How to Properly Reuse Storage Bags

Storage bags, chances are you have them at home and lots of them. They are very useful, help contain messes and make putting things away easy. We could go through lots of them fast and be wasteful but we don’t have to, we can reuse them.

To reuse them even if not to hold foods, I suggest you wash them first. To wash them well you need to turn the bag completely inside out (make sure the corners are completely out) and wash with warm and soapy water. I use a baby bottle dryer to dry storage bags but you could also use a pencil holder with some pens to hold your bags up to dry.

If you are thinking to reuse your storage bags for food storage keep in mind this: never re-use bags that have kept raw or even cooked meat or eggs in them. The risk for salmonella contamination is too high. If would like to avoid this risk altogether there are many ways you can give a storage bag a second life. Here are some ideas:

  1. Use as a pastry bag
  2. Use as a travel toiletry bag. The TSA has made using storage bags to carry toiletries a requirement now.
  3. Keep toy parts together
  4. Keep puzzle pieces together
  5. Keep electronics parts and manuals together.
  6. Keep in your gym/pool bag to carry wet items
  7. Make a travel fun kit for your kids to keep them entertained: put small toys, crayons, small pieces of paper.
  8. Keep in your diaper bag to hold stinky diapers

By reusing storage bags not only are you saving money but you are also being less wasteful of your resources. Being frugal is not only about saving our resources but also about being resourceful with what we already have.

Do you reuse your storage bags? What do you use them for?

Photo by hfabulous.



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By , on Nov 20, 2008
Mercedes blogs at Common Sense with Money (and is also a fellow Eleven Mom). If you enjoy this post, please consider subscribing to her RSS feed.

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{12 Comments}

  1. shae:

    I use them to bring my lunch to work. They take up less space in the fridge, and it’s easier to seperate different items. I also use them to store foods, like sunflower seeds. I do prefer storage containers though, they’re easier to wash and dry.

  2. I do wash and reuse plastic bags. I hang them on the closeline inside by my dryer (it is short.) My moms thinks I am crazy.

    I also am an all cloth house, but my mom hates it when she comes over, so she buys me paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, etc. It is sort of our private joke now.

  3. Marci:

    Anything that had something dry in it, like nuts or crackers or sandwiches, I just throw in the freezer til I need them. I have one space on the door for them.

    Anything wet, I’ll wash out first, dry, and stick back in the drawer. Mostly I reuse them for the same thing I used them for in the first place.

    I also use a lot of tupperware – found at garage sales – and those are my usual fare for lunches. The ziplocks are more for produce freezing in the freezer, from the garden stuff, so all the air can be squished out, or for one way trips – like the grandkids’ snacks-to-go.

    Any plastic bag or waxed bag is saved by me :)

  4. Lisa:

    I couldn’t have preached it any better. It seems like a small almost useless thing, but it can really pay off (even though I scored a bunch of boxes for 20 cents last week).

  5. Kari:

    I re-use bags to pick up dog poops. No problem throwing them away after that!

  6. Michelle H.:

    I’ve washed out freezer bags for several years. I don’t wash out the thinner sandwich bags. I’d never thought of using the waxed paper from cereal bags – that’s a good idea! Saves money and less waste to put in landfills.
    Blessings!

  7. Marj McClendon:

    I have done this for many years. My kids are 40 and 37 and they remember it. LOL I just use them like normal since they are clean.

    I also water rinse the waxed paper bag when cereal is empty. Why buy it if you are cereal eaters.

  8. Susy:

    It would actually be better to replace them with containers which last much longer. I switched to all glass containers, in efforts to reduce exposure to BPA.

  9. Dawn:

    I reuse all kinds of bags. The plastic open ended ones that come on bread and things I like to reuse for taking sandwiches or other dry items in my lunch – reusing the twist tie too. Like Liana, I try to use reusable containers, but I do like bags for certain things.

  10. Hilda:

    Although I have started using plastic and glass containers for storage, I still keep a few ziplock bags around the house. I rarely use them but when I do, I wash and dry them too to be reused over and over. Only when they’re really ratty looking do I tossed them out.

  11. I started washing plastic bags (ziploc-type and grocery store veggie bags) about 2 years ago and have really seen the benefits. I barely have to buy bags anymore! I have a tiered basket hanging over my sink, and I use binder clips to attach the drying bags to it so they drip over the sink. Every day I wash a few when I am doing dishes.

    Another great re-use of ones that may have small holes in them is for crushing nuts for baking. Stick the nuts in and smack them with a meat tenderizer. After that I feel okay about throwing the bag in the trash.

    The first commenter mentioned switching to glass, which I support in many cases for food storage, but it’s not always practical. I’d rather have a ziploc bag fall out of a freezer or off a counter than a glass jar, and the bags weigh far less and take up less space if you’re planning to tote them.

  12. vilkri:

    Have you talked to the lady of my house? Is that the person who gave you this idea? – This blog sounds just like my household.

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