How to Clean Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable shopping bags are a great way to go green, but they can get filthy fast. Here's everything you need to know about how to clean reusable grocery bags.

Your reusable shopping bag may look clean, but chances are, it’s carrying more than just your groceries. A University of Arizona study recently revealed that reusable shopping bags can harbour some pretty nasty stuff, like E. coli, which can lead to foodborne illness. Bacteria, viruses, yeast and mold can attach themselves to reusable shopping bags. While cleaning washes all this away, you might consider sticking to disposable shopping bags if you’re immunocompromised, sick or especially worried about catching an illness.

How often should you clean reusable shopping bags? 

It might sound like a lot, but experts recommend cleaning your reusable grocery bags after every use. Consider it a small price to pay for keeping you and your family healthy.

How to clean cloth reusable shopping bags: 

The two most common cloth materials in reusable grocery bags are cotton and bamboo. Durable cotton bags can handle machine-washing with hot water and laundry detergent. Bamboo bags should be hand- or machine-washed on the gentle cycle with mild laundry detergent. You can air dry or machine dry either fabric.

How to clean nylon reusable shopping bags: 

Petroleum-based nylon bags should be hand-washed in warm soapy water. Skip the dryer and air dry these bags.

How to clean recycled plastic reusable shopping bags: 

You have two choices with recycled plastic bags: hand-washing with soap and water or machine-washing on the gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Always air dry recycled plastic bags.

How to clean insulated reusable shopping bags: 

Insulated bags that keep your food warm or cold should never go in a washer or dryer. Instead, wash by hand with warm soapy water or wipe them down with an antibacterial wipe. Then air dry. Just avoid these mistakes everyone makes with antibacterial wipes.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman