop, especially one that includes furnishings.

You can get voile in all kinds of fancy patterns, but for the nut milk bag you want it completely and utterly plain.

I would recommend white or cream, although the nut milk will eventually turn it off-white anyway.

The swiss voile that I bought for this purpose was 100% polyester, which is really important, because it’s really strong even when it’s wet.

Nut milk bag - fabric label

If you have concerns about straining your raw nut milk with polyester fabric, then this probably isn’t the solution for you.

2. Cut yourself a 50cm/20″ square out of the fabric

I just cut myself a 50cm (20 inch) square out of the (washed) fabric, and voila! Instant nut milk bag, for around $1.35, ready to use.

How to use your instant nut milk bag

You just line your container with the fabric and pour your blended nut milk into the “bag”.

Nut milk bag - in jug

Then you carefully pick up the corners and edges of the fabric and collect them into a bundle.

Starting twisting the top of the bag, to start forcing the milk out through the bottom.

Nut milk bag - twisting

Keep twisting, squeezing and tightening the bag to get every last drop of precious milk out of your pulp.

Nut milk bag - squeezing

And then you’re all done!

Use the leftover pulp to make something delicious, and give your nut milk bag a thorough rinse with plain water and hang it up to dry, ready for next time.

How easy is that?

I think my super easy nut milk works so well because:

  • It adapts to any size or shape container
  • There’s no seams getting in the way of the milk coming out – the milk drips beautifully from the bottom of the bag, wherever that ends up being
  • The fabric is still really strong when it’s wet, so you can squeeze really hard without breaking anything
  • The fabric stretches a little over time, so you end up with a perfect indentation in the middle of the square for making milk
  • There’s no seams to clean out afterwards
  • The fabric is super easy to rinse clean, and although it gets a little stained, it doesn’t seem to hold any food particles (so it doesn’t get smelly)
  • Being polyester, it dries really quickly, ready to use again

So simple, so elegant and so convenient.

So here’s my “recipe” so you can have a go at make your own homemade nut milk bag.

Make sure you read the tips that come after the recipe, because there’s some important stuff in there that will help you have the best experience with your super-duper nut milk bag.

No-Sew Nut Milk Bag
Source: 
Diets: Non-food
Makes: 3 nut milk bags
 
Ingredients
  • 50cm (20″) of plain swiss voile, cream or white
Method
  1. Wash fabric thoroughly and dry.
  2. Cut a 50cm (20 inch) square out of the fabric.
  3. Use to line a container and strain raw nut milk through it.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow to dry between uses.

Tips

  • Wash the fabric thoroughly before using it to remove any manufacturing residues.
  • The edges will fray as you use it, so make sure to remove any loose threads that appear as soon as you seen them. The last thing you want is pieces of polyester thread in your raw nut milk. The edges will eventually fray just enough that no more threads come loose.
  • If you want to, you could cut around the edges with pinking shears (sawtoothed scissors) to create an edge that will only fray a little bit, but I didn’t want to have lots of little loose threads ending up in my milk, so I skipped this step.
  • You could throw your nut milk bag into the washing machine if you wanted to, but I wanted to minimise the amount of washing detergent I used on our bag, given that it will be coming into regular contact with our food. So we just rinse ours thoroughly with fresh clean water each time.
  • The polyester fabric doesn’t seem to trap many food particles, and rinses clean quite easily. Ours never gets smelly.
  • Don’t leave it to sit around dirty! It will become impossible to clean and you may have to throw it away. Wash it as soon as you’ve finished straining your milk. Trust me on this.
  • Your nut milk bag will become stained over time, but it doesn’t make it any less useful, I would rather know that it was safe and clean to use with our food, than worrying about a bit of discolouration.
  • Make sure it dries thoroughly between uses. We leave ours to drip dry and being polyester, it dries quite fast.  We make milk every couple of days, and ours is always dry and ready to go.
  • You can use your homemade nut milk bags for straining all kinds of things, although we’ve only ever used ours for almond milk. I also keep one just for making nut milk, and if I want to strain anything else (such as juice or sprouts), I’ll use a different bag.

I hope you have lots of fun making and using your super-easy nut milk bag.

And have an awesome day!

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14 Responses to “Make your own no-sew nut milk bag”

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  1. Sarojini says:

    Great idea, post and tips- I was actually already using a square of muslin, so I can see where you’re coming from!

  2. Michelle says:

    I use muslin cloth in exactly the same way, it is cotton & strong.

  3. Stacey E says:

    Most places tell you to use cheesecloth to strain nut milk. I’ve tried that and it’s almost a complete waste of time. I don’t get any more of the grit out using cheesecloth than I do using a mesh strainer. I will try your method next. I don’t really want to buy a fancy bag when what you do sounds perfectly reasonable.

    • Nikki says:

      Hi Stacey,

      I’ve read that too, but I suspect that “cheesecloth” might not mean the same thing to everyone. I’ve never tried cheesecloth personally, but make sure whatever you use is plain, fine and strong, so you don’t have troubles with it breaking open. I love the simplicity of my method and our “bag” has lasted for years now, so with the right fabric it’s a brilliant solution (even if I do say so myself) ;)

  4. Jean says:

    I read your tutorial, went straight to the fabric store and bought enough swiss voile to make several bags. Used the first one tonight and it burst right in half upon twisting. Is there a different fabric that would work better?

    • Nikki says:

      Hi Jean,

      I’m really sorry to hear that. We’ve used our piece hundreds of times and squeezed it really hard and it’s never shown any signs of strain. Perhaps the quality of swiss voile varies a bit. I’m no fabric expert I’m afraid. I know mine was 100% polyester, so it’s strong when wet, but I don’t know if swiss voile can be made from other things.

      Honestly, when I was looking for a solution, I just looked for something that was really fine, plain and strong. I was just lucky that the swiss voile I bought worked so well. I bought it from the curtaining section of my fabric store, so perhaps if you wander around yours, you might see some things that look promising and give them a good tug to see how strong they are before you buy any.

      HTH

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Terrific idea. But I would highly suggest looking for fabric that is NOT made in China and has not been treated.

    • Nikki says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Absolutely, if that’s important to you as well. Basically any fabric with the same physical properties, made locally or overseas, with natural or man-made fibres, would be an option. Hopefully this simple idea will encourage people to experiment with different fabrics and let us all know what else can do the job!

  6. Deidre says:

    Thank you for this post. I really appreciate the detailed information and the photos for visual learners. Thank you for taking the time to help us steward our budgets well!
    I have been using (and re-using) cheesecloth which, in multiple layers, will strain better than a mesh strainer. However, sometimes the pressure of squeezing it will “pop” the cheesecloth, allowing a small, but forceful leak of the milk.
    I am eager to try the swiss voile and/or muslin.
    Elizabeth’s comment has me wondering how to know whether or not a fabric has been treated.
    To your health!

    • Nikki says:

      Hi Deidre,

      You’re most welcome. Some things are really hard to explain in words, so I’m glad the pictures did the job! I couldn’t believe how effective such a simple and inexpensive trick was, so I’m glad to be able to share it with you.

      I’m not sure how to figure out if a fabric has been treated, or whether you can wash it out afterwards. I have read of some people contacting the manufacturer to find out, but that’s not always possible or practical. Others recommend using only 100% organic cotton so there’s no risk of any synthetic fibers getting into your food. In the end, I guess it’s a personal choice about what’s most important to you.

      All the best to you and your health too :)

  7. Pam C says:

    Thank you for posting this. I want to try to make Almond milk and my own nut milk bag. I never saw one and didn’t know what type of fabric to use. I already have muslin, so I will try that. I would think polyester voile would be stronger, so if this doesn’t work I can try that. Now to buy some almonds!

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