Cleaning Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags

January 10, 2020

Why is Powerizer Writing a Blog About Grocery Bags?

The entire world is trying to halt the adverse environmental effects of the use of plastic bags. In Somalia, the bags have been nicknamed "The Hargeysa flower," which float around and get stuck in the shrubs where livestock eat leaves and mistakenly ingest plastic instead. China describes the fight against plastic bags as "White Pollution" and has worked to reduce use by at least 50%. Kenya has the most stringent laws against plastic bags, which include imprisonment if found importing or manufacturing the bags. 

The recycling efforts of these bags are not as simple as it sounds. Most of them are made either of bioplastics or biodegradable plastics. When mixed together at the processing plant, they can cause the machines to malfunction. In San Jose, California, they reported the costs of repairing the recycling machines are upwards of $1 Million per year. These bags are meant for convenience, used on average for 14-20-minutes, then tossed away. Somehow they end up in oceans, fields, and water streams, not just landfills. It's estimated to have killed thousands of whales, turtles, and seals that become trapped in them or die of complications from ingesting plastic, mistaken as food.

In Colorado, the state has imposed a charge that begins in July 2020. .10 cents will be collected as a fee, not a tax. The payment will be split between the state and shop owners to fund and offset the expense to implement the new bag program. In the article "Eww, reusable grocery bags' germs can make you sick," written by Barrett Newkirk, he shares the path of contamination as it spreads throughout the store. They found the shopping cart, commonly known as the child carrier seat is the most contaminated area in the whole grocery store. Handy disinfectant wipes help but don't really disinfect the entire cart. So today, we wanted to share some tips and tricks for keeping your reusable bags clean and in regular rotation. 

  1. Identify and label specific bags for transporting meat, poultry, and produce from the store to avoid cross-contamination. 
  2. When removing items from these containers in the home, place them into a clean sink, never directly onto the counter and wash them immediately. 
  3. Wash your bags after each use to reduce cross-contamination.
  4. Stores are still offering produce bags to wrap meats and poultry in, use them if you notice your meat is leaking. Customers aren't usually charged for these bags.
  5. Grocery bags should be placed in the category of your dirtiest laundry. Washing with a spray cleaner is not enough to remove all dirt and bacteria that settle in the seams of the bag. They should be hand or machine-cleaned in hot water with a disinfectant.
  6. Any detergent or cleaner used to clean your bag must be rinsed clean so that lingering residues are removed from the fibers.
  7. Consider installing a rubber trunk liner in your car to be sure you are providing a protective barrier from fluids spilling onto your car interior. This makes cleaning up spills easier.
  8. Never store your shopping bags in your hot vehicle such as the trunk. Warmer temperatures in the summer months will provide optimal conditions for bacteria to multiply quickly. 

Cleaning Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags

Shopping carts are pretty nasty. When left outside they can be exposed to bird poop but inside contaminants like blood from meat spills, and other bacteria are just as bad. Check out this video to find out what else was found on shopping carts. The bags that sit in them should be treated like the dirtiest laundry you have.

So when it comes to cleaning them, we advise first preparing a concentrated mixture of Powerizer to pretreat stains and spills. Next, place them in a soak bucket before placing them in the washer.  Powerizer is an environmentally friendly detergent that contains no fillers and no dyes and dries with no lingering scent. 

Cleaning Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags

Here is what you will need to complete the process of cleaning your reusable bags with Powerizer Complete.

Cleaning Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags Cleaning Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags

1. Powerizer Complete to pretreat spills and wash away dirt.

2. Microfiber Cleaning Cloth to wipe and dry as needed.

3. Dish scrubber to help scrub and remove debris that can get trapped into the seams of the bags.

4. 16 oz squeeze bottle to make a concentrated mixture.

Start by making a concentrated solution using a 16 oz breath tip bottle then one (1) full scoop of Powerizer Complete to dissolve in hot water. A real clean freak move is to store a bottle in the three most common areas for everyday cleaning, under the kitchen and bathroom sink, and near the washing machine.

Next, gather all your bags and turn them inside out to thoroughly remove any debris. If necessary, use a dish scrubber to lift any crumbs from the seams of the bags. Rinse each bag using the spray hose at the kitchen sink or the laundry room basin if you have one. 

Apply the concentrated mixture to interior seams of the bags and let it sit a few minutes to allow the solution to penetrate the fibers before placing the bags into the washing machine or a soak. 

If you decide to soak them in a separate container, use one (1) scoop of Powerizer to every, One (1) gallon of water. The soak will allow the stain lifting laundry detergent to break down and dissolve blood, and other proteins such as berry juices. These stain-fighting powers work for up to eight (8) hours. 

Finally, to achieve the best results in the washer, use one (1) scoop of Powerizer and pour it directly into the drum. Wash in the hottest temperature with a smaller load setting if possible. Most machines will automatically adjust to use less water and, by default increases the detergent concentration. 

Although Powerizer makes no scientific claims for disinfecting it does contain sodium percarbonate an important ingredient found only in powder detergents that use hydrogen peroxide (oxygen bleach) to remove stains and odors.  The plant-based enzymes in the formula are one of the most important and natural ways to achieve targeted stain and odor removal.  It also contains a supercharged ingredient that combines with the hydrogen peroxide that is known for its disinfectant properties.  To complete the cleaning process the surfactant for cleaning helps to suspend the dirt in the water so it rinses clean.  Powerizer Complete cleans everything dirty even your shopping bags, so give it a try. 

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