Consumer Watch: Cleaning your reusable shopping bags

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Federal health officials have recommended people have their groceries delivered for the next few weeks as the nation enters a pivotal time in the fight against COVID-19, but if that's just not an option for you, it's important that you clean your reusable shopping bags.

Experts say cleaning your reusable bags is important, and not just to keep the coronavirus away.

"Some people may not realize, but reusable bags can get pretty dirty. Bacteria and viruses like E. coli, Salmonella and norovirus can contaminate the bags, and that could make you sick," said Sana Mujahid with Consumer Reports.

Consider which type of bag is best for the different groceries you're bringing home.

"I tend to use fabric bags for canned goods, fruits and vegetables. And I use reusable plastic bags for items that can leak, like milk, meat, poultry and frozen goods," Mujahid said.

You can put raw meat in the disposable plastic bags that are still available at grocery stores before you place them in your own reusable bag.

Cleaning the bags is easy. You just have to remember to do it.

"For fabric bags, you can just toss them in the laundry. For the reusable plastic bags, wipe them down with a disinfecting wipe or spray or by washing them in warm soapy water. You'll want to do this preferably after each use, and especially when bringing meat home," Mujahid said.

When the bags are clean, make sure they are all the way dry before you stow them away.

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