This is an attempt at a canonical Q&A for the question above, as suggested in this comment:
This should replace the Mango, BBQ Ribs, Chips, Apple and Orange eating questions.

I am trying to eat a food that is juicy / sticky / has sauce on it / is greasy.

How can I do this without getting it all over myself?

I have already tried eating more carefully only using my fingertips but I still get too much on my face, hands, and fingers. I have also tried using napkins but that didn't work because I ended up with bits of paper stuck to the food.

Are there any methods that work for most / all foods that I could possibly want to know about?

  • 2
    Get some of Ali G's ice cream gloves: youtube.com/watch?v=48TR0vUPQCs
    – user6940
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 20:41
  • Fairly sure this can be solved by thinking outside the box...
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 18:08
  • 3
    @Tim Why would it need to be? Fairly sure this can be solved by using common tools that have been around for approximately 1400 years ago (in the case of a fork) or as much as 3800 years ago (in the case of chopsticks). It doesn't need a lifehack. The linked questions closed as dupes of this one should be closed using the appropriate reason (as should this question), not given a canonical source. No reason for not using common tools has been given, it is categorically a basic "how to" question, and it directly contradicts every guideline available for what a question should be here. Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 7:30
  • @CaptainObvious This was asked over a year ago... those rules did not exist then. Feel free to close vote it now if you wish :)
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 16:53
  • 1
    @Tim I did CV on the 13th. It expired. This site doesn't really have the CV mass to carry it through. I'll keep at it. Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 16:55

11 Answers 11


The best way to avoid sticky fingers while dining is to use this ubiquitous and easy to use tool:

This is a fork. It will solve this problem.

  • 3
    @Tim just curious is that documented in the FAQ or meta or somewhere? I really don't see why one CW with a bunch of points in bold in a fixed order is better than a bunch of answers reordered by how good people think they are, like, that seems like an abuse of one answer, CW or not, when multiple answers contain the same information much better.
    – djechlin
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 23:43
  • 5
    @Tim anyone can edit any answer with any amount of reputation. The edits just need to be approved. Community Wiki is mostly discouraged across the network for this reason, among others. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 0:15
  • 6
    Death to Community Wiki. tl;dr, Community Wiki is NOT for questions that have 8 different answers, so that they can be collected into a single post. Community Wiki is for truly collaborative answers. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 0:19
  • 4
    THis isn't at all what CW is meant for. Grouping all your answers into one giant CW means users can't cast individual votes on each "sub answer". Also, and more importantly, users are free to post answers which include using a tool as intended. To quote @RobertCartaino: "You cannot have a site that insists the best way to drive in a nail is with the back of a shoe. If the question itself doesn't specify some out-of-the-box situation, you cannot fault folks for actually answering it." meta.lifehacks.stackexchange.com/questions/2389/…
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 0:19
  • 3
    @Tim From your post: "While it's fine here, consider not posting answers that use tools as they are intended" There's absolutely nothing wrong with posting answers where tools as used as intended, and we should not be discouraging users from doing so.
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 0:33

Try chopsticks.

If you don't use these much you might not know how good they are - they can pick up just about anything messy that is the size of a carrot or smaller:

Chopsticks being used to eat Cheetos.

Bit Rebels

You can also use chopsticks also to reach extra far, say, into a skinny jar to pick something up - so learn to hold them at the base not tip!

  • Chopsticks are the best. They are the only tool that allows one to eat Cheetos and use a computer keyboard at the same time, without the latter turning into a greasy roach motel! Extra points if your job requires you to handle white paper such as printed reports.
    – hlecuanda
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 22:56
  • @hlecuanda also popcorn if it's been buttered or carameled.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 22:57
  • Ah, south of the wall ahem border we use red Chile salsa on popcorn mmmm popcorn drowned in salsa ..Getting my chopsticks now!
    – hlecuanda
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 23:01

If you like to eat using your hands and not by using any utensils or accessories like spoons and gloves, and if you are only bothered about getting your hands 'sticky' while doing it, I suggest you to evenly apply some natural coconut oil to your hands before touching any sticky food. This will prevent your hands getting sticky while handling any food. It is obvious that you will be ingesting a bit of coconut oil along with your food and be glad you are doing it, as it is very good for your health and it also does a damn good job in keeping your skin moisturised.


