Yesterday I bought several packages of meat at the grocery store. At the checkout I had them put the meat into the reusable bag I'd brought in with me. One of the packages hadn't been wrapped well and some meat juice seeped onto the nylon bag. Normally when that happens I just spot-wash the bag well with soapy water and let it dry, but when I realized it had been a while since any of my bags had been thoroughly cleaned I decided to throw them all into the washer and take care of the job all at once..
2010 study from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California that found food-borne bacteria like E. coli in as many as in half of the bags they sampled. Some sources recommend you wash the bags after each use; others recommend weekly or monthly cleanings. My bags hadn't been done within even the longest time frame.
I have a motley collection of bags (which I store folded inside a tote bag) that I've acquired from a variety of sources. The ones that are shaped like paper bags with flat bottoms and sturdy handles get used on every shopping trip. Several others are pulled out on big grocery store runs, and a couple of them hardly ever get unfolded.
Half of the bags are made out of polypropylene, and I turned those inside out as I threw them into the washing machine. The rest of the bags are cotton or cotton blends. I didn't bother turning them. When the load was done the natural-fiber bags went in the dryer. I hung the others outside on the deck chairs. The weather was warm, and it didn't take long for them to dry. I folded all the bags and put them back into the car, where they're waiting for tomorrow's grocery shopping trip.
Five years ago today: Gluten For Pun-ishment