Picture of ziploc bag washer
This is a really simple thing I came up with to try to solve the problem of how to wash a zip lock bag so it can be reused.

I usually feel very guilty about throwing out a zip lock bag when it's clearly still perfectly functional but just has some crumbs or something from whatever was in it last.**

I tried putting them in the dishwasher, stretching them around the prongs in the rack, but the force of the water usually sends them flying and they wind up at the bottom all rumpled up and soggy.  I also tried washing them in the washing machine, but then you have the problem of how to get them dry.

I looked online to see how other people had dealt with the problem and noticed a couple of clever products: the washywonder and this one: the bag-e-wash and wondered how I could reproduce them. 

**Note: mkambas made a good point which is you probably should  not try to reuse bags that have had meat products in them before

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Step 1: Materials

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vapour mask
hot knife
plastic bottle

Step 2: Remove the top of the bottle

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While wearing the vapour mask oudoors...

cut the top of the bottle off as indicated

Step 3: Cut a vertical slice window into the bottle

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Starting at the waist, carefully cut some slices into the sides of the bottle.

If you let the heat of the hot knife do the cutting, you can go relaxed and slowly and have straighter lines.

Step 4: Cut vertical slices around the bottle

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continue cutting vertical windows around the bottle, at least three

Step 5: Cut off the bottom of the bottle

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Cut away the bottom of the bottle as shown, leaving a margin of plastic for support

Step 6: Cut a slice into the bottom margin

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Cut a slit in the bottom margin of plastic as indicated.  This allows the structures to be stacked concentrically for storing.

Step 7: Time to wash that baggie

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Turn the zip lock baggie inside out.

straighten out any rumpled or folded edges as needed

Insert the prongs of the plastic form into it securely

Step 8: Top shelf

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Place the bag on the top shelf of the dishwasher with the opening facing down.

(Don't use this with a high temperature wash or other sanitizing features of your washer or it will probably deform the plastic too much.)

Step 9: Allow to dry

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After the dishwashing cycle is complete, remove the baggies with the form still inside and allow them to dry somewhere for a day or so.

I just put mine in a cupboard shelf

Once dry, remove the form and invert them right side out again. 

If they are still not quite dry, you can reinsert the form and allow the outside to dry this way also if needed.

Step 10: Hey it works!

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Clean baggies!  No hint of spice smell or previous contents, other than the writing, you would not know what was in there previously!

Step 11: Storage

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When not in use, you can wrap the forms around each other concentrically to save space.

what a great idea! I am like you foobear I always feel guilty about throwing a ziplock away! thanks :) Re: your bio: And the more stuff you have, the more it costs to build stuff to store your stuff and keep your stuff out of the weather, and the more it costs tax wise, and if it's in your house, you have so much stuff you can't clean properly, and your stuff spills out into the garage, then you need a bigger garage and house, and then you worry someone might steal your stuff and then you have to buy security cameras, and your kids left home so you fill up their rooms, til it spills out into the hall, on and on. But we do like our stuff lol just ask me! So I like your stacking idea as well!
I love this! But can't I just cut the bottles with a regular x-acto knife? I don't have hot knife.
foobear (author)  sparkleponytx1 year ago
sure, of course you could, but the hot knife just makes it easier..
artworker1 year ago
Damn this is a sexy idea!
foobear (author)  artworker1 year ago
cool :)
mkambas1 year ago
nice job and clear presentation, thx much.
frankly, i only recycle heavy duty freezer ziplocs that had no animal products stored in them. now i can wash/sterilize them with your method. i'm thinking of using a heavy-duty plastic cutlery holder (a tall cup with holes), the type that restaurants use to store and wash silverware!

like you, i fold them inside out too, wipe them with a clean towel, and repeat the process on the other side.

according to Ziploc's instructions on the package, you can microwave or boil-in-bag food in the freezer type bags, but not in the sandwitch ones.

the latter ones i just shake out for crumbs and use them in the garage for small hardware storage (bolts, nuts, etc.).

your instructable inspired me to find a new use for my plastic silverware holder. thanks very much!
foobear (author)  mkambas1 year ago
awesome! thank you