Reusing Ziploc-type bags? Tips wanted - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What's the best way to wash and reuse Ziploc-type food storage bags? I had a houseguest who bought us a box of baggies, the nice name-brand ones with a double zipper. She used 1-2 while she was here and left the rest for us. They are handy to have around but washing and reusing them seems fiddly. Any tips for getting them clean and drying them out? We're using them mainly for chopped veggies, fruits, and bread and things like that.

thanks!

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#2 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 02:10 PM
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Only wash ones that have NOT had meat in them. Bags that have had meat in them we consider too "dangerous" to reuse.

For things like carrots and other veggies, we just rinse them and put them inside out to dry.

For slightly greasy things (crackers, cookies, cheese) we turn them inside out, wash them in the dish water BEFORE any dishes (we hand wash our dishes), then rinse and let them dry inside out.

Honestly, it's more of a swish-swish than "washing".
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#3 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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i turn them inside out. put a little dab of soap on them and scrub and rinse then. hang dry. If they are really cruddy, greasy then I just throw them out, but generally I don't put greasy stuff in the bags.

reusable bags has something to hang dry but I just find stuff to put them over:

http://www.reusablebags.com/store/pl...56a5c7b9e3fc9d
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#4 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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We do something similar because in general, I've found that the bags don't last that well with vigorous or repeated washing.

Anything with meat goes into the trash (usually with fat/bones/other gross meat garbage).

Anything like fruit or wet veggies just gets a good solid rinse and then is puffed open and laid out to dry. If something had clean, dry green beans in it, I probably wouldn't wash it at all if I wanted to put clean, dry carrots in it. If it had bread, I'd shake out the crumbs and call it good.

Anything a greasy usually gets sent upstairs and holds cat poop until garbage day.

Sometimes I can reuse even some so-so bags by using them to store individually-wrapped foods in the freezer, like tamales that are wrapped in plantain leaves, so even if something from the bag transfers to the leaf, the tamale is fine.

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#5 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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Ditto what all the pp's said.
I wouldn't reuse anything that had raw meat in it. If it was cooked meat (like we save scraps for the doggie) then I might reuse it for the doggie or something like that... but not for us, certainly.

I put a dot of dishsoap in the bag, add hot water seal the top and swish it a bit, then rinse it out really well, and let air dry (it usually takes a couple days to fully dry, but I live in a moist climate)

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#6 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much. Those are exactly the kind of tips I was hoping to get. And I will hang them to dry because we are low on counter space. great idea!

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#7 of 29 Old 05-13-2008, 03:46 AM
 
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I even use the really old bags in my purse in case I need to change a diaper on the go and don't want to smell it all day
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#8 of 29 Old 05-15-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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We rinse/wash just like Llamalluv and then dry them over big spoons standing in the dish drainer.

It works so well that some bags are with us for years. The other day I took a heavy-duty gallon bag out of the freezer that was labeled something like:
cabbage 10-23-04 [crossed out]
zucchini 8-8-06 [crossed out]
spinach 5-30-07 [crossed out]
cranberries 12-22-07
and the really funny thing is, I remember getting that bag (with particularly snazzy pink slider) from a guy at church who asked me if I wanted to take home some leftover crackers. I was startled that he was using such a fancy bag for just crackers and was barely able to stop at "Thank you!" without raving, "This bag will be in my family for generations!" :

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#9 of 29 Old 05-18-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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I wash mine in my dish water, then hang them to dry on my handy plastic bag dryer - aka aloe vera plant on my kitchen sink windowsill! All its spikes work great for holding those bags! I do not reuse meat bags, but they are often reused before they are used for meat!

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#10 of 29 Old 05-19-2008, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
and the really funny thing is, I remember getting that bag (with particularly snazzy pink slider) from a guy at church who asked me if I wanted to take home some leftover crackers. I was startled that he was using such a fancy bag for just crackers and was barely able to stop at "Thank you!" without raving, "This bag will be in my family for generations!" :
The heirloom baggie. I can just see it now.....

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To my daughter I leave my house and all its contents.
To my brother-in-law, who I never really liked that much, I leave some dryer lint.
To my beloved grandson, I leave the fancy pink Ziplock bag"

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#11 of 29 Old 05-19-2008, 02:05 PM
 
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If they have had meat in them don't reuse them.

Personally I would just save them for camping.
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#12 of 29 Old 05-22-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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Like everyone above, we hand wash them and air dry them. If the inside isn't drying well, I place them inside-out on the dish rack.

We've started doing that with all the smallish bags that come our way (bread, tortillas, sturdier produce bags, liners in cracker boxes, etc) and reuse them until they die. Even when they crack at the side and aren't sealing properly anymore, they're still fine for short term uses and when you don't need something to be sealed (crackers for a lunch, etc).

We never have to buy new ones anymore.
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#13 of 29 Old 05-23-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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A friend of mine put a wire curtain rod between the cupboards over her sink. She would clip bags to it to dry along with bibs & cloths she had handwashed. Worked fantastic!

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#14 of 29 Old 05-23-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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We dry ours inside out. We hot-glued a few clothespins to the underside of a shelf in our pantry, so we can turn the bags inside-out and clip them there to dry.

