coronavirus pandemic

How to Sanitize Your Reusable Bags

Consumer Reports explains the best ways to sanitize your reusable bags to help protect yourself during the coronavirus pandemic

NBCUniversal, Inc.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, a simple task like grocery shopping has become stressful for many people. Some stores in San Diego are rolling out new policies, such as banning reusable bags. If you are still using them, it's more important than ever to keep those reusable bags clean.

Consumer Reports tells you the right way to sanitize them.

How you should clean your bags depends on whether they’re fabric or plastic. But first, you should pick the right bag for what will go inside.

You can put packaged raw meat and poultry in the disposable plastic bags that are still available at grocery stores before you place them in your reusable bag. Keeping either type clean and germ-free is quick and easy.

For fabric bags, you can just toss them in the washing machine. For the reusable plastic bags, wipe them down with a disinfecting wipe or spray, or wash them in warm, soapy water. You’ll want to do this after each use and especially after bringing meat home. Fabric bags can be put in the dryer after washing, but air-dry reusable plastic bags before using them again.

But not every store is letting shoppers use their own bags. Several Trader Joe's stores have banned reusable bags to help protect its employees. The chain has waived the 10 cents per bag fee for its paper bags and is giving them to customers free of charge.

NBC 7 Responds also heard from several shoppers that they were prohibited from using reusable bags at Ralph's as well and were given free plastic bags.

As of April 6, these policies do not appear to be chain-wide. That means some stores are still allowing reusable bags, while others are banning them. Check with your local grocery store to see what their policy is.

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