Reusable shopping bags – to use and to wash

I just love all the reusable shopping bags available right now. In addition to most retailers carrying their own branded bags (especially grocers), you can find so many cute colors and prints at several retailers. It’s such a great way to help out the environment a little bit and look cute while doing it. Plus, who wants all of those paper or plastic bags lurking around your house anyway?

But one thing to keep in mind is the cleaning of your reusable bags. I recently read an article in Parents magazine that quoted Paul L. Dawson, Ph.D., a food-science professor at Clemson University, and he said that you have to be careful as these bags can pick up bacteria such as salmonella from fresh foods. Mold and yeast can thrive in moisture trapped in seams and contaminate unwrapped foods such as fruits and vegetables. This can often cause an upset stomach or even food poisoning-type symptoms so you want to be careful.

Here are a few quick steps you can do to be sure your groceries are clean and you family is healthy:
1. Wrap raw meat, chicken and seafood in disposable plastic bags before putting them into your reusable bag.
2. Regularly launder bags made of cotton, nylon and other washable fabrics. If your tote is unwashable use disinfectant wipes or sprays.
3. After use, turn bags inside out and hang them up to dry
4. Keep your bags separate. For instance, don’t use the same reusable bags to put your groceries in and your sweaty (bacteria filled) gym clothes. Have separate bags for different uses.

Now that you know to take care of your reusable bags, it’s time to go out there are buy some more!

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