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Reusing Ziploc Bags

Category Reusing
Ziplock bags are often very sturdy and can be recycled in many ways. This guide is about reusing ziplock bags.


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February 3, 2017

I have been washing and reusing baggies for years. I just don't see the reason to throw one out after its been used, unless it contained meat. I use Tupperware and glass containers for my lunch, but my husband works outside and this works best for him, as he doesn't have to worry about not losing my Tupperware or leaving it behind at a work site. Washing baggies out is easy, but drying them can take up space.


I use a small clothes dryer that I found at the RV show for my baggie dryer. When I am using it, I hang it from my pot and pan rack. When not in use, it folds up and goes into a kitchen drawer. I put a towel underneath to catch drips. When you dry your baggies, make sure they are open so air can get in, or else they will mildew.

I would say over the past 30 years that I have been washing out my baggies, I have probably saved several hundred dollars over buying new ones each time.

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February 5, 20170 found this helpful

This is a great idea. I save my bags as well. I also use as few as possible by having plastic storage containers for everything, including the sandwiches I take to work for lunch.

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March 2, 2010

I get my cheese sliced in these wonderful zip locks. Their unigue shape got me to thinking that I can use them for other things besides food. Once they are cleaned and dried you can use for:

You can all think of many more, I am sure. I hope this helps!

Source: My own brain always thinking.

By Sandi from Yorktown, VA

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March 3, 20100 found this helpful

I use mine to pack stuff in when I'm going to travel. Makeup in one, toothbrush in another. And an empty for the used undies. I've also found that the plastic grocery bags work well for packing your shoes. Not only does it help protect them from getting scuffed, but it also keeps them from getting your clothes dirty.

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March 1, 2010

When I rinse out a ziploc or other such bag, I let it drip dry over an empty 1 liter plastic beverage bottle. However the bottle was so light it tipped over with any little bump, which was annoying. To make it more stable and more eye appealing on my counter, I took the label off and filled it half way with marbles. I don't use many ziplocs so one bottle is enough for my counter.

By Arlinn from New York

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February 5, 20100 found this helpful
Top Comment

I have been doing this for years. My husband made me a bag dryer, a piece of wood, with 3 holes drilled in it, then 3 dowels put in the holes. Hang the bags over one or two of the dowels. Works very well.

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January 17, 20080 found this helpful

Someone mentioned washing and reusing ziploc bags. I'd like to offer this side note: Please do not reuse bags that have contained meats. I'd rather throw away the bag, than to possibly get sick from contaminated plastic. It just isn't worth it.

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May 2, 2006

Save those tiny ziploc bags when you come across them, the ones that hold small samples, etc. They can be recycled for all sorts of things, such as sewing kits, eyeglass repair kits, or if they are bigger, groupings of cosmetic samples.

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By 1 found this helpful
June 23, 2013

I usually will first insert the food in a plastic bag from the supermarket produce dept as a liner for the Ziploc thereby keeping the Ziploc clean for future use. Empty used Ziploc bags are kept in the freezer. Is there any health problem with this method?

By Leefall

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June 25, 20130 found this helpful

I don't see anything wrong with washing out your ziplocks either. My mother-in-law washed and reused all sorts of bags. She washed them with the dishes, dried, and hung them up to air. I suppose you could keep them in the freezer, but I just keep my clean rewashed bags in the drawer.

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June 25, 20130 found this helpful

The best thing about your suggestion is you can slip a piece of paper in between with the contents and date and know without question what is in the freezer. You don't want to do what I did and think the ziplock in the freezer was spaghetti sauce only to find it was pumpkin.

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June 26, 20130 found this helpful

Sometimes I have noticed a leakage that occurred in the sealed part of the tray when the shrink wrap was put on by the grocer/butcher, especially with chicken and ground meat. Should this be the case, I would strongly recommend washing the bags thoroughly before storing them away for reuse. Just remember the outside of the products was subject to handling by all and sundry. I always wash my bags, and reuse many times. Cay from FL

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November 22, 20150 found this helpful

Washing is easy and seems like a good idea. It's the drying that is problemitic. Normal Kitchen drying racks are limited, as you want to seperate them to dry out thoroughly, but still leave room for the usual pots and pans, etc. How about a rack designed to hold resealable (ziploc-type) clear plastic bags?

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By 0 found this helpful
August 8, 2008

Can you reuse Ziploc freezer bags after you have defrosted what was already in it? It seems like a lot of money to keep throwing them away.

Joyce from Danvers, MA

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August 17, 20080 found this helpful

Keep something in mind about plastic zip lock bags...THEY ARE NOT JUST FOR FOOD!! Here are just a few things I use mine for. The sandwich are great for...


