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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tips for Cleaning Your Reusable Bags

By Melissa Hincha-Ownby


reusable bags

Reusable shopping bags can be found everywhere these days – from the local convenience mart to clothing retailers. Like most people, I have a handful of reusable shopping bags in my arsenal, but my supply doesn’t stop there. I also have reusable lunch boxes, produce and snack bags. While I love my reusable bags, I don’t always love washing them. Below are a few tips on how to keep your bags clean and useable for years to come.

Label bags

If you use your bags to hold a variety of grocery items, it is important to label them. Label one bag for produce, another for seafood and another for raw meats. Always pack your raw meats in the appropriate bag. Labeling your bags won’t substitute the need to clean each bag, but it does help prevent possible contamination issues.


Most reusable bags that are made of cloth can be laundered in the washing machine. This includes bags made from cotton, hemp, nylon and polyester. To prolong the life of your bags, turn them inside out prior to the wash. To conserve your water usage, be sure to wash the bags with your next load of towels or sheets. Depending on your personal preference, you can toss the bags in the dryer or hang them to dry.

Insulated bags

I have yet to come across an insulated bag that I can launder in the washing machine, and so I turn to my trusty bottle of Windex® Disinfectant Cleaner Multi-Surface for some help. I typically spray the inside of the insulated bag and wipe it dry with a cloth. This process only takes about a minute and should be repeated after every use.


Never store a bag unless it is completely dry, because if you store a bag that is damp you risk bacteria growth. Once your bags are completely dry, store them in a cool, dry place. I keep all of my reusable bags in my kitchen cabinet.

Do you clean your reusable bags after every use?

Photo courtesy of Melissa Hincha-Ownby.

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