In the United States, imperial units, such as cups, ounces, and gallons, are the standard units of measurement for liquid.
However, for the rest of the world, the metric system, which uses liters, kiloliters, or milliliters to measure liquid, is more common.
Even in the United States, milliliters are often used to measure certain things.
Learning what a milliliter is and what things are usually measured in milliliters can help you gain a better understanding of the unit.
How much is a milliliter?
A single milliliter is one one-thousandth of a liter.
Although this may seem like an arbitrary number, it helps when you remember that a liter is about one-quarter of a gallon.
This shows us that a milliliter is a very small amount, which is why it is often used to measure smaller things.
When considering how much a milliliter is, you can also compare that amount to a cup or ounce in the imperial system.
One milliliter is about .03 ounces, and about .004 cups.
Again, this shows us that a milliliter is a very small amount.
In fact, a single milliliter only equals out to about .17 of a teaspoon.
For this reason, liquids measured in milliliters are often measured using small instruments, such as dropper dispensers.
Milliliters are often used in the scientific community, not only in the United States but also around the world.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, the metric system is a standard system based on decimal points, so it’s very simple to convert between milliliters, liters, kiloliters, and other standard units for measuring liquid within that system.
All someone would need to do is multiply or divide by whole numbers or move the decimal point in the number, depending on what unit they were converting to.
Here is a link to our section on converting units of measurements.
The other reason that milliliters are often used within the scientific community is because they can be used to measure small amounts.
If scientists are measuring things such as chemical compounds or certain mixtures for experiments, they may only need small amounts.
Measuring in milliliters makes this easier and also ensures that each measurement is as accurate as possible.
Because medications are usually given in small doses, they’re also often measured in milliliters.
Your doctor might prescribe a certain milliliter amount of any medicine you need to take.
This helps to ensure that your dose is accurate or can be easily adjusted.
Other medical things, such as many vitamins or supplements, are also measured in milliliters.
If you look at an herbal liquid supplement, for example, the bottle might explain how many milliliters of the active ingredient is included.
This can help you determine how much to safely take.
Doctors may also use milliliters to measure if they take a sample.
For example, if you have your blood drawn, the vials the blood is extracted into are often marked in milliliter increments.
This helps to ensure that enough blood is taken for the tests that need to be done.
This exact measurement can also help labs and doctors make diagnoses about your health based on how much blood they used for any particular test.
Many smaller beverages are measured in milliliters.
Personal water bottles often have measurements for both cups and milliliters along the sides.
This can help you decide how much water you need, and it can also help you keep track of how much water you’ve had throughout the day.
Many measuring cups also have milliliter measurements along the sides in addition to ounces or cups.
This can help you measure out a beverage, or it can make cooking or baking easier if you’re using a specific recipe.
For example, many recipes call for a certain milliliter amount of water or milk.
Using milliliters instead of cups or quarter cups is more exact, which can often help you create a more perfect recipe.
Milliliters are also used in other kitchen applications.
For example, food coloring is often measured in milliliters.
This is because, generally, very little food coloring needs to be used to attain the perfect hue.
Measuring in milliliters helps to ensure that you’re using just enough without wasting anything.
You can learn how to convert liters into gallons here.
Other Items Measured in Milliliters
Many other common items are also measured in milliliters.
For example, perfume is often sold in bottles that are filled to a certain milliliter mark.
Perfume bottles are generally small and they might not hold too much liquid, so it makes sense to use milliliters to measure them.
Other liquid makeups, such as lip gloss or skincare products, are also often sold in milliliter units.
Other health and beauty items are also generally packaged in milliliter containers.
For example, toothpaste is often measured in milliliters.
This helps consumers ensure they’re getting the proper amount of toothpaste for what they’ve paid.