Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Your Reusable Bag May Be Filled With Bacteria

What do you have in your reusable shopping bag today? Some bread, milk, fruits and veggies? Oh and maybe some lovely E. coli too! Wait, what?!? Yes, your cute bag may also be filled with some unwanted bacteria.

A new study done by the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University (California) found that 97% of people do not wash their reusable bags. Unfortunately I am one of them and really I should know better. It is kind of a no brainer I suppose, but yet I never even thought about it.

This study looked at 84 bags and more than half of them contained coliform and heterotrophic bacteria and E. coli was present in 12% of the bags. Don't worry too much though, the strains that they found aren't likely to make anyone sick.

So obviously we all need to make a point to wash our bags. Make sure you check the manufacturer's washing instructions before you wash so that you don't ruin any bags. I think at a minimum you should wash your bags once a month. My goal is going to be every other week.


  1. Thanks for the stats! I am also guilty of not washing my reusable bags, well...that is until now! :)

  2. Wow every other week seems like a lot, for me that would be after only 2 trips to the grocery store. I do agree I need to wash mine though but maybe every 2 months. I don't put raw meat in mine so I figure nothing horrid is growing in them?

  3. Great post!! Thanks for the reminder that I really need to wash my reusable bags more. I think about, but then I never do it. It's on my to do list for tomorrow:)

  4. Yeah I guess twice a month seems like a lot. But in addition to going to the grocery store once a week I also use the bags at either the CSA or Farmer's market every weekend and in that case I am putting produce right in there. So I figure I better wash them a little more often. And I'll hang them out on the deck to dry.

    Julie - I think about it too but never do it. So now they are waiting next o the washer and will be washed this morning. :)

  5. My hubby saw an article about this almost a year ago...he called me totally freaked out.

    I told him, "Why do you think I have TWO sets of Envirosax? I wash them all the time."


  6. That's the cool thing about those bags you use (the bagnesia ones)- you picked a washable bag so you can just throw it in the laundry with your other stuff and then hang it up to dry in a few minutes!


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