Is It Really Safe To Reuse Ziploc Bags?

Ziploc bags are one of the best things ever to happen in the world of food storage. Ever since they first hit the market in the 1960s, these little bags have made packing a lunch and freezing leftovers easier than ever before (via Inc.). As great as the Ziploc bag is, most of us are probably guilty of discarding these bags into the trash bin without much thought. After all, when a box of 40 can be purchased for only a few dollars, what's the point in holding onto them?

Well, as convenient as plastic bags are, plastic, in general, is working to pretty much destroy the planet. A lot of single-use plastic bags come from retail and grocery stores, but Ziploc bags also fall under that umbrella. One solution is washing and reusing your Ziploc bags — but is this safe?

You can wash and reuse some Ziploc bags

If you're a fan of using less plastic  — and you really should be — the good news is yes, you can reuse your Ziploc bags — just not all of them. As Taste of Home points out, reusing Ziploc bags that merely stored your kid's chips or sandwich for lunch is a fantastic idea. You'll be reducing your plastic waste, and not to mention, saving a little money at the same time. 

Simply turn them inside out and wash them with soapy water and allow them to dry before reusing them. You can even put them on the top rack of your dishwasher and clean them that way. Just be sure the water you use isn't scalding hot, because this may increase the odds of BPA from the plastic leaking into your food.  

Some Ziploc bags you shouldn't reuse

There are a few exceptions, though, when it's advised to not reuse your Ziploc bags, and instead toss them out after a single use. If you're using them for something like marinating meat or storing eggs, it's not recommended that you keep them (The Takeout). Even if you do a thorough job cleaning them, the chance of bacteria hanging around and getting you sick just isn't worth it — it's always vital to take as many measures as you can to avoid food poisoning. It's also probably better to be on the safe side and not reuse them if those bags were used for storing food like peanuts or shellfish — particularly if somebody in your household has a food allergy. 

Ziploc bags aren't indestructible and will eventually get worn out and have to be trashed. If you can get some extra use out of them, though, then why not get your money's worth and create a little less waste?