If you’ve ever grabbed a bag of onions or potatoes from the grocery store, you’ve likely gotten them in mesh bags. While you might be inclined to throw them away as soon as you get home, you might want to think twice about that.
You can repurpose mesh produce bags into cleaners.
Jillee, an Instagram content creator, posted the repurposing hack in a quick video. She first empties onions from a yellow mesh bag, getting rid of any leftover peels. Then, she grabs a cast iron skillet, adds salt and a bit of olive oil, and uses the mesh to clean it! Because the mesh is abrasive, it makes a great scrubbing agent for surfaces like cast iron that need more powerful scrubbing without damage. Once she’s done cleaning, she simply tosses the bag into the trash.
While you won’t be able to use the bag multiple times, it is a great way to cut down on how often you’re buying abrasive cleaning products like steel wool. Ultimately, this trick can save you money and reduce waste.
But why are those mesh bags, anyway? Turns out, that yes, they do serve a purpose. Because the material is breathable, ethylene gas is able to escape. The gas speeds up the ripening process, and if specific veggies—like potatoes and onions—were stored in a non-breathable bag, it could cause them to go bad sooner.
The next time you grab a bag of produce from the grocery store, just remember not to throw away the bag quite yet. When you do get home to unload your groceries, don’t forget this handy trick for keeping them organized.