How to Remove Mold from Your Reusable Grocery Bags
Reusable grocery bags are a great way to reduce waste and be environmentally friendly. However, the damp, dark conditions inside these bags can cause mold to grow. Mold exposure can cause allergic reactions and other health issues, so it’s important to properly clean your reusable bags. Here’s how to safely remove mold from your reusable grocery bags.
Inspect the Bags for Visible Mold
The first step is to inspect the interior and exterior of the bags for any visible mold growth. Mold can appear in different colors like black, green, or white. It may look fuzzy or have spots. Pay particular attention to folds, seams, and bottom corners where moisture is likely to collect. Feel the material to detect any stiff, damp, or crunchy patches which could indicate mold. Sniff the bags – a musty, earthy smell means mold is present.
Wash the Bags
If you find mold, you’ll need to disinfect the reusable grocery bags. Washing the bags in the washing machine is the easiest method. Use hot water and add detergent. For heavy mold growth, add 1 cup of bleach. Use the sanitizing cycle if your machine has one. Tumble dry the bags on high heat – the heat further kills mold spores and dries the fabric.
You can also hand wash the bags in hot, soapy water. Add 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water. Let the bags soak for 10 minutes before scrubbing moldy areas and rinsing clean. Hang the bags outside or tumble dry on high heat to fully dry.
Clean Non-washable Bags
Some reusable grocery bags have cardboard bottoms or cannot be submerged in water. For these, mix a spray solution of 1 cup bleach per gallon of water. Spray or sponge the solution onto all bag surfaces and crevices. Let sit for 10 minutes before wiping clean with a rag. Allow to completely air dry.
You can also use undiluted white vinegar – its high acidity kills mold. Spray vinegar onto the bags, let sit 10 minutes, then wipe off.
Prevent Mold Growth
To stop mold recurring on your reusable grocery bags, it’s important to fully dry out the bags between uses. Don’t store damp bags balled up. Instead, hang open or unzip any inner liners to allow air circulation. Between shopping trips, store folded bags in a dry spot.
Clean bags regularly – wash or disinfect every couple months. Avoid putting damp, perishable foods directly into the bags. Use produce bags or plastic bins to separate food from the fabric. With proper care, your reusable grocery bags can stay free of mold.