Taste of Home
Between packing lunch for the kids (and maybe yourself) and storing leftovers, you probably go through a lot of zip-top bags during the average week. That seems like a waste, and we can’t help but wonder if those plastic bags really have to be thrown away after every use…or if it’s possible to wash and reuse them.
Yes, you can reuse zip-top bags!
The verdict? You can absolutely use zip-top bags more than once, as long as you wash them properly. One easy way to do that is by sticking them in the dishwasher (just make sure they are turned inside out so that the soap and water cleans the dirty side). Then place them on the top rack and run the dishwasher as normal.
You can also wash your zip-top bags by hand. Again, start by turning them inside out. Then use warm, soapy water to clean. It’s important to stay away from super hot water because that can impact the plastic and increase the chance that BPA chemicals will spread to your food. And make sure you let the bags dry completely to avoid any mold or mildew.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the quality of the bag will affect whether or not you’re able to reuse it. Freezer bags tend to be thicker and sturdier, which makes them better candidates for multiple uses than a snack size bag, for example. Check out these other household items you didn’t know you could reuse.
The one exception
If you have used a zip-top bag for raw meat (like for marinating steak or just simply storing extra chicken), do not reuse it. You would run the risk of cross contamination, which is a big no-no, so toss those bags in the trash. This applies to greasy food or food that leaves residue that can’t be removed completely, as well. Here are 15 more things you shouldn’t recycle.
By learning how to properly reuse your zip-top bags, you can cut your waste in the kitchen in half (or even more, if you’re able to get more than two uses out of a bag) and save money while you save the environment. Remember: Reduce, reuse, recycle. Just make sure you sanitize properly first! Next, check out these 30 ways to recycle just about anything.