Washing Your Reusable Shopping Bags
I have a dirty little secret. Literally.
Up until this past week, I can’t tell you the last time I washed my reusbale grocery bags. I have a hard enough time remembering them each time I go to the grocery store. To actually wash them after each use and get them into my car before my next shopping trip, well, quite frankly, that’s asking a lot.
Or maybe it isn’t.
Out of sheer curiosity last week I googled ‘washing reusable grocery bags’. Don’t do it unless you’re prepared to be a little eebed out. What I found was not pretty. In fact, it freaked me out and I don’t get freaked out easily.
Here’s the skinny. Or should I say dirty?
- Many sources said you should wash your bags after every use. Considering I go to the grocery store multiple times a week, this seems a bit excessive to me. But since I used to only wash them ever so often, I’m splitting the difference and my goal is to wash them every few weeks.
- Leaving bags in the car during the summer months is no bueno. Heat + no air = the perfect breeding ground for nasty bacteria. This is tough for me. If the bags aren’t in my car, there is a pretty good chance they’ll be forgotten. Good thing I live in a ski town and only have to remember this a few months each year.
- Always pack meat in a separate bag. This should be a given but I haven’t always adhered to this. If I think the meat looks packaged well enough, I’ll throw it in with everything else. Pretty gross now that I think about it. The thought of chicken juice on my bananas is too much….sorry I even went there. No more though. I’ve actually been getting my meat packed separately in a plastic bag if available. I use the plastic bags for doggy bags when I’m hiking so I feel ok about it.
- Not all bags are created equal. I used to have a lot of reusable bags made of all kinds of materials. I’ve sorted them out and downsized to only bags that can be washed and dried. Now I mostly have cotton bags and a few nylon ones that can hold up to the drier. All the plastic vinyl type ones I got rid of. There is just no great way to wash them. The old adage, “you get what you pay for”, applies here too. The $1 bags at the check out can’t be washed. Pay the extra few dollars and invest in bags you can use for years.
So tell me, how often do you wash your reusable bags? Do you have any tips to add for keeping them clean and cootie free?