5 Easy Steps to a Clean Lunch Bag

Kids are hard on things, especially when left to their own devices. Case in point – the mound of backpacks and leaking lunch bags that get thrown onto the dirty carpet at my son’s after school care – Yuck!

pile of dirty backpacks

Just a few months into the school year and he’s got holes in his backpack dirty carrierand his lunch tote looks like this (doesn’t smell too pleasant either):

… and who knows where the grime came from – I’m sure it was him but that carpet is highly questionable!

When it comes to lunch tote grime, there are a two options:

  1. Buy a new one
  2. Get cleaning!

If you choose to throw up the white flag and get a nice, new, clean and pretty lunch tote, click here.

If, however, you choose to fight the grime, we’ve got some suggestions here:

For deep down stains, you may need to pre-treat. You can use a mild detergent or make your own stain remover by mixing a little baking soda and vinegar together (1tbsp baking soda + 1/4 cup vinegar).

deep clean ingredients


baking soda and vinegar


After enjoying the fun of watching your mixture fizz up, grab your sponge and get scrubbing!

deep clean






Now that your deep down stains are taken care of, it’s time to do an overall clean. Here you’ve got two options:

Run it through the dishwasher – Put it on the top rack, turn off the heat boosters, and let your machine do it’s thing.

— or —

Fill a tub with warm, soapy water. I like to add a little vinegar to help alleviate the stink.

soak ingredients





Give it an extra overall scrub and then let it sock for about 30 minutes.


Once it’s done soaking, wipe your carrier dry with a towel and then open it up and put it out in the sun so that it can dry completely.

If, after drying, your carrier still has a bad smell, drop a few of your favorite smelling tea bags inside of it, close it and let it sit over night.

tea smell


tea bags in





In the morning, be sure to take the tea bags out before you send the bag off with your little one – otherwise, they may think you’re a little cuckoo (I learned from experience).

Now you should have a crisp, clean, nice smelling lunch bag that you’re not afraid to touch. Keep the cleanliness up by wiping the bag with a damp towel at least once a week and always allowing it to dry completely after spills.

If your carrier is still looking a little sad or smelling a little bad, purchase a new one today!





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