Check out these easy tips and solutions to clean lunch bags and keep your packed lunches fresh.
We send our kids to school each day with lunch all neatly packed in their containers, but somehow, things tend to spill and leak in the lunch bag. It can’t be helped and one of my biggest pet peeves is a sticky, grimy lunch bag. Yuck!
Sounds familiar? Thought so and I’ve put together a few tips to clean bags easily and help them last longer.
How to Clean Lunch Bags
A clean lunch bag ensures long term use and less chance of it taking on any funky smells. There are 2 easy methods and depending on the type of lunch bag you have, both will work.
Most, but not all, insulated lunch bags can be machine-washed. This is something I do on a weekly basis usually Friday evening and the step are simple.
- Clean Out
Remove any trash or food items.
- Gentle with Cold Water
Toss the lunch bags into the wash on a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent.
- Dry it Out
When it comes to drying, air dry is best but some lunch bags are durable enough to withstand the heat from a dryer. Make sure to read the tags/labels on each bag for their recommended care.
Tip: I wash my lunch bags separately or with our “old rags” load of laundry. I don’t recommend washing them with delicate fabrics or knits. The heavy zippers on the lunch bags could cause damage.
This is the safest method to care for lunch bags and will ensure they stay intact for a long time. Hand washing lunch bags goes a little like this:
- Soap and Water
Fill your sink with warm water and a small amount of dish detergent.
- Wipe Down
Using a sponge or cloth dip it into the soapy water and clean the interior and exterior of the lunch bag.
- Rinse and Dry
The best way to rinse it is by using a cloth that is dampened with clean water. Then pat it dry with a towel, and allow it to dry completely by air. I will sometimes lay it out, open and upside down in my dish strainer to allow it to dry overnight.
How to Spot Clean Lunch Bags
I recommend doing daily spot checks to keep lunch bags in mint condition. This is as simple as wiping the inside down with an antibacterial wipe or natural cleaner and rag.
I like using a homemade solution with equal parts of vinegar and water or hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Both disinfect and deodorizes the interior. If you’re worried about the vinegar smell, don’t worry! It disappears when it dries.
While this isn’t a recipe, these simple tips can make packing lunches easier for busy parents. And if you like keeping all things lunch simple, you’ll love the kind of meal ideas we offer in our family meal plans. Download a sample MOMables Meal Plan where you’ll find 5 dinner recipes, a done-for-you shopping list, and a step-by-step meal prep sheet!
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I always hand wash but I turn them inside out to get into the corners. Then air dry.
Thanks for the tips!! I’ll probably be hand washing my daughter’s lunch bag from now on so that it will hopefully last another school year.