The Best Reusable Produce Bags for Your Next Grocery Run

Purifyou's Cotton Mesh Bags are the winner

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best reusable produce bags group photo simply recipes jacqueline weiss

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Before your next trip to the grocery store, don’t forget to grab your favorite reusable grocery bags—and some reusable produce bags to go with them. Produce bags are an easy way you can reduce your single-use plastic consumption, and you get to skip out on the frustration of trying to open plastic bags in the store. It's a total win-win! 

Made specifically with both shopping and storage in mind, there are a variety of bags on the market to choose from based on your needs to help prolong the shelf life of your produce. Whether you’re picking up goods at grocery stores or your local farmer's market, or even sustainable shops for items in bulk, buying a pack or two of these reusable bags will make shopping a snap.  

To help you find the perfect fit for your next grocery shopping trip, I took a look at several reusable produce bags on the market and picked what seemed like the best ones to test based on customer reviews and information available from each brand. I then put my picks to the test, looking at how much produce they held, how securely, the quality of the material, and more. Based on my testing, I chose purifyou's set of nine cotton mesh bags for their lightweight but sturdy material and secure drawstring lock.

Here are the best reusable produce bags on the market, based on my research and testing.

Best Overall: purifyou Reusable Cotton Mesh Bags (9-Piece Set)

5
 purifyou Set of 9 Premium Reusable Produce Bags

Amazon

What We Love: Drawstring lock, lightweight but sturdy, includes lifetime warranty

What We Don’t Love: Labels don't correspond with sizing

These BPA-free bags from purifyou top my list for good reason: This set of nine mesh polyester bags from purifyou may feel lightweight, but the double stitching and secure drawstring lock kept my produce safe and sound all the way home. While these cannot be used for fine dry goods, other grains such as rice will stay secure. I also liked that their material felt durable, washed well, and made the bags easy to store without being too bulky.

You can even use these to wash delicates in the laundry, strain homemade nut milks, and more! Purifyou even gives back with every purchase, with a portion of every purchase going toward building water wells across the world. Don’t love ‘em? Purifyou offers a lifetime warranty. 

broccoli purifyou reusable cotton mesh bags set of nine simply recipes jacqueline weiss

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

"The different sizes are not grouped together by accent color, but are generally easy to identify based on their shape."

Material: Organic unbleached cotton | Dimensions: 12 x 8 inches (small), 12 x 14 inches (medium), 12 x 17 inches (large) | Capacity: 3 broccoli heads (small), 5 broccoli heads (medium), 9 broccoli heads (large) | Number of Pieces: 9 | Machine-Washable: Yes

Best Budget: Organic Cotton Mart Mesh Produce Bags

4.7
Organic Cotton Mart Mesh Produce Bags

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Love: Budget-friendly, lightweight and breathable, easy to clean

What We Don’t Love: Single drawstring not as secure as other options

Looking for something straightforward that won’t break the bank? This set of six produce bags by Organic Cotton Mart gets the job done, even with a few minor issues, our tester says. "These were a bit similar to the Simple Ecology Muslin Reusable Produce Storage Bags I tested, but the quality of these didn't feel as nice," she observed. While the tare weight is helpfully indicated on each bag, the font on the tags is quite small. "This is the only one I tested that did not have it in a large font," she says, adding that color-coding the tags could be another helpful option.

Still, these budget-friendly