How to Quickly Disinfect Reusable Shopping Bags

Did you know that shopping carts at the grocery store are particularly bad in terms of harboring bacteria? Also, “about half of reusable shopping bags have faecal bacteria in them” according to a recent article on BBC news.

I’m all for using reusable shopping bags when buying groceries. I use my cloth grocery bags for just about everything now, (although I’m going to start purposing some just for groceries and others for non-grocery use after reading the BBC article mentioned above.)

I love how one family can make a difference by using reusable shopping bags. In one year, the average family goes through about 720 plastic grocery bags! So using reusable shopping bags can keep 720 plastic bags out of landfills, which reduces oil consumption and keeps non-biodegradable trash out of the landfill.

However, the majority of reusable shopping bag owners do not wash or disinfect their bags in any way. Thus, a high percentage of not-good bacteria is found in reusable shopping bags.

Here’s a Quick Tip to Disinfect Reusable Shopping Bags

Liberally spray your reusable shopping bags with disinfecting spray with tea tree oil to quickly disinfect between washings after a store trip.

You can throw your reusable shopping bags in the washing machine on cold on a hand wash cycle and hang them to dry as one solution, but in between washings, I like to give mine a quick spritz with my homemade disinfecting spray with tea tree oil. Simply spray disinfecting spray liberally on the bags, inside and out, and let dry before storing and reusing.

 

Super Quick 1-Minute DIY Disinfecting Cleaner

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Make Your Own Disinfecting All-Purpose Cleaner
This Formula is Ridiculously Cheap & Easy 

One of the easiest ways to green up your life and save a little green (money, that is), is to make your own household cleaners, like this homemade DIY disinfecting cleaner. I’ve come to love trying out new recipes for home cleaning products and I’ll be posting some of my favorites here over the next few months.

DIY-Disinfecting-Cleaner

What you’ll need to make Super Quick 1-Minute Disinfecting Cleaner:

  • an empty spray bottle (can be new or repurposed)
  • a funnel (or piece of paper folded into a funnel)
  • tea tree oil
  • warm water
  • vinegar (optional)
Directions:
  1. Put 10-20 drops of tea tree oil in bottom of empty spray bottle for every 16 oz of liquid that your spray bottle holds (Note: using 20 drops will result in a stronger, although not unpleasant, smell.)
  2. Using the funnel, add 2 tbsp vinegar for every 16 ounces. You can omit this step if desired. (The smell of vinegar will go away shortly after using solution when the spray dries.)
  3. Fill bottle with water and put spray lid on. Gently swirl to mix solution.
  4. To use, spray surface you want to clean liberally and let sit for about a minute if surface is gunked up (for example if you’re cleaning your stove after cooking and a pot boiled over and dried or if you have batter stuck on your counter from baking).

I haven’t figured out the exact cost of this recipe, because I’ve never thought to count how many drops of tea tree oil come in one bottle, but it’s crazy cheap (a few cents-ish). A bottle of tea tree oil lasts me over a year at $5-6 dollars a bottle. If you repurpose an old squirt bottle from something else, then you’ve got really cheap, 1-minute disinfecting cleanser.

My favorite bottles to repurpose my homemade cleaning solutions from are old “BabyGanics” bottles (shown in picture), like “BabyGanics, Stain Stain Go Away” (which works fabulously, by the way). I haven’t gotten around to making my own laundry stain remover yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I do.

This homemade disinfecting cleaner is not as concentrated as store bought cleaners. Expect a solution that is very watery. You will have to spray surfaces more liberally to use.
If you want to get really creative with your homemade cleaners, you can make your own labels. For now, I’m not that fancy, so I just use a marker to label mine as you can see in the picture.
Homemade-Disinfecting-Cleaner
Note: Although this solution is natural, be sure you keep it out of reach of kids. Essential oils, while beneficial in moderation can be harmful in concentrated amounts, so be sure to keep essential oils far out of reach of kids and always use essential oils carefully.