Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Frugalista Frolic

As you know, SDXB is the King of Cheap: this is a guy who can live comfortably on practically nothing. One of his habits — one that used to abhor me no end — is washing out plastic baggies and using them again.

SDXB used to make me crazy by insisting on washing every baggie and leaving them around the sink and drainboard to dry. At one point I suggested we should run the things through the washing machine. But of course he poo-poo’d that idea — partly because it came from the Little Woman…but better yet, because he was right; running those cheapie baggies through the wash would make the precious things fall apart forthwith.

Well, I’ve developed quite a fondness for those Ziplock bags with little zipper pulls on them. Unlike regular Ziplocks, they’re easy to open and close. Also unlike regular Ziplocks, they’re brain-banging pricey.

HowEVER….  The fancy zippered things are another critter altogether from the old ones. You can wash the things in a washer — many times. They do not wear out easily. And y’know, if one of these things costs three times as much as one with no zipper gadget on it but you can re-use it twice (1 use, 2 uses, 3 uses), then you actually pay the same for it as you do for the cheapie bag. Use it more than three times, and it costs significantly less than one cheaper baggie.

One FaM reader, back in the day when FaM was more devotedly a personal-finance site, remarked that said procedure sounded fine for veggies, fruit, and dry stuff, but (gasp, shudder!!) she would NEVER reuse a bag that had ever held raw meat.

Really? So you never eat off a dish that has held a piece of raw meat, preparatory to tossing it on the grill or the frying pan? {chortle!} Betcha do!

As long as the bag is thoroughly washed — and as long as the plate is thoroughly washed — what’s the difference?

To be sure each baggie is clean, first I squirt a little dish detergent in it, add some water, and squirchel it around so as to massage soap and warm water all over the inside. Then let it sit for awhile, until you get around to washing dishes. Then rinse out the soap, turn the baggie inside out, and set it aside until you have enough to make it worth running the washer. A small basket is convenient for holding your stash.

When you have ten or twenty of the things, drop them in the washer — leaving them inside out. Add a small amount of clothes detergent, set the washer on warm and at the smallest load size, and let ’er rip!

Since I have a washing machine that actually works now, this process really does get the baggies clean, and without wrecking them. Whether one of the horrid front- or top-loading “high efficiency” washers would do the job, I do not know. Of course, those washers being what they are, it would take forever and a day to run the the collected baggies through a wash cycle — but I’d guess if you used the shortest cycle offered (what? only an hour and a half? 😀 ) and selected the gentlest cycle you could extract from the thing, it would probably wash them well enough.

Then either hang them on a line (if you have such a thing) or prop them open on the sink grid or a dish drainer to air-dry. Et voilà! That many baggies that you don’t have to buy (or throw in the landfill) for awhile longer.

Author: funny

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  1. You are the first person I have ever heard who agrees with me about the whole raw meat in baggies thing.

    Peoples, lots of your plates and utensils touch raw meat. You wash them and reuse them. Why not the same for baggies?

    But I constantly hear the refrain of “toss baggies that have touched raw meat”. So I have to keep reminding myself of my mantra. *Do not argue with strangers on the internet.* 😀

  2. To be honest, the tossing baggies that held raw meat for me extends to most wet things. It isn’t so much that *gasp* it has touched raw meat, but that the effort I expend to ensure it has been properly washed (in my own mind) is exponentially greater than the effort I take to clean a bag that held left over pancakes or a sandwich. It’s a personal thing with no real grounds in logic, just laziness.

    • That’s an interesting observation. And yeah…I’d say my mind runs along the same path. If it’s had something wet in it — meat or spinach or whatEVER — I go to a great deal more trouble to get it clean: extra detergent, hotter water, extra scrubbing. And IMHO it’s important to turn them inside out and look at them and be sure all the surfaces on the inside of the bag got clean.

  3. Personally for me, there’s too much flexibility in a bag to know that I’ve washed off every germ. With a solid surface like a plate, you can scrub it and be reasonably sure that you’ve touched every micro-area of surface. With a bag that bends and such, I just don’t have that level of comfort. So when it comes to washing by hand, anyway, raw meat bags don’t make the cut. But we do save other bags, yes.

    • Yes…that thought occurred to me. But then I slopped in a squirt of Dawn and observed that it flowed to all the places meat juice could flow. And that if I rubbed the bag between my hands, that action would cause the detergent to scrub the inside of the baggie. Then, closing the top of the baggie and setting it aside _with the detergent & some hot tap water inside it_ while I went about other clean-up activities had the effect of soaking the interior of the bag with a germicidal product.

      So I figure that action plus running it through the slosh of hot water in a washer with another dose of detergent probably does the job on the microbes. So far, I haven’t come down with dysentery.

      On the other hand: I don’t re-use a bag that contained _spoiled_ meat (or spoiled anything else, come to think of it). In that case, we KNOW there are probably pathogens dancing around in there!

      Bear in mind, though, that most of the big E. coli scares have come from vegetable products. The most recent, of course, is the Romaine Lettuce Terror. And how can we forget the Attack of the Pathogenic Cantaloupes? If we can’t clean out germs from meat, we probably can’t clean out germs from anything…and so logically, a person who (IMHO reasonably enough) feels averse to re-using a bag that has contained a piece of raw meat should reject re-using any bag that has contained any product other than, say, dry rice or beans.

  4. I wash and reuse my bags until they show signs of too much wear, too. Several years ago I bought a nifty rack that allows me to dry them easier than laying them on the counter. Sadly, I don’t have a clothesline here so that’s not an option. I also don’t run them through the washing machine, but they seem to get clean enough with my brush, dish soap, and hot water.

    • Eventually they do just plain wear out. But I figure if you can get, say, three uses out of each baggie, it brings the overall cost of a boxful down into the reasonable range.

      You could take a piece of rope, tie the ends together, and loop it over the showerhead. Then all you’d need to do is clip the wet (inside-out) baggies to the rope, like baubles on a necklace, and let them hang dry. The countertop rack sounds great, though! I’d like one of those…