Is There Bacteria In Your Bags?
I was listening to NPR this morning as I was making my grocery list. And I quickly lost my appetite hearing a story about how much bacteria can be harbored in reusable grocery bags!
Reusable bags are of course good for the environment, and in many cities they also save you money. Here in LA, many stores charge for disposable paper bags – a totally avoidable extra expense.
But it’s really the cost and pain of getting sick that I want to avoid - which is why from now on I will be keeping my reusable bags as clean as possible! Ask your yourself the following questions:
Do You Wash Your Bags?
So, I’ve washed my reusable bags approximately …. never. Since many sources suggest washing once a week, apparently I have some catching up to do!
Most bags have cleaning labels, but if yours don’t, check out the American Cleaning Institute for how-to tips. Most cotton bags can be washed hot in the machine with your other laundry. But with hand wash bags you need to be vigilant about getting into all the little corners and crevices where germs like to hide…
Where Do You Store Your Bags?
Do you keep your bags conveniently stashed in the trunk of your car, like I do? Turns out that’s exactly the wrong thing to do! Studies have shown that is where bacteria quickly multiplies, thanks to being a closed area where temperatures can quickly rise. So store bags at home – and be sure you completely dry them before storing them!
Do You Label Your Bags?
Do you label your bags to make sure you use different bags for different items? Neither did I. But to help prevent cross-contamination, you should use specific bags for raw meat, vegetables and household products and label them clearly. That way even when you slack on washing the bags you can lessen your chances of getting sick.
Can’t believe you haven’t been keeping your bags clean? You’re not alone – it turns out the vast majority of Americans don’t regularly wash their bags. But the good news is it just takes a couple extra minutes a week to prevent illness, save money and keep on helping the environment!