Reusable grocery shopping bags are a great way to reduce waste going into our landfills.

But, as wonderful as they are for the environment are they really safe to use over and over to carry the food you and your family eat?

A joint study by researchers from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California found that many reusable grocery bags are contaminated with E. Coli and other Bacteria.

In light of the above study and information gained through that study, it’s important to keep the reusable grocery shopping bags you use as clean as possible. Below are my best tips for doing just that.

The Good News

The good news is that simply washing your bags properly will kill more than 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria.

Washing Reusable Grocery Bags

Insulated Shopping Bags

Wipe down insulated bags inside and out using disinfectant wipes.

Cloth and Canvas Bags

Wash bags after each use following the care instructions for the bag. Washing is imperative. Wash in the hottest water temperature possible with detergent and dry thoroughly in the dryer.

Do not wash bags with any other laundry.

Recycled Plastic Bags

Recycled plastic bags can be washed by hand in warm soapy water and hung to dry. Wash bags thoroughly inside and out paying special attention to seams and handles.

Bags That Are Not Washable

If the bag is NOT machine or hand washable, thoroughly wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe or sanitizing cloth especially along the seams and the handles.

Nylon Bags

Turn nylon bags inside out and wash by hand in warm soapy water or machine wash on the gentle cycle. Allow to air or line dry.

T-Shirt Bags

T-shirt-tote-bag-for-kids at cupcakesandcrinoline.com #t-shirt #totebag #repurpose #recycle

Make your own bags from t-shirts. These bags are super durable and can be thrown in the washing machine and dryer.

For All Bags

Spray all bags thoroughly with a spray such as Lysol.

Allow bags to DRY THOROUGHLY before storing.

*Bags used for dry goods such as canned goods, cleaning products, or paper products can go several times longer between washing.

Properly Label Bags

Be consistent with your bags. Use specific and separate bags for raw meats, seafood, eggs, and produce. This can be easily done by color-coding your bags or using a Sharpie marker to identify each bag’s purpose.

I use recyclable plastic bags for meat, seafood, and eggs so that I am not reusing the bags for these items.

Keep separate bags for non-food items.