Reusable food wrap such as beeswax wraps have become a popular sustainable alternative to disposable plastic wrap. However, just like other food storage materials, reusable wraps can develop mold if food particles get trapped in the fabric. Mold can be unhealthy, so it’s important to learn how to clean mold off properly.
What Causes Mold to Grow on Reusable Food Wraps
Mold is a type of fungus that grows from microscopic spores that land on suitable surfaces. Mold spores are present in most environments and need moisture and organic material to grow. Reusable food wraps provide ideal conditions for mold when:
- Bits of food get embedded in the fabric
- Wraps stay damp between uses
- Wraps are stored in humid environments
Once mold starts growing, the spores spread quickly to form fuzzy splotches.
Dangers of Mold on Reusable Wraps
Ingesting or touching mold can be harmful, so you want to kill and remove all of it from reusable wraps. Potential dangers include:
- Allergic reactions – Mold spores can cause runny nose, red eyes, sore throat, wheezing, and skin rashes in allergic individuals.
- Respiratory problems – Mold spores irritate lungs and can worsen conditions like asthma.
- Illness – Some molds produce mycotoxins that can cause headaches, fever, and diarrhea if ingested.
So don’t just ignore the mold! Take action to thoroughly clean your wraps.
Cleaning Techniques for Removing Mold
Several methods can kill mold and remove it from reusable food wraps. The most effective strategy is to use a disinfecting cleaner followed by thoroughly rinsing the wrap.
Using a cleaner containing bleach or vinegar will disinfect wraps and prevent mold from recurring:
- Bleach solution – Mix 1 tbsp bleach per 1 cup water. Submerge wraps and soak for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Bleach may fade wraps over time.
- Vinegar solution – Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Soak wraps for 30 minutes. Rinse well.
For stubborn spots, you may need to scrub with baking soda or a brush in addition to a disinfectant:
- Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Gently rub paste onto mold with a toothbrush. Rinse when done scrubbing.
- Use a clean toothbrush, sponge, or dish scrub brush to vigorously scrub mold. Avoid abrasive scrub pads.
The UV rays in sunlight kill mold. Place wraps outside in direct sunlight for several hours, flipping periodically. This works best for small areas of mold.
Preventing Mold on Reusable Food Wraps
Stop mold before it starts! Here are tips to keep your wraps free of mold:
- Dry thoroughly – After washing, squeeze out excess moisture and let wraps air dry completely before storage.
- Avoid damp storage – Store cleanly washed wraps in breathable containers in low humidity environments.
- Freeze wraps – Freezing kills mold. Occasionally freeze wraps between uses.
- Replace wraps – Discard and replace wraps that are very stained or worn out.
With proper care and cleaning techniques, you can continue enjoying the benefits of reusable food wrap for a long time before needing to replace them. Check frequently for any mold growth and take quick action to clean it before it spreads.