Craft supplies

CD's (in the case or in a paper sleeve to prevent static)

Sewing and First Aid kits

Buck Wheat Ice Packs

Stationary supplies

The little snack size are perfect for...

Make up

Waterproof matches

Medicines (clearly marked or still in bottles)

Camping toothbrushes and mini pastes

Color swatches on your way to the paint store

Mini facial tissues

Hide A Key's

Gallon Sized ones are great for...

Undies and personal things in your suitcase

Folded right, tee's go in their great

Some shoes will fit in these nice big ones

Several packages of nylons

Hair curlers and products you think might leak

Important papers and books

And anything you want to keep clean, sanitary and be able to see and get to fast. And yes, I have used all of these ideas in used, washed bags. I sit mine over the handle, spout, or entire tea pot to dry overnight.


1. I don't turn mine inside out, as I think it stretches the edges of the zipper and defeats the purpose. That's just me.

2. If you put in spaghetti sauce or bbq chicken and then want to use it for a rare book, then yes, please use a new one. I get 20 for 1.00 and believe me, they are worth every penny! When they are ready to throw out, I donate them to the animal shelter for dog trainers to use for scooping.

If you look closely, you can see that at one time, I used this bag for lace.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 8, 20080 found this helpful

Here's another good tip for using zip bags that I didn't see mentioned yet.

When you are in the kitchen cooking and need to refer to the recipe card, (like a 3"x5", etc.), place it in a sandwich size zipper bag to keep it clean when handling. You can still pick it up and read it, even if your hands are greasy, sticky, sweaty, or whatever!

My 50-year old recipe index cards still look brand new! Hee-Hee! Now, isn't that a smart & easy tip!:o)

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September 8, 20080 found this helpful

I keep all our remotes like new by tightly wrapping them in the plain freezer plastic bags - leaving the"light" at the end unwrapped, I can wrap 3 or 4 from a large bag, depending on remote size, & secure together with wide"scotch" tape, they last a long time before they need recovering.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 29, 20080 found this helpful

I hear all you ladies saying you reuse ziplock bags, but I am not sure if you can and it be healthy for you. Does anyone know if it is O.K. to do this? We need to start helping our husbands save money in the family so please someone find the real truth on reusing plastic bags. God Bless All.

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August 4, 20110 found this helpful

I need to know why you can't reuse freezer bags after you used them to freeze meat. My wife will wash them out and reuse to freeze meat again. Help me with this answer. Thank you.

By Rick F. from Central FL

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August 5, 20110 found this helpful

Plastics of any sort absorb meat bacteria such as salmonella and e-coli and that's why it's not even safe to reuse the styrofoam meat trays for food. And I wouldn't recommend even cleaning meat touched plastics with bleach and then reusing for food because the bleach will absorb into the plastic and then will leach into your food.

Perhaps your wife could go ahead and save a couple of pennies by washing and drying them but then reuse them only to store non-food items such as ribbon and bows, craft supplies, things like nails and screws, gardening supplies or even use for picking up doggie poopie if you walk your dog and if you don't walk your dog donate them to a neighbor who does. There are oodles of other uses for them that are safe. Reuse them for anything other than food because risking your health and life is not worth saving some money.

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August 5, 20110 found this helpful

I've thought about the fact that each time I use hot water, soap and my time to wash out and dry a plastic bag, I probably could have bought another bag.

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August 6, 20110 found this helpful

Using bags from the dollar store is not such a great idea either. Where do these products come from? If you use these products next to your food who knows? Better to use the brands you trust. You can't put a price on on keeping your family safe.

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August 6, 20110 found this helpful

I have heard you should'nt reuse them too. But I also wash them real good and reuse. Been doing this for years and am still alive and well.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 28, 2009

At my work we receive a lot of Ziploc bags of all sizes with parts in them. Can we recycle them? We also get parts very thick plastic bags, about 9 x 12. Can we recycle them? Please help, it kills me to throw these away. Thank you.

By Maggi3 from new Milford, CT

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April 28, 20090 found this helpful

Gosh, don't throw them away. There are many places that would put them to good use for example I use many plastic bags in our church thrift shop. You could also put them on Free Cycle, I'm sure someone will grab them.

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May 5, 20090 found this helpful

Keep photos, patterns, dry goods, craft supplies, medicines, camping gear and so much more in them. If you can't take them home, then yes, donate them to a school or church, the local shelter or thrift shop.

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May 6, 20090 found this helpful

Check your local grocery store...some have recycling bins. Or, if your city recycles, call and ask if they accept plastic bags.

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May 7, 20090 found this helpful

I have a dog and have to BUY zip lock bags to collect the droppings in on our walks. Ask your dog owner friends if they want the free bags, or the local vet or animal shelter. I would love it if someone would give me these bags for free!

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