Do You Clean Your Reusable Bags?

Photo Credit: Amanda_Wills

Do you use reusable bags?

Now here’s the real question: How often do you wash your reusable bags?

Umm… never?

Did you know that 64 percent of tested reusable bags were contaminated with bacteria, and 40 percent of tested bags contained the presence of yeast or mold?

To prevent this, it’s recommended that you wash your bags every single time you use them. I honestly don’t know anyone who does this, but it’s probably a good idea to wash them once in a while anyway.

Here is how you wash several common reusable bag types:

  • Cotton and hemp—These bags are usually machine washable and dryer safe. If it’s screen-printed or dyed, wash it in cold water the first few times.
  • Non-woven polypropylene reusable bags, recycled PET bags, nylon, and poly-nylon bags—These should be hand-washed in warm, soapy water and hung to dry. Make sure you dry the bag both inside out and right-side out so that all of the moisture evaporates!
  • Laminated reusable bags—These can be wiped down with a wet cloth or “washed” with a disinfectant spray.

If this is too much work to do on a regular basis, here’s how you can keep your bags cleaner to begin with:

Designate separate bags for meat, fish, and produce. These are the bags that you need to wash regularly to get rid of bacteria. With packaged products, there’s usually enough layers of packaging where the bacteria will not be able to get through.

When you get home from the store, don’t toss the bags into your closet or another small space (like your trunk! Something I might be guilty of…). Let them air out so that the moisture inside can evaporate.

What are your tips for a clean reusable bag?


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