Mesh produce bags provide breathable storage solutions and many other benefits. Out of their range of pros, mesh bags’ reusability and eco-friendly properties make them a popular packaging choice for many. However, when it comes to reusing the bags, proper care maintenance is required to maximize their lifespan.
The net-like fabric gives mesh produce bags breathability, but it also causes some care challenges. Many don’t encounter mesh’s unique structure on a daily basis. Lack of adequate care practices leads to potential tears, breakage, stains, and other damages that render the bag useless or on the next bus toward disposal. Here is how to properly care for mesh produce bags and optimize their use.
Onions, apples, mussels, and other produce work well with mesh bags. The packaging’s netting allows you to store and carry a variety of items, keeping the fresh goods safe until they’re ready for use. Depending on the stock you place in the bag, sometimes the mesh collects stains, sticky residue, peelings, odors, and dirt from the carried fruits, roots, veggies, and seafood. Bags left in damp conditions or carrying spoilt ingredients also pick up mold.
As with other materials, solving compromised mesh fabrics involves a little wash. There are numerous methods to cleaning a mesh bag, including:
Soaking in a Solution
A good old thorough soak breaks down certain residues, leaving your bags clean and free of debris. There are various ways to soak your mesh, from using plain hot water to creating a soapy mix. You can also use a bleach solution, but only for plain white fabric mesh. No matter your soaking solution, the longer your bag sits in the water, the higher your chances of dissolving odors, certain stains, and sticky juices. After the soak, make sure to give your bag a thorough rinse, especially if you use a mix other than plain water, then hang to dry.
Washing on Gentle Cycle
For a more thorough clean, a run in the washer gives your bags a good scrub. Like many great technological inventions, washers do most of the hard labor. You just plop your bags in, add detergent, and hit a button for activation. However, sometimes the machines work a little too hard, providing an aggressive wash that does more harm than good. When using a washer, set it to a gentle cycle to ensure the mesh doesn’t tear while it gets stirred around.
Pro Tip: Use a gentle, fragrance-free detergent to avoid lingering soapiness on the bags and decrease potential scent and chemical transfers to your produce.
Hand washing provides you with the safest and most effective cleaning method. It gives you more control over the washing process, minimizing damage risks and missed spots. Soaking the bag before you go in with a scrubber or sponge further increases the effectiveness of removing residue and stains from the mesh. Avoid using metal and other harsh scrubbers and highly chemical detergents for optimal results.
Rinsing in the Dishwasher
Using the top rack of your dishwasher to wash and rinse your mesh produce bag provides an alternative cleaning method that gives you a mix of hand and machine washing. Unlike laundering machines, dishwashers operate on a more gentle cycle and don’t toss around the items getting washed. They operate more like a car wash, allowing your goods to remain in place as the water, soap, and other cleaning components come to them. Dishwashers supply you with a washing solution that is as gentle as hand washing but doesn’t require much effort from you.
Spot Cleaning with a Damp Cloth
A thorough wash is great for cleaning up bags that are starting to smell, are exposed to mold, and carry stains, but for a simple refresh, a damp cloth will do the trick. Run a wet cloth over the mesh to collect any dirt or skin fallout from produce—such as onion top layers, rambutan hairs, and loose leaves—and wipe away any sticky juices. It gives the bags a touchup before their next use.
Pro Tip: Hang your bags to dry instead of drying them in a machine to avoid tears and possibly melting the fabric.
Mending Ripped Mesh
Tears and rips in your mesh bags generate numerous inconveniences. They produce an access point for critters and bugs, allow your produce to slip out, and defeat the whole purpose of the bag—to secure, store, and carry items. However, before deeming your torn bag useless and sending it to your trash bin, see if your holes are mendable.
There are two major solutions to patching up ripped mesh. The easiest and low-effort method involves tape. Like applying a bandage on a cut, taping the hole on both sides to avoid sticky surfaces, provides a short-term fix. It stops items from falling out of the bag and prevents anything from entering. However, the tape eventually falls off and hinders the bag’s breathability.
The most effective mending method is needlework. Taking the two edges of the split mesh and sewing it together seams the hole shut, lasts longer than tape, and doesn’t hinder any of your bag’s other properties and functionality. However, the stitching can look unappealing and, depending on the size of the hole, shrinks your bag’s total surface area.
Taking care of your mesh produce bags involves more than just maintenance and patch-ups. It also requires preventative measures. Implementing precautionary protocols keep your bags in top condition and saves time reconciling damages and money spent on new sets. Some best practices and preventions include:
- Avoid carrying and storing spikey or rough-textured produce
- Do not over-stuff the bag
- Follow weight limits
- Wash or refresh the bag regularly
- Remove stains immediately to avoid long-term discolorations
- Avoid exposure to high heats
- Don’t use harsh and fragrant chemicals when cleaning the bags
- Avoid surface collisions with sharp objects
Properly taking care of your mesh produce bags maximizes the bag’s use, making it last longer and optimizing its quality. From cleaning methods to best practices, there are various steps to take to make sure your bags stay in top shape.
When it comes to restocking the bags and exchanging those that have run their course with new ones, Globe Bag Company is here to help. We offer mesh sacks for sale, supplying you with high-quality, reusable mesh produce packaging. Our selection of bags includes different weight capacities, sizes, and colorations, among other variations and types. Check out our collection and implement some best care practices to get the most out of our bags.