How to Clean Reusable Food Storage Bags

Reusable food storage bags with orange slices and almonds and sandwich with cilantro

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 45 mins
  • Total Time: 2 - 3 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

We all know that our Earth would be much healthier if everyone stopped tossing tons and tons of spoiled food and plastic into the trash can. Much of that plastic comes from flimsy food storage bags that are designed to be used once and tossed. To help address the problem, consumers can now buy reusable food storage bags made of silicone. These bags come in a variety of sizes and colors, can be used to store both solid and liquid foods, and can even go into the microwave or boiling water.

Of course, like any silicone kitchenware, the reusable bags require regular and proper cleaning. With just a few household products, you can clean them easily, save money, and reduce your impact on the planet.

How Often to Clean Reusable Food Storage Bags

As with any food preparation or storage product, the bags should be cleaned after every use. If the bags become stained or begin to feel sticky, a more thorough cleaning will be needed.


Most silicone reusable food storage bags can be cleaned in the dishwasher on the top rack (always check the brand's guidelines). However, hand-washing will usually give better results because you can be sure that the corners are well-exposed to soap and water.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Non-abrasive sponge
  • 1 Soft-bristled bottle brush
  • 1 Microfiber cloth
  • 1 Sink
  • 1 Dishwashing gloves (optional)
  • 1 Small bowl


Yellow sponge with bottle brush, cloth rag and bowl with dishwashing gloves

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Daily Cleaning

  1. Handwash the Bags

    Fill a sink or small tub with hot water and add a few drops of a good dishwashing liquid that contains a degreaser. Submerge the bags and allow them to soak for two or three minutes. Use a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth to wipe down the inside and outside of the bags.

    Rinse well with hot water and invert over a drying rack to air-dry. Do not turn the bags inside out to dry because that can harm the sealed edges.

    Reusable storage bags hand washed with gloves and dish detergent in small bowl

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Use a Dishwasher

    Rinse out the bags with warm or cold water to remove loose food particles. Place the bags upside down on the top rack of the dishwasher so the water from the spray arms can reach the interior surfaces. Use your regular dishwasher detergent and cycle.

    Reusable storage bags placed upside down in top rack of dishwasher

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska


    Never turn the food storage bags inside out before hand-washing or placing them in the dishwasher. This can damage the seals at the corners causing the bags to leak.

How to Deep Clean and Remove Stains

After several uses, the bags may feel sticky or if the bags are used with foods like tomato sauce that leave stains, the storage bags will need a bit more cleaning than a quick wash.

  1. Rinse With Hot Water

    Begin by filling the bag about half full with hot water. Pinch together the top and swish the water around in the bag to loosen stuck-on food. If this does not dislodge food particles in the corners, use a small, soft-bristled bottle brush to clean the corners.

    Reusable bag scrubbed by bottle brush with hot water

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    In a small bowl, mix one-part distilled white vinegar, one-part lemon juice, and two parts baking soda to create a thin paste. NOTE: the mixture will foam a bit so don't overfill the bowl!

    Lemon juice, baking soda and white distilled vinegar mixed in small bowl with spoon

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Apply the Paste and Wait

    Use your hand or a non-abrasive sponge to apply the paste to the interior of the food storage bag. Lay the bag flat and allow the paste to work for around 15 minutes. Flip the bag and wait another 15 minutes.

    Cleaning mixture paste rubbed inside reusable storage bag with pink gloves

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Rinse and Dry

    Fill the bag with hot water and swish to rinse. If you are cleaning several bags, fill a sink or tub with hot water for rinsing. Wipe down the inside and outside of the bags with a lint-free microfiber cloth to prevent water spotting.

    Invert the bags over a drying rack to finish air-drying. Never store damp bags.

    Green microfiber cloth wiping inside of reusable storage bag to dry

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska


    Storing damp bags can cause mildew growth. If that happens, mix a solution of one cup of warm water and one tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach or one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. (NEVER mix the two chemicals.) Pour the solution into the bag and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Dispose of the bleach solution and wash the bag as recommended.

Tips to Keep Reusable Food Storage Bags Looking Great

  • For foods like tomato sauce or blueberries that are likely to leave a stain, choose a similarly colored storage bag.
  • To remove water-spotting from hard water, place a tiny dot of vegetable oil on a paper towel, and wipe down the silicone bag.
  • Placing the silicone bags in the sun can help remove stains thanks to the sun's ultra-violet rays.
  • Frequent deep cleaning with the baking soda paste can keep odors at bay.
  • Never store damp or soiled bags. This encourages mold and mildew growth.