Great question, Kasey!
I did a post on this a while back. That was for-eeeeehhh-veeerr (spoken like a true Squints) ago, so here is my new, updated response:
- I always buy my baggies on sale, with a coupon from Costco (see HERE).
- I never reuse baggies that had meat in them, even cooked meat.
- I don't reuse baggies that have anything greasy, goopy, or sticky in them. It's typically not worth the time it takes to get them really clean. Plus, I get creeped out when I feel like there is still stuff left behind in my baggies when it comes time to reuse them.
- To wash a bag, I turn two bags inside out, stick one hand in each bag, and “wash my hands”. You could also do one bag on one hand and use a scrubber with soap.
- I recommend using antibacterial dish soap and hot water, just like you would any other dish.
- Dry bags inside-out. If there is still a little water left on them when you need to use it, simply wipe clean.
- Prop bags on utensils you are trying – handles of spatulas, big spoons, skewers, etc. You could also prop them “teepee style” on a drying rack if they are sturdy enough to stand on their own.
- If I have used a baggie for non-food items (like my lip gloss at the airport, or my son's wet wipes) then write “not for food” on the bag and re-use (for other non-food items) it without washing it.
- I don't wash out bags that have had bread or dry items in them, I just shake out the crumbs, write “bread” or “crackers” or whatever on it, and reuse that bag for another bread or cracker-like food item.
- If the zipper starts to split on the edges, fuse them with the tip of an iron.
- If the zipper separates completely, cut it off and use a baggie tie or rubber band to close it.
- If it has a small hole, simply use it for non-food items or foods that don't have to be airtight, like popcorn.
- You can even reuse plastic bags that random items come in – brown sugar bags, the bag your panty hose are wrapped in, produce bags, bread bag, etc.
- Any bag with paint on it (like a bread bag) shouldn't be used inside out.