How to Store Reusable Bags: 4 Clever Tips

Reusable bags are an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic bags. However, improperly storing reusable bags can lead to mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. Follow these clever tips to keep your reusable bags clean, dry, and ready to use.

Invest in High-Quality Bags

The material your reusable bags are made from impacts how you should care for them. Opt for bags made from durable, machine-washable fabrics like cotton, hemp, or polyester blends. Avoid bags made from canvas, which is prone to mildew. Choosing bags with taut stitching and reinforcements at the handles will also improve longevity.

When shopping, steer clear of bargain bins filled with cheap reusable bags. The small upfront investment in better quality bags will reward you with years of use.

Wash Bags Regularly

Get into the habit of machine washing your reusable bags at least once a month. Wash them more frequently if you regularly carry meats, dairy products, or other moist foods. Use hot water and add bleach or vinegar to the wash cycle to kill germs.

If your bags are not machine washable, spot clean by hand using warm water and soap. Target stain-prone areas like the bottoms and handles. Allow bags to air dry completely before storing to prevent mildew.

Don’t Store Bags Balled Up

After unloading groceries, your instinct may be to wad up your reusable bags and stuff them away. However, storing bags balled up traps moisture and debris inside, creating perfect conditions for mold and bacteria to multiply.

Instead, lightly fold or roll bags before storage. Storing bags open allows air circulation to keep them fresher for longer.

Use Breathable Storage Bins

Designate a storage spot for your reusable bags near your entryway, pantry, or in your car trunk. Store bags loosely in breathable cotton or mesh bins, or hang them on hooks. Avoid sealing them in plastic bins or bags.

Opt for wide, shallow bins that allow bags to lay flat. Ensure bins are washable and non-porous so they don’t hold onto dirt or moisture.

Additional Tips

  • Shake out bags after use to remove crumbs and debris.
  • Consider designating certain bags for meats and produce to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Let bags air dry completely before storing if they get wet.
  • Repair small holes or tears to prevent further damage during washing.
  • Discard bags that develop stubborn odors or stains even after washing.

With some simple care and maintenance, your reusable bags can last for hundreds of uses. Implementing these clever storage tips will extend the lifespan of your bags and keep them clean and fresh. Making reusable bags a sanitary and sustainable part of your shopping routine is easy with just a little effort.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you wash reusable bags?

Reusable bags should be washed at least once a month, and more frequently if you often carry moist foods like meats and produce. Washing regularly kills bacteria and prevents odors or stains from developing.

Where is the best place to store reusable bags at home?

The best storage places are near entryways, in the pantry, or in your car trunk for easy access. Use breathable bins or hooks so bags can air dry. Avoid sealing in plastic bags or bins.

Can you put reusable bags in the washing machine?

Yes, most reusable bags can go directly in the washing machine. Use hot water and add bleach or vinegar to sanitize. Refer to care instructions for bags not machine washable.

Why shouldn’t you store reusable bags balled up?

Storing bags balled up traps moisture, dirt, and debris inside. This creates ideal conditions for mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. Fold or roll bags loosely instead.

How do you get rid of odors and stains on reusable bags?

Wash bags regularly in hot water with bleach or vinegar added to the cycle. Soak heavily soiled bags before washing. If stains or odors persist after washing, it’s best to replace the bags.


Implementing these four clever tips for storing reusable bags will extend their lifespan and keep them clean for you and your family. Invest in quality bags, wash regularly, store open and breathable, and promptly air dry if wet. With proper care for your reusable bags, you can feel great about reducing waste and plastic consumption. Use these tips to keep your bags fresh and eco-friendly for years to come.