Reusing Grocery Bags? They Need To Be Cleaned Now!

Reusing Grocery Bags? They Need To Be Cleaned Now!

Are you reusing your grocery bags? Here are some handy tips on how to clean them and keep them germ free.

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Who knew 2020 will take grocery shopping to level 10 of a survival game? Just because the COVID-19 situation has snowballed, and we are trying to safeguard our groceries from being contaminated, doesn’t mean that plastic is back again. We agree, that using plastic bags for groceries might seem like a good idea to avoid cross-contamination, but it is still harming the earth on a large scale. So using reusable bags for grocery and veggie shopping is still the best option. All you have to do is make sure you keep them clean and germ-free.

If you are using reusable grocery bags or are planning to do so, here are some tips on how to clean and disinfect reusable grocery bags after every grocery run.

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We sincerely hope you are taking all the necessary precautions while shopping for groceries and keeping your contact with the vendors to the minimum.

Types Of Reusable Grocery Bags | How To Clean Them

Cleaning and disinfecting the bag are two different terms that need to be understood. While disinfecting a grocery bag will mean killing all germs, it will not clean off the grime and dirt. Cleaning a grocery bag ensures a dirt-dust free bag but will not entirely KILL the germs. It will lower the number of germs, for sure. So in these unpredictable times, it is better to take all precautions to keep germs and infections as far away as possible through these small measures!

Jute Grocery Bags

Indians have been using jute grocery bags for a long time. Jute is a coarse, strong fiber that can be turned into sacks to store vegetables, for furniture, and even make reusable grocery bags. It is not easy or recommended to wash jute bags. But if you must, lightly wash them in mild soap. Do not rub it together or wring it. Dry this bag on a flat surface.

A jute grocery bag is commonly used in India.

Canvas Grocery Bags

Canvas is a durable fabric that is usually used to make tents, shelters (tirpal/tarpaal), shoes, and grocery bags. Canvas grocery bags are VERY easy to clean. Just pop them in the washing machine and you’re sorted. You can use detergents that have disinfectants in them.

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Cotton Grocery Bags

Cotton grocery bags are excellent for the environment and can be found easily in the market and online. If not, you can get them made from a local tailor also with customized pockets to hold groceries. Cotton grocery bags are the easiest to clean. You can wash them by hand or in a washing machine. Line dry and iron them later. They are foldable and easy to store also.

Cotton and canvas grocery bags are easy to clean.

Plastic Reusable Bags

Plastic reusable bags (Bags made from recycled plastics, like polypropylene or PET) can be washed by hand with mild soapy water. Make sure you wash them inside out. Wipe with a dry cloth and dry them in the sun or let it air dry to avoid any fungal formation.

Nylon Reusable Bags

Nylon grocery bags can be washed by hand with mild soapy water. Do not wring it. Line dry or let it air dry before storing it. These cannot be washed in a washing machine.

Insulated Reusable Bags

These grocery bags are especially for carrying frozen foods like frozen meats, frozen vegetables, ice creams, and dairy products which can melt till the time you reach home. Insulated reusable bags (the ones that have a silver lining on the inside) can be washed on the outside with mild soapy water and a light scrubber. Wipe with a wet cloth and line dry. To clean it on the inside, wipe with an antibacterial wipe.

Non-Woven Reusable Bags

Non-woven bags are made of Polypropylene (PP) which is a thermoplastic polymer. Non-woven reusable bags cannot be washed in a washing machine. These need to be washed with mild detergent by hand. Line dry and store for reuse.

Non-Woven bags cannot be washed in a machine.

How To Disinfect A Grocery Bag

During the pandemic, we highly recommend that you use reusable grocery bags made of cotton or canvas, which can be easily washed and disinfected after EVERY grocery run. Even though there is no data to prove that the virus can spread through bags, it is important to take precautions. But if you must use another type of bag, here are a few methods with which you can disinfect your grocery bags before entering the house or placing them on the countertop –

  • Wipe the bag with an antibacterial wipe. Once it is completely covered, wipe again with a dry cloth. Let it air-dry afterward.
  • For plastic bags – Make a 1:1 water and vinegar spray and generously spray on the reusable plastic bags.
  • Spray some sanitizer if you don’t have a disinfectant. Sanitizers and disinfectants can be easily bought from any medical store/chemist.

Looking For Reusable Grocery Bags?

If you are avoiding single-use plastic bags for groceries and being kinder to Mother Earth, here are 5 reusable grocery bags that are available online –

1. Storite Canvas Grocery Shopping Bags

  • Material – Canvas
  • Pack of 2 grocery bags
  • Reinforced handles
  • Length – 40.6 cm
  • Width – 19 cm
  • Height – 31.7 cm


2. Dussle Dorf Shopping Bags

  • Waterproof
  • Material – Canvas
  • Length – 18 inches
  • Width – 11 inches
  • Height – 14.5 inches


3. Greenmile Reusable Grocery Bags

  • Material – Pure unbleached cotton
  • Pack of 3 bags
  • Long handles
  • Dimensions – 14x14x7.5 inches


4. DOUBLE R BAGS Reusable Grocery Bag

  • 100% compostable
  • Once composted it returns to soil in about 3-6 months.
  • Length – 18 inches
  • Width – 11 inches
  • Height – 14.5 inches


5. Arka Home Products Vegetable Storage Fridge Bags

  • Set of 6 vegetable storage bags
  • Size – 10″ X 12″
  • Material – Pure cotton 


Are you using an environment friendly grocery bag? If yes, which ones do you prefer more – Canvas or cotton?

About The Author

Nishtha Asrani Sethi, born and brought up in Delhi, is a content writer who has previously worked with NDTV and Resolver. Her roots are deep within the food industry, thanks to her family business and a keen interest in contemporary food products. Nishtha loves to serve her articles with a side of humor. Her Bachelor’s degree in Home Science comes in handy while researching the science behind the food. When she is not trying to win a battle of fries vs fruit with her daughter, she is busy experimenting with her huge joint family with crazy recipes.

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