Keeping Reusable Shopping Bags Sanitized and Germ-Free during COVID-19 Outbreak

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, simple tasks like grocery shopping has become stressful for many people.

If you opt for reusable cloth or plastic bags, it's more important than ever to keep them clean. Consumer Reports reveals the right way to clean and sanitize your bags.

Maybe you've never given it a second thought. But think about how often reusable grocery bags get used.

Now think about how often they get cleaned, especially in this time of the Coronavirus pandemic.

But COVID-19 on the bag isn't the main thing you need to worry about.

"Some people may not realize, but reusable bags can get pretty dirty," says Sana Mujahid from Consumer Reports. "Bacteria and viruses like E. Coli, Salmonella and norovirus can contaminate the bags and that could make you sick."

The solution is simple: Clean your bags, but the technique depends on the type of bag, fabric or plastic. But first, pick the right bag for what will go inside.

"I tend to use fabric bags for canned goods, fruits and vegetables. And I use reusable plastic bags for items that can leak, like milk, meat, poultry and frozen goods," says Mujahid.

You can put the raw meat and poultry in the disposable plastic bags that are still available at grocery stores before you place them in your reusable bag. And keeping either type clean and germ free is quick and easy.

"For fabric bags, you can just toss them in the laundry. For the reusable plastic bags, wipe them down with a disinfecting wipe or spray or by washing them in warm soapy water. You'll want to do this preferably after each use, and especially when bringing meat home," Mujahid says.

Finally, make sure to air-dry reusable plastic bags before using them again.

Consumer Reports also recommends rotating your reusable bags to help them last even longer.
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