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#15 of 29 Old 05-23-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by blizzard_babe View Post
We dry ours inside out. We hot-glued a few clothespins to the underside of a shelf in our pantry, so we can turn the bags inside-out and clip them there to dry.
OOohh...That is a great idea, I think that is just what I will do. Thanks!!
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#16 of 29 Old 05-28-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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I reuse mine....but in a slightly different way.....sadly they still go to the landfill...but atleast they have one more purpose before they go .....we use them to put dirty diapers in so our house does not stink as badly.
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#17 of 29 Old 05-28-2008, 10:38 PM
 
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Wow- this thread helped me realize how wasteful we are with our baggies, even the fancy kind with the zippers. I am resolving to do better from now on, washing them out if necessary or just dumping the crumbs and reusing.

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#18 of 29 Old 05-29-2008, 07:24 PM
 
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also to make myself feel better about when I do have to throw a baggie away, I changed to flip top bags instead of the ones with the zippers.....I know it is all still plastic and all still goes to the landfill, but I feel the it is not AS hard on the environment if it is thinner plastic (therefore no thick zipper)

Just a personal preferrence
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#19 of 29 Old 05-31-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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I do what the other posters have said. I don't reuse meat bags, but wash them, let them dry, tear off the ziplock and then recycle them with the other plastics bags at the grocerystore.

All of my freezer bags are recycled when I feel that I can't continue to re-use them. I think they fall under the #4 plastics.

HTH
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#20 of 29 Old 06-02-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mags.bubble View Post
I do what the other posters have said. I don't reuse meat bags, but wash them, let them dry, tear off the ziplock and then recycle them with the other plastics bags at the grocerystore.

All of my freezer bags are recycled when I feel that I can't continue to re-use them. I think they fall under the #4 plastics.

HTH
that is clever!
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#21 of 29 Old 06-02-2008, 11:02 PM
 
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I wash and reuse them. I let them soak in the dishwater, then just quickly run the washcloth on them (inside out) and rinse. To dry them I kinda roll them up halfway like you would do to make a cuff on your pants, and then set them on a dish towel on the counter. They dry really well that way.

I've been trying to use more aluminum foil to wrap foods for lunches because that can be recycled more easily than bags I think.

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#23 of 29 Old 06-04-2008, 03:04 PM
 
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At Goodwill I picked up a drainer type-thing for baby bottles. It has 8 tall spikes and it's perfect to get the baggies nice and dry. It takes up little counter space and the "spikes" fold down for easy storage...

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#24 of 29 Old 06-04-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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At Goodwill I picked up a drainer type-thing for baby bottles. It has 8 tall spikes and it's perfect to get the baggies nice and dry. It takes up little counter space and the "spikes" fold down for easy storage...
This is exactly what we use! We use it to dry other small things too (jar lids etc).

We reuse baggies until they fall apart or DH forgets to bring them back home from work. We reuse the ones that he uses to hold lunch meat and such as well. I just wash them more carefully with more soap and hot water. After all, I don't throw his plates or cooking pans away. We just wash them well.

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#25 of 29 Old 07-21-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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After washing/rinsing them, I hang them on my plant leaves. The plants that like to be wet enjoy the extra drops of water.... kind of kooky, but it is a fun game for my LO to take them off when they are dry.
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#26 of 29 Old 07-25-2008, 04:33 AM
 
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Great thread, school starts next week and this is a good reminder to stay focused on reusing! Thanks!
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#27 of 29 Old 07-26-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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I just wash with all the other dishes.. if they've had meat in them I usually do just chuck them, or if they're super gross seaming. But mostly I just wash with soapy waters and rinse out. To dry we hang them on our random silverware and let them air dry. Takes a day or so usually, but it works
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#28 of 29 Old 07-26-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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I try not to use bags, but if somebody gives me something in a bag, it gets reused. Some things (like cheese) get wrapped in wax paper before they go in the bags to make the bags easier to clean and reduce contact with our food.
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#29 of 29 Old 07-27-2008, 01:43 AM
 
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I have a hanging wire produce type basket over the sink. I found some clothes pins that have a hook on them and I use the pins to hold the bags. It doesn't even get really used for the fruits and vegis anymore because they would go bad too quickly sitting directly in the sunlight.

My question is how to move away from using the plastic zip locks all together. I reuse them as much as I can, but sometimes they don't get rinsed right away and then I recycle them. And other days I just hate washing out bags, so they sit until I have a pile to do, then the stuff that was in them might be too old and I worry about bacteria forming. I generally just rinse and swish for most things and use soap when I deem necessary.

I have been looking at the wrap n mats and the happy sacks which both allow you to store snacks and sandwhiches in reusable ways. There is debate over the safety of the PVC in the WNM or the PUL made in China. I have some PUL treated fabric that I was using to experiement with diaper making...do you suppose it is food grade safe?

I realize that some things are still going to be stored in the zip locks, like the stuff in my freezer, but I would like to do away with using them as much as I do, especially since I've done so well with cutting down on plastic grocery sacks by using cloth bags.

Thanks for any input.
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