How to clean insulated lunch bags & remove odour

It’s best practice for the kids to unpack their school bag as soon as they get home from school. However there can be times that this doesn’t happen, it’s left overnight, over the weekend, or worst yet till the last day of school holidays (eew).  If you are hit with a bad smelling, sticky, dirty lunchbag here are my tips below on how to clean insulated lunch bags and remove odours.

It's best practice for the kids to unpack their school bag as soon as they get home from school. However there can be times that this doesn't happen, it's left overnight, over the weekend, or worst yet till the last day of school holidays (eew). If you are hit with a bad smelling, sticky or dirty lunchbag, here are my tips below on how to clean insulated lunch bags and remove odours.

Tip: Remind the kids to put their rubbish and scraps into the rubbish bin as soon as they’ve eaten it, to help reduce the dirt, stick or smell forming.

A quick daily clean

Use my homemade antibacterial wipes to remove any dirt and food from the lunch bag, then wipe over with a tea towel ready for use.

  READ MORE: How to make Reusable Homemade Antibacterial Wipes

Clean in the washing machine

Depending on the quality of your lunch bag it is possible that you can put it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle to give it a regular weekly clean.  You can do this in the same cycle as your tablecloths and tea towels.  Please check the care label or instructions, if it has any, or just make good judgement if you think the bag can tolerate the agitation of the washing machine.

Handwashing the lunchbag

If your not quite sure if your lunchbag can tolerate a run through the washing machine you can hand wash the lunchbag. It will only take a few moments.

How to clean Insulated Lunch Bag

you will need:

  • Dish detergent
  • Water
  • Sponge/cloth
  • Toothbrush
  • Tea towel
  • Baking soda, optional

steps:

  1. Fill sink with warm water.
  2. Add a teaspoon of detergent, swish through water.
  3. Submerge the lunchbox into the water.
  4. Use the cloth to wipe over the lunch bag, paying particular attention to corners.
  5. Use the toothbrush to clean crumbs from zippers and remove dirt and food from seams.
  6. Rinse with clean water.
  7. Pat dry with a teatowel.
  8. Leave it on the dishrack to dry overnight, or better yet place on clothes line to thoroughly dry.
  9. If you find the lunchbag has a smell, sprinkle baking soda into the bag (into corners and seams) and sit overnight. Shake the baking soda out in the morning and wiped over with a damp cloth.

To remove stubborn stains:

Make a paste with baking powder and water, allow to sit over stain for as long as you can, then wipe away.

To remove odour:

If you find the lunchbag has a smell, sprinkle baking soda into the bag (into corners and seams) and sit overnight.  Shake the baking soda out in the morning and wiped over with a damp cloth.

It's best practice for the kids to unpack their school bag as soon as they get home from school. However there can be times that this doesn't happen, it's left overnight, over the weekend, or worst yet till the last day of school holidays (eew). If you are hit with a bad smelling, sticky or dirty lunchbag, here are my tips below on how to clean insulated lunch bags and remove odours.


ONE WEEK OF HEALTHY LUNCHBOX IDEAS FOR KIDS – Struggling to create a variety of healthy lunchboxes each day? Here are my top tips for packing a balanced lunchbox for kids and one week of lunchbox ideas, with a printable to help you plan a week of healthy lunchboxes for your kids.

It's best practice for the kids to unpack their school bag as soon as they get home from school. However there can be times that this doesn't happen, it's left overnight, over the weekend, or worst yet till the last day of school holidays (eew). If you are hit with a bad smelling, sticky or dirty lunchbag, here are my tips below on how to clean insulated lunch bags and remove odours.

GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE BEST SCHOOL LUNCH BOX FOR KIDS – I have trialled and tested some of the latest trending lunch boxes and lunch bags.  I’ve put together this guide to choosing the best lunchbox for your child at school details each lunchbox’s size and capacity, with pictures of food included so you can see how much it holds to help you make the right decision to suit your child.  Also listing what is the best lunch bag to fit the lunchboxes I’ve mentioned.

It's best practice for the kids to unpack their school bag as soon as they get home from school. However there can be times that this doesn't happen, it's left overnight, over the weekend, or worst yet till the last day of school holidays (eew). If you are hit with a bad smelling, sticky or dirty lunchbag, here are my tips below on how to clean insulated lunch bags and remove odours.

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3 comments

Toni Underwood April 11, 2017 - 9:02 AM

I wash the kids lunchboxes on the top shelf of the dishwasher then place in the sun to dry.

Reply
Amanda July 10, 2017 - 5:13 PM

I use the Go Gourmet lunch bags. They are made from wetsuit material and are flat so that they have no corners or crevices for gunk to build up. They are easily washed in the machine.

Reply
Nilsa De Leon April 8, 2019 - 8:47 PM

I bought a lunch bag for my son. But the smell of the material it’s made of is just to strong. The lunch bag is insulated but it’s the out side material smells like plastic but too strong.

Reply

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