If you're one of those responsible people who drinks out of a reusable water bottle or carries a reusable lunch bag to work (or school) every day, kudos on thinking about the environment. But after you read this, you'll probably -- no, definitely-- want to make sure you think about hitting the dishwasher each day, too.
Earlier this week, we tested a random plastic water bottle and a reusable lunch bag belonging to a couple of our FOX 5 DC staffers, and the results were-- well, they were gross. And what's there coul make you sick.
First, Dr. Shilpi Agarwai swabbed her own son's lunch box, and found that mold spores, E. coli and fecal bacteria were all present. Then, we gave her our reusables.
Dr. Agarwai tells us tests of the water bottle showed several "mold colonies," as well as some bacteria. The lunch bag also contained a mold colony and bacteria.
If you just lost your appetite, you're not alone. But Dr. Agarwai says a few steps will make help you keep your reusables safe and clean:
WATER BOTTLES GO IN THE DISHWASHER: Sanitizing them regularly will kill any lingering bacteria. If you're not using the dishwasher, use warm, soapy water to get them clean in the sink.
WIPE DOWN LUNCH BAG WITH ANTIBACTERIAL WIPES: Do this every day to keep them clean.
WASH THE FABRIC OF YOUR LUNCH BAG ONCE A WEEK: Pro tip: You can also throw them in the washing machine with your kitchen towels!
WASH YOUR HANDS! This might seem obvious, but wash your hands before you make your lunch, and before you eat it. And make sure you remind your kids to do the same at school.
If you really want to avoid the issue altogether, Dr. Agarwai says brown paper bags are the most sanitary way to carry your lunch.