Plastic Bag Washing Club 2015 for Earth Day

by Dorothy Reinhold on April 20, 2015

Print This Post Print This Post Plastic Bag Washing Club for Earth Day |

Earth Day is upon us April 22 — the 45th anniversary this year, in fact — so it’s time to reinvigorate the Plastic Bag Washing Club.

I’ve  found that I’m not alone in my kitchen recycling behavior that has me washing out sturdy zipper-top plastic bags when I use them. Although I try not to use these bags too often, when I do use one, I wash it and let it dry in my kitchen garden window. On a busy cooking day, or when I am using up a lot of leftovers, I might have 4-5 bags drying at any given time. I find that I can use a bag many, many times over if I simply wash it out after use and leave it to dry.

Long ago my husband had me convinced it was quirky behavior, but it turns out there are LOTS of fellow bag-washers. So many, in fact, that I have created the Plastic Bag Washing Club, 2015 edition. This follows the 2011 club when I first confessed my behavior and invited others to let me know if I was truly a freakshow, or if it is was more common than it seemed.

Call for members: If you are in the Plastic Bag Washing Club, please let me know so we all don’t feel so odd. Send me a photo (D Reinhold at charter dot net) of your plastic bags drying in your kitchen (or whevever you dry them), and I will post it, and make you an honorary member of the…

Plastic Bag Washing Club 2015

Let’s visit a few kitchens so we can see how others do it.
Plastic Bag Washing Club members Robert and Carol Frank | www.ShockinglyDelicious.comRobert and Carol Frank of Washington state use their (mostly unused) dishwasher as a handy drying rack. They only run the dishwasher once a week, so the bags have a convenient place to air out and dry.
Plastic Bag Washing Club member Cheryl Newton  | www.ShockinglyDelicious.comCheryl Newton of Clearfield, Utah, who calls herself a “civilian with a hopeless recipe addiction,” hangs her bags on knife handles to dry. “If they’re the stiffer freezer bags, sometimes I’ll just set them, open as much as possible, on a towel. I hope your roundup encourages more people to reuse their plastic bags!”
Plastic Bag Washing Club member Denise Vivaldo | www.ShockinglyDelicious.comDenise Vivaldo, renowned food stylist, recipe developer and owner of the Denise Vivaldo Group in Los Angeles, washes her bags out with soapy hot water and hangs them to dry on a bottle, in this case San Pellegrino water (how fancy, Denise!). She reuses those that have had bread or vegetables in them, but discards any that have had raw protein (such as meat, chicken or fish), for obvious food safety reasons.
Plastic Bag Washing Club member Kristine Wyatt | www.ShockinglyDelicious.comKristine Wyatt of Pacific Palisades, Calif., who blogs at So Many Interesting Things, washes out not only her plastic bags (which she dries on a bottle), but also her foil, which she then stacks to use again. Bonus points, Kristine!

Plastic Bag Washing Club 2011

Plastic Bag Washing Club member Rustic Garden Bistro |

Kim from in Orange County, Calif. perches hers atop her stack of handwashables drying in the sink. That’s a lotta pots and pans! Dinner must have been great!  

Plastic Bag Washing Club member Lori Valesko |

Lori from in Long Beach, Calif. also favors the dish stacking method of drying. She just finished washing up after making a pot of Crock-Pot chili. I’m sensing a colander theme here.

Plastic Bag Washing Club member Rashmi of Yumkid |

Rashmi at is in the club! Little kids in the house…lotta sippy cups. (Where’s your colander, girl?)

Plastic Bag Washing Club member Kate Woods |

Kate from Katewoods in Australia has a little bucket full of tape and pens and “stuff” beside the sink, and drapes bags to dry them. She even saves plastic wrap (Glad Wrap).

Plastic Bag Washing Club member Betsy Lombard |

Betsy from in Nevada City, Calif. simply dries them in the corner. Nuthin’ fancy needed! But…look below for her extra tweak…

Plastic Bag Washing Club member Betsy Lombard |

Now this, my friends, is a delux plastic bag holder, open at both ends with elastic at the top and the bottom, sort of like an air sock. Bags at the ready! Betsy’s husband’s Tennessee grandmother made it for her, and they call it…get this…a “pecker warmer.” I’ll wait for a second while you absorb that. Are you laughing? Because I am sophomoric, I will suggest an alternative alliterative name — how about “wienie warmer?”

