Your kids’ lunch bags go through a LOT in a school day. From half eaten vegemite sandwiches to hommus smeared into every nook and cranny, you start to wonder if the healthy lunch you packed was even eaten! Either way, your kids’ insulated lunch bag is something they use every single day so it’s important to keep it fresh, clean and free of any nasty germs.
We’ve put together our top tips for how to clean an insulated lunch bag and help them last longer. But before we dive into that, let us take a quick look at what an insulated lunch bag is made from and how they keep your kids’ food chilled all day long.
What are insulated lunch bags made from?
Insulated lunch bags preserve heat and freshness better than traditional school lunch boxes. They have multiple layers of insulation which stops your food from going bad during the school day.
Many insulated lunch bags are made with an inner lining of foil, heavy vinyl or plastic that reflects heat. Here at Spencil, we always want to make sure our products are free from any nasty chemicals that could potentially harm your children. That means we have made a very conscious decision not to put any anti-mould coating on our lunch bags or any other Spencil products. Our insulated lunch bags are made with food-safe aluminum lining that is both BPA and lead free.
Rather than absorbing heat, the insulated materials reflect the food’s radiated thermal energy back and allows it to escape the bag. Because of this, the food inside an insulated lunch bag retains its original temperature, flavour, and moisture for longer, making them perfect for school lunches.
How to clean kids’ insulated lunch bags
Whilst an insulated lunch bag is a must-have for school, kids’ insulated lunch bags get grimy, smelly and dirty, just like anything else your children get their hands on! With a little care and a good school routine, you can keep your kids’ lunch bag looking and feeling fresh. Here’s how to easily clean your kids insulated lunch bag.
- At the end of every day, empty the lunch bag and shake out any leftover food scraps or crumbs.
- Wipe over the inside and out with a splash of vinegar on a wet cloth.
- If you have a Spencil Chill Pack, wash the black outer cover regularly in warm soapy water and thoroughly wipe over with vinegar before drying out completely.
- Your Spencil Lunch Bag can be washed in the washing machine. Not every day, but do give it a regular gentle cycle wash on its own.
- Add a cup of white vinegar to your machine wash to kill any mould spores that may have developed.
- For added protection or to treat any mould that may already be visible, soak your lunch bag in a bucket of water with a cup of vinegar for at least an hour before rinsing or putting through a washing machine gentle cycle with additional vinegar or your normal detergent.
Drying your school lunch bag
After giving it your daily wipe-over, air your open bag on a drying rack or on a clothesline each night, either hanging or standing on-end. Ensure there is plenty of air-flow where you’ve chosen to dry it.
Wherever possible, dry your school lunch bag as well as the Chill Pack black cover in the sun. Dry it with all print sides of the bag facing the sun, either pegged to a clothesline or upended on a drying rack. Inner padding can take longer to dry out than the visible lining and exterior fabric. So we recommended overnight drying before placing it into the confined space of a backpack for the day.
Removing odours from kids lunch bags
If you find your kids’ lunch bag is getting smelly, you can remove the odour with a quick home remedy. Use a mixture of baking soda and water and let it sit overnight so the grains can absorb the odours. Rinse it out in the morning and allow the bag to dry thoroughly in the sun.
Can an insulated lunch bag be machine washed?
Whilst some kids’ lunch bags can stand a washing machine’s harsh spin cycle, it always depends on the material of the school lunch bag. Check the care label/instructions of your lunch bag to see if it’s safe to machine wash.
Spencil lunch bags are made from high quality fabric and materials that can tolerate machine washing. We recommend washing your insulated lunch bag regularly on a gentle cycle to help prevent odours and mould that can build up over time. Add a cup of white vinegar to your machine wash to kill any germs.
Can you wash a lunch bag in the dishwasher?
Although you can wash a neoprene school lunch bag in a dishwasher, it is not recommended as the inside of the fabric is not properly cleaned in a dishwasher cycle. For this reason, it’s better to handwash your lunch bag so the surfaces can be thoroughly sanitised.