Keeping Your Reusable Shopping Bags Clean


Keeping bags clean

Are you finally starting to remember to bring your bags? Great, but don’t forget to clean them, too.

In 2010, researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California tested 84 reusable bags and found that half of them carried some form of coliform bacteria, including E. coli. In that same study, 97 percent of those interviewed said they never wash or bleach their reusable bags.

And just think: If you never wash your bags and you store them in the trunk of your car, especially during the hot summer months, you’re essentially creating an incubator that will encourage bacteria growth.

Some bags are easier to clean than others. Cloth or canvas bags can be thrown in the washing machine, but many of the reusable bags sold today are coated with plastic and are meant to be wiped clean or are made with a fabric or material that is not machine washable. Last summer, after realizing that I’d never cleaned any of the 30 or so reusable bags I had collected over the years, I set out to give them a good cleaning. I pulled out the canvas bags to machine wash, which wasn’t any more difficult than regular laundry, but because I knew that I’d used the other bags to carry everything from whole chickens to clothes I was taking to the thrift store, I wanted to clean them with more than a rag and spray bottle of cleaning liquid.

In an effort to keep the bathroom floor from getting sopping wet, I ended up filling a kiddie pool in the backyard with water and more antibacterial soap that I probably needed. It was a hassle, to say the least, so much so that since, I’ve used only canvas bags to carry groceries. (That is, when I’ve remembered to bring them. I’m as forgetful as anyone, but as the ordinance start date approaches, I’m getting better about grabbing them from the pantry on the way out.)

Some of the shoppers I talked to for this story preferred other kinds of reusable bags because of their square bottoms, which are easier to pack, or for aesthetic reasons, but for my money (and family’s health), if I can’t wash the bag in the washing machine, I probably won’t use it to carry food.

To further avoid accidentally poisoning someone in your family, consider using the same reusable bag for meat and fish on every grocery trip and another specifically for fresh produce. If you clearly label the bags and point them out to the person helping bag your groceries at the store, you can help avoid cross-contamination. Wash the meat and produce bags more frequently than the bags that carry the goods that are already packaged.

Also, take advantage of the so-called product or noncheckout bags — the lightweight bags found in the bakery, bulk, produce and meat sections that add an extra layer of food safety protection. These bags are exempt in Austin’s bag ordinance, and in recent years, many retailers have added a roll of these bags near the poultry, whose packaging is notoriously leaky.

Some bags, including those made with nylon or nonwoven polypropylene, can be washed on cold in the washing machine’s gentle cycle but, depending on the material, can break down quickly if run through the machine. (Don’t put them in the dryer or they’ll really fall apart.) You could spray them with an antibacterial spray, such as Lysol, but I’d rather use sturdier bags that I can actually wash to get clean.

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Attention Wrinkle Cream Manufacturers

Wrinkle Creams.  At a certain age which is different for everyone, but generally in the late 30’s and 40’s etc, we start looking to wrinkle creams to attempt to capture the reflection we saw in the mirror only yesterday it seems.  We search the internet, we ask our friends, we watch Dr. Oz to see which concoctions will provide us the miracle we are looking for to turn back the hands of time.  Then, it happens.  We make our purchases and take them home.  We gleefully open the bag and remove the boxes and bottles of youth.  We want to make sure we do it exactly right so we look for the instructions which we intend to follow to perfections.  And then, right before us, is something that looks like this:







Can you read that? I bet you can’t if you are old enough to need wrinkle cream!  I bet you are trying desperately to enlarge it, take a picture of it, find a magnifying glass – of course after squinting your very best to see it!  MY POINT EXACTLY!


  • I need a wrinkle cream
  • I most likely also can’t see as well as I did in my 20’s
  • If I am to use your “Miracle cream” I need to be able to READ THE DIRECTIONS!
  • If your intention is for us to squint so much that we make more wrinkles…… mission accomplished

Ok, I’ve said enough.  Your turn.


What is it about fear that seems to paralyze us?  Why do we let an emotion stop us from living and making good choices for ourselves?

I have recently watched fear work it’s evil magic and literally seen it weave it’s ugly web around someone I dearly love entrapping them in to a state of denial and watching them hold themselves hostage to a situation that is not healthy.


Jesus told us over an over in scripture, “fear not”.  Why do you think He needed to repeat himself?  Because fear is the enemy’s way of keeping us from fully living God’s perfect plan.  The truth is that fear is not only an emotion but a spirit of evil.  There is good fear.  It is fear of the Lord which means to honor and respect and reverence Him.  The fear that comes from the enemy is like a warm blanket gently covering you.  It seems comfortable and easy at first and then the blanket begins to smother you and your are bound and helpless.

Scripture often talks about fear melting hearts.  There are no truer words.  Our heart (our center of life, the symbol of courage) is at the mercy of fear if we let it.  When we accept a fear and resist to challenge it, our courage and our very life melts away.

I am in prayer today for my loved one and for myself and everyone.  That when fear tries to come and steal our life we will stand up and declare that we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of a spirit of POWER and LOVE and a SOUND MIND.  These are the weapons God has given us to fight AND WIN against the spirit of fear.  It is a war and I pray we all fight and live a life of excellence and joy.


Ok – this is a warning. I’m about to share an opinion.

It seems that there is not a day that goes by that I am driving or with someone who is driving and either we make a mistake or another driver makes a mistake.  Tempers flair and I can at least testify that words are spoken that are less than kind.

The fact is, we have NO IDEA who the other person is in that vehicle and what they may be going through.  We just “assume” they are “a jerk” or “an idiot” and “malicious” or “stupid”.  And the other drivers, I am quite sure think the same of us. But think of this next time someone pulls in front of you or veers in your lane etc…  Maybe, just maybe they are like just the few people I am about to mention that I know personally including myself. Maybe  they just lost a loved one.  Maybe they are going through the physical fight of their life.  Maybe they are so exhausted keeping a sick baby.  Maybe they are doing everything they can just to keep it together mentally.

Today, I woke up dizzy and disoriented from a physical battle I am fighting and I had just left the chiropractor and was just trying to get in the other lane so I could get some coffee for my husband who is also facing a physical battle.  I turn my signal on and have to pull in front of a vehicle to get where I need to be.  This person speeds up and gets on my bumper and acts like he is going to hit my car.  REALLY?  Have you never made a mistake in your life?  Are you so self absorbed that you think I am intentionally trying to cause an accident?  So, you are mad and zoom around me – showing me what a man you are and I’m left in a puddle of tears because I’m just trying to survive this day.  I’m sorry – OK?  I just hope that someday when you are going through something difficult you will show a little kindness when someone does something wrong.

Well, I also have to say to myself as I wipe my tears that I will consider that he isn’t just an a-hole, but maybe he has had a hard morning.  Maybe he’s late for a job interview that he really needs.  I don’t know what he is going through either.   So today I choose to let it go and get where I need the best and safest way I know how and cry and scream if I need to, but make no other judgements other than I will try better next time.  How about you??