Cleaning and Laundry

How to Clean Reusable Grocery Bags

The Best Way to Clean Reusable Grocery Bags

If you are bringing your own reusable bags to pick up your groceries, good for you! It’s one easy way to green your lifestyle and we encourage you to go reusable as much as possible. 

However, you should be mindful of keeping them clean, especially if they have been exposed to juices from fresh produce, meat, poultry or seafood. Bags and grocery bins can harbour bacteria that can contaminate other foods, or even worse, lead to food-borne illness. Damp, dirty bags can get mouldy -- not what you want next to your freshly-bought groceries. Studies have shown that 12% of unwashed reusable bags are contaminated by E. coli, and most of us have never washed our bags! All bags should ideally be washed after each use.

Bags that have been used for other purposes, such as carrying swimsuits and towels, should also be washed regularly. You could also dedicate bags to one kind of food: meats, vegetables, dairy, dry foods, cleaning supplies, and so on.

You can machine wash cloth bags (check to see if your fabric bags have washing instructions) or if they’re not machine washable, hand wash them inside-out in hot soapy water, to prevent cross-contamination. Dry the bags thoroughly on low heat in a dryer, or line dry and store in a cool, dry place. Moisture is bacteria’s and fungi’s best friend, and if you’re storing your bags in a warm car, you’ve basically created an incubator! 

Cleaning your bags might take a few minutes out of your day, but it’s worth the effort to keep your family healthy.​