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Can You Really Reuse Ziploc Bags?

Woman packing a sandwich into a Ziploc bag

Re-sealable plastic bags, like Ziploc, are convenient and easy to use (and share). But, they’re also not cheap. And, since they’re made of plastic, you probably don’t want to have to throw them away after each use. You might’ve laughed at your grandmother for using and re-using Ziploc bags again and again back in the day, but now you might be wondering if she was onto something.

The good news? Ziploc bags are reusable in most cases.

But, a lot of it depends on what you were storing in the bag, and how you care for it after using it.

Since re-sealable plastic storage bags can be used for just about anything from snacks to soup, it’s important to note that not all items are “equal” when it comes to the overall safety of reusing your Ziploc.

Ziploc freezer, storage, sandwich, and snack bags can all be reused on two conditions.

First, it’s important to wash them after each use. Give them a gentle wash by hand and make sure they’re completely dry before adding something else.

Second, if you used the bag to store raw meat, fish, or eggs, it shouldn’t be used again. Contaminants can remain in the bag, even after washing it, and you could potentially make yourself or someone else sick. You should also avoid reusing it if it contained foods that are common allergy triggers, like tree nuts or shellfish.

Some Ziploc bags are designed to withstand microwave cooking, like the Ziploc Zip ‘n Steam™ bag. These can be extremely convenient for heating up leftovers or for meal-prepping. But, once you’ve cooked something in one of these bags, it shouldn’t be used again to heat up a different item.

There’s no exact number when it comes to how many times you can reuse a Ziploc bag. The best thing you can do is to pay attention to how well the bag is holding up. If the zipper is starting to get worn and it won’t properly seal, it’s time to throw it away. You might also find that different brands of plastic re-sealable bags work better than others, so don’t be afraid to conduct your own “experiments” to determine what you like best.

Amazon Basics 20-Piece Glass Food Storage Containers

If you want to store and share more often, consider a more durable option.

Again, Ziploc bags can be great for storing things or even sharing food with friends and family. But, if you’re trying to save money or do something good for the environment, consider either reusing your bags a few times, or switching to a different reusable cooking/storage vessel for saving and sharing food.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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