How to Dry Reusable Plastic Bags


Plastic and silicone bags are pretty durable, so it’s important to keep them clean before you use them again. While most plastic and silicone bags can be hand washed or cleaned in a dishwasher, they need to be dried out completely to prevent any mold or mildew from building up later on. To keep the bags sanitary, use a drying rack or clothesline to air-dry them completely.


[Edit]Cleaning out the Reusable Bags

  1. Throw out any bags that were used to store raw meats or known allergens. Check the label of your bag, or try to recall what it was used to store previously. If your bags came into direct contact with raw poultry, meat, or any other possible source of foodborne illnesses, be sure to discard them completely. The same rule applies to bags that held possible allergens for your household.[1]
    Dry Reusable Plastic Bags Step 1.jpg
    • For instance, if someone in your household is allergic to peanuts, you’d want to throw out a reusable plastic bag that once held peanut brittle.
    • Damaged or torn bags also shouldn’t be reused.
  2. Flip your bags so they’re inside-out. Find the bottom edge of your plastic bag and push it upwards, pulling it past the zipper or seal. Double-check the edges and corners of the bag to ensure that they’re completely inside-out so you can clean the plastic surface more thoroughly.[2]

  3. Fill a basin with cool or lukewarm water and a pea-sized amount of dish soap. Pour lukewarm or cool water into a sink, basin, bucket, or other small container. Next, take the dish soap of your choice and pour a tiny amount into the basin. Use your hand or a long utensil to stir and agitate the water until suds form.[3]
    Dry Reusable Plastic Bags Step 3.jpg
  4. Use a sponge to clean off the inside of the bag. Dip a clean sponge into the sudsy water and begin wiping down the plastic bag. Focus on any big spills or messes sticking to the plastic, then move your sponge around the rest of the plastic surface. As you wipe, try to get the bag completely spotless.[4]

  5. Rinse off the surface with cool or lukewarm water. Wring out your sponge over the sink or container, then soak it with clean tap water. Remove the bag from the sudsy basin, then wipe down the surface with the clean sponge. Try to get rid of any visible suds until the bag is completely clean.[5]

    • You don’t want to leave any suds on the outside of your bag, or the soapy residue could rub off onto whatever you store in the bag later.
  6. Wash your bags in the dishwasher if you don’t want to hand wash them. Arrange your plastic bags over the racks in your dishwasher, then set the machine to a regular cycle. Don’t choose a heated dry setting or a cycle that uses hot water, as these could damage and melt your plastic bags.[6]
    Dry Reusable Plastic Bags Step 6.jpg
    • If your bags are still wet when they come out of the dishwasher, you can always air-dry them!
    • You can use whatever dish detergent you have on hand; however, keep in mind that gentler detergents may help your plastic bags to last longer.

[Edit]Air-Drying Your Bags

  1. Turn your plastic bags right-side-out. Push the bottom edge of your bag downward so it goes past the zipper or seal. Next, use your fingers to press along the edges and corners of the bag to ensure that it’s back to normal. At this point, examine the item to make sure that the wet portions of plastic are along the inside of the bag.[7]

  2. Arrange your damp plastic bags over a bag drying rack. Place your homemade or store-bought bag drying rack on a countertop, table, or other flat surface in your living space. If you don’t have a drying rack on hand, look for any spokes, hooks, or other sturdy objects that you could drape the bag over. You could also place a chopstick in a drinking glass and drape your bag over that.[8]

    • For instance, a mini birdhouse could work as an impromptu drying rack.[9]
    • You can purchase bag drying racks online. These items can be wooden or metal, and are composed of multiple spokes that you can drape your plastic bags over.
    • This method works best for Ziploc-style plastic bags. You can try drying your silicone bags this way, but a dishwasher is probably more efficient.[10]
  3. Place your bags on a clothesline if you don’t have a drying rack handy. Arrange the bottom seam of your damp plastic bags on an outdoor clothesline, then secure the top of the bag into place with a clothespin. Only clip 1 side of the bag onto the clothesline so it can stay open and air-dry completely.[11]
    Dry Reusable Plastic Bags Step 9.jpg
    • If you don’t have a lot of room outside, you can set up an indoor clothesline instead.
    • You can line-dry both plastic bags and reusable grocery bags.
  4. Wait until the inside of your bags are dry to the touch. Check on your bags on an hourly or daily basis to see if they’re dry. If you see any leftover moisture or water droplets in your bags, leave them on the rack or clothesline for several more hours. Leave your reusable plastic or grocery bags be until they’re fully dry to the touch.[12]
    Dry Reusable Plastic Bags Step 10.jpg
    • If you use your bags when they’re still damp, you could be setting yourself up for unwanted mold or mildew later.
  5. Wipe out your bag with a microfiber cloth if it’s still damp. If your bag is taking too much time to air-dry, place a folded microfiber cloth inside. Seal or zip the end of the bag, then shake and squeeze the cloth inside of the plastic. Continue doing this for around 30 seconds, or until the inside of the bag is completely dry. Then, you can remove the cloth and use the bag again![13]

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Drying rack (optional)
  • Bag dryer (optional)
  • Clothesline (optional)
  • Clothespins (optional)



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