Washing and Organizing Reusable Bags - A Bountiful Love

Washing and Organizing Reusable Bags

It took us several weeks to get used to ( I mean, to remember) using reusable bags. California finally banned the use of plastic bags . What's not to support, it is very important in reducing litter and ocean pollution. I am not sure about you BUT we are a product of our own habits. I do forget to bring them inside the stores. Good news is that we are getting good at remembering to bring the bags.

Using the reusable bag to help save our mother Earth ( one of the many ways) is so great , however..When was the last time you washed them? It is not about being freakishly clean . It is very important to wash those bags too!

Confession time :  I also do not remember to wash them. I keep them nicely organized in our car and some neatly folded here at home. I mean, out of sight out of mind right? And that is very true with germs lurking in your bags. You don't see them BUT it is there and it will make you sick. A  study from scientists at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University found  97% of shoppers with multi-use bags said they DO NOT regularly wash them. Only 3% remember to wash their reusable bags.

The same study found bacteria in 99% of bags tested; half carried Coliform bacteria while 8% carried E. coli, an indicator of fecal contamination. Fecal contamination - Did I get your attention now?

 Ryan Sinclair of the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, a co-author of the study said "I classify them as pretty dirty things, like the bottom of your shoes,". You wouldn't lick the bottom of your shoes right? Nor give your shoes to your little ones so they can gnaw on it. Okay, I may be exaggerating , my point is. Reusable bags are dirty!!

Just reflect on this..

"The researchers found that bacteria thrived and multiplied on bags stored in the trunks of cars and that machine or hand washing reduced bacteria on bags by more than 99.9%. A separate study published in 2012 traced a norovirus outbreak among a girls' soccer team from Oregon to a reusable bag stored in a hotel bathroom used by an ill team member.Source HERE.

We own bottles of hand sanitizers and wipes. Tucked inside our purse , even inside our Suv's, cars and vans. It means that we try to stay away from bacteria, germs that can make us really sick. So why don't we wash our reusable bags?

Luckily , there are steps to avoid cross contamination. Here are the steps according to FoodSafety.Gov 

  1. Wash reusable grocery bags often.
  2. Always put raw meats into a disposable plastic bag before putting them in a reusable bag.  
  3. Keep meats, fresh produce, and ready-to-eat foods separated.
  4. Store reusable bags at home in a cool, dry place, not in the car.
  5. Do not use reusable grocery bags for other purposes.

How to Clean the Reusable Bags?

For Canvas bags ,toss them in the washing machine and launder in hot water with detergent. You can run them through the dryer but I air dry them.  If you use insulated shopping bags for meats and eggs, you should always wipe them with sanitizing wipes. I also wash them on cold , gentle cycle and then air dry the bags. For nylon bags , flip them inside out and wash them by hand in warm soapy water and then air dry.

Ways to Organize the Reusable Bags

Here's a very tidy and easy way to organize the bags. This is a frugal way to keep those bags organized, just a trip to the dollar tree!  See I am Homemaker's post about reusable bags HERE.

 Photo Credit

This one is very cute! A Tote Buddy, who knew. Check out Organizing Junkie's vehicle organization HERE. Pretty impressive and as a matter of fact ..I am inspired to clean our SUV now.

Photo Credit

I also love this from Organising to Make Life Easier . You probably own a lot of baskets already, so this may not cost you anything.

Photo Credit

I know it's quite hard to remember to wash the bags regularly. So I would suggest to set your alarm or calendar.  Or write a reminder note and post it by your laundry room. Soon , it will be a great habit. A habit that will prevent us from getting sick.

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  1. Great tips for organizing and keeping your reusable bags organized. I need to organize I like your dollar store idea with the pink filer. As far as keeping them clean I keep up with that pretty good. Thanks for sharing your great ideas. Pinned & twitted!

  2. I would prefer to promote the relevance of recycling along with the need for each one to save the earth in their particular own little ways like avoiding using anything that could harm our dying planet. Wedding gift bags

  3. The primary plastic bag storage started in 1862 at the Great International Exhibition in London and was produced using cellulose. In any case, it was not until after World War I that it increased authority see as the plastic we perceive today.


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