Why Are There Tabs on the Sides of Aluminum Foil Boxes?

Monica Schipper / Stringer / Getty Images
Monica Schipper / Stringer / Getty Images / Monica Schipper / Stringer / Getty Images

Tearing off a fresh sheet off aluminum foil can be a dangerous game. The roll doesn't come secured to the box, which means it can easily slip out of place. This is the last thing you want when handling a package with a serrated edge. Plastic wrap, which tends to cling to itself, can be even harder to free from its box. This may seem like a design flaw on the part of the manufacturers, but they've already added a solution that most people don't know about.

The ends of most boxes of aluminum foil and plastic wrap come with tiny tabs with perforated edges. Many consumers have likely seen this feature without thinking twice about it, but it's there for a good reason. If you punch in those tabs, you can use them to keep the tube in place. They even have an official name: end locks. Now that your roll of plastic wrap or foil is stabilized, storing leftovers becomes a much faster, neater process.

You can see the tabs in action in the video below.

Though this feature comes standard on most food wrap boxes, it's rarely used. Some brands have attempted to raise awareness of the innovation—the tabs on Reynolds Wrap come with instructions saying “Press Here to Lock Roll" printed clearly on the box. Despite this, end locks have largely remained an accidental secret. Now that you know how to use them, you'll be kicking yourself for not figuring it out sooner.

The tabs on aluminum foil boxes aren't the only everyday features that are more useful than they appear. Here are more forgotten uses of everyday objects.