Plastic Bag Washing Club member Jodie Eyeberg |

Jodie from Colorado Springs, CO turns them inside out to clean, and uses anything she has — including her faucet — to stand them up.
Plastic Bag Washing Club member Cassy Cohen Muronaka |
Cassy Cohen Muronaka will wash out zipper-top bags on occasion, but ALWAYS washes out her FoodSaver vacuum sealer bags! “I love my vacuum sealer, and waved goodbye to frostburn the day I bought it,” she says.

Join the club!

Don’t forget: If you are like us and wash and reuse your plastic bags, please shoot s snapshot of your system. Send me a photo ( of your plastic bags drying in your kitchen (or whevever you dry them), and I will post it, and make you an honorary member of the Plastic Bag Washing Club!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

LydiaF May 28, 2015 at 8:35 pm

I missed this when it was first published. I do the same thing. It drive my husband crazy especially when I have a bag draped over the knives and he wants to use one, hahaha.


Sarah April 22, 2015 at 5:24 pm

I have a bunch of fabric sandwich bags that I use instead of plastic now. My parents still reuse their bags!


Dorothy Reinhold April 22, 2015 at 8:27 pm

I have some fabric sandwich bags too. They can be useful!


Patricia @ Grab a Plate April 21, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Love it! I’m totally a member! My Depression-era parents even used to wash cling wrap 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold April 22, 2015 at 7:20 am

Kudos to them! Seriously, I can barely get new cling wrap out of the package unscathed…I have no idea how I might wash it and not have it wad up in an unusable ball.


Kristen April 21, 2015 at 6:50 pm

I have always rewashed gallon sized zip bags. As long as they don’t hold meat, I will use them until they get a hole in them.


Dorothy Reinhold April 22, 2015 at 7:18 am

You and I are 2 peas in a pod. I wash all the sizes, even the sandwich size, if they didn’t have marinating protein in them.


David @ CookingChat April 21, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Great idea! I’ve tended to focus on re-using the bags that I can, but am inspired here to do more washing/drying of them to furter reduce plastic waste.


Dorothy Reinhold April 22, 2015 at 7:18 am

They wash up really easily. I discard the ones that have had, say, bacon or some marinating protein in them, but really I wash out all the others and it works like a charm. Oh, who am I kidding. There’s never any bacon left over. 🙂


Dee Dee (My Midlife Kitchen) April 21, 2015 at 12:42 pm

I use plastic bags very rarely anymore, but I regularly try to find a way to reuse without having to rewash them too many times. I worry about the release of toxins in the plastic when washed too many times, but for things like crackers or dry goods, or frozen items (like Alisa points out here), I try to reuse when I can.


Dorothy Reinhold April 21, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Sounds wise, Dee Dee.


Katherine April 21, 2015 at 11:48 am

YES, I do this, too!!! I live with my dad and he’ll trash them if I don’t get to them first. They stand up nicely in our dish drainer.


Dorothy Reinhold April 21, 2015 at 12:28 pm



sharron April 21, 2015 at 9:16 am

i too reuse my plastic except when used for protein. save produce bags to line my compost bucket. sve my foodsaver bags as often as possible


Alisa @ Go Dairy Free April 21, 2015 at 8:53 am

Very cool! I can’t say that I wash them, but 90% of the plastic bags I use are freezer bags – so I simply reuse them. I freeze banana chunks for smoothies very regularly, and can just use and then add more to the bag for several uses. Also, when I freeze leftover baked goods, the residue is merely crumbs that have been frozen, so I shake out, keep the empty bags frozen in a section in my freezer (they take up almost no space!) and simply add the next baked good leftovers when needed.


Dorothy Reinhold April 21, 2015 at 10:55 am

I like your style!


dixya April 20, 2015 at 8:39 pm

you are not alone..i do that as well..i try not to use as much of those plastic bags but again, i do 🙁


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