Reusable bags have a positive impact on the environment, but research has shown that many reusable bags host harmful bacteria. A study by the University of Arizona found that around 12% of reusable bags tested contained E.coli. These are some useful cleaning tips for reusable grocery bags.
Cross contamination can occur if meats and other produce are transported in bags that contain harmful bacteria. Some bags may be used for multiple purposes; for example, for gym gear or even diapers and baby supplies. To avoid cross contamination, use the following tips.
- Launder bags. Avoid cross contamination by laundering shopping bags after every single use.
- Labels. Assign separate uses for each bag and label the bags accordingly. For example, mark each bag with ‘meat’, ‘produce’, or ‘dairy’ to keep track of which bags to use.
- Avoid multiple uses. Avoid using the bag for purposes other than its assigned purpose. For example, avoid carrying gym equipment in grocery bags.
As a first point of reference, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for laundering bags. Some bags can be laundered with everyday detergent in hot water and dried in a dryer. Other bags should be hand washed and left to air dry on the line.