This might sound weird but whenever my friends and I have a bbq, we keep a small bucket of ice at hand, since we are usually picking up the chicken/ribs/wings/whatever you're eating with our hands from the container our hands tend to get sticky, whenever we fill like giving ourselves a "cleaning" we grab an ice cube and rub it against our fingers then just throw it on the yard.

This might not avoid getting your fingers sticky, but it can help reduce the sensation in your hands. Works for me and my group of friends, hopefully you find it helpful as well.

  • It moistens your fingers, which helps with the removal of juices from food
    – Just Do It
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 23:02
  • 2
    And each moistener is its own individual disposable packet.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 23:03
  • Yup, and since its water, there's no problem in just throwing it to the yard. We usually grab the ice cubes from where we keep our drinks (beers, cokes, etc)
    – Just Do It
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 23:05

Use a holder

Put something else in between your hands and the food. This could be what the food comes in like a sandwich bag, a wrapper, or some aluminium foil. Avoid something like cling wrap as it sticks to the food.

Image, Tim 2014


Wear gloves while you are eating. When you are done, dispose of the gloves appropriately.

If you don't have gloves, but do have some liquid white glue and are willing to wait a little while, you can cover your fingertips in glue, allow it to dry, eat, and then peel off the glue. Using glue does require that it be of a non-toxic type, dries fairly quickly, and will come off easily (cyanoacrylate or super glue is not a good choice).

  • 1
    Please add to the community post instead of adding your own answer. It's purposely a community a wiki so users can add to it Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 17:55
  • @ZachSaucier Ah! I didn't know that. I'll change it. Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 17:57

Raise the plate instead of the food

This is what I do when I want to eat something while sitting at my desk and using the pc, and I don't want to get my hands dirty:

Put the food on a plate. Instead of raising the food to your mouth, you always raise the plate and eat the chips, fruit slices or whatever food out of the plate directly with your mouth.

While you may not want to do this in public, at home this will works fine and your hands will never get dirty again.

  • 3
    Why not take it a step further and lower your face to the plate, so you don't have to pick up an entire plate
    – Unionhawk
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 15:11

For crisps (= chips US), I roll the sides of the packet down and use a peg to get the crisp(s). The big rubber pegs work best but any will do:

enter image description here

For thin crisps, used a soft touch with the peg otherwise the crisps will break


Tongs. Just gotta find the perfect sized tong depending on the food.

A tong


Covering up.
There are napkins which you place over your clothing, covering you from your neck down, if draped well covering all under the way of your food, from your plate to your mouth.
One such I have seen was a big square of cotton or linen, made into a traditional napkin, with a button hole made in one corner. The napkin would be spread on the front of the person and a shirt button would come through the button hole just below the neck. The fabric being quite sturdy would stay where it was spread. Alternate attachment methods are clasps on a chain going round the neck, or clipping the napkins to the front of the clothing.
Starch in your fabric napkin will help in it staying in place, as it will make the fabric more stiff.

Not having clothing in the way.
If you can chose where and when you eat, very juicy fruits are best eaten ready to get into the shower, while the water is already running to get to temperature.
Alternatively, eat when you are already in the bath, although a bath with a shower is advised as you may want to rinse off when coming out of the water.

I personally do not feel it as good a solution for hot food, like meats which drip sauce, certainly not while they are still hot. But a shower just after eating will clean your body all over.

This does not keep you clean, it will clean you up after getting dirty.

As a last option:
Refrain from eating foods that would get you into trouble. This is what notable people do in public. Some going to the extend not eating anything in public.


When eating you should concentrate on food, this makes the saliva run and mix with the food to make it more digestible. So try to get 5 minutes off to eat, rather the work and eat at the same time. This way your work space will be neat/clean, and your digestive system will be in perfect order. A motherly advice!

  • How does that stop sticky fingers?
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 12:54
  • Welcome to the site! We appreciate your advice, but the question is about how to deal with food that's already sticky, We're a bit different than other sites. Our rule is to have each answer specifically match the question. Our help center explains everything, so have a look at it, especially the How to Answer page. Don't worry if this gets downvotes or even deleted, it's only because you didn't know how our site works. We hope you'll stay here and have fun! Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 17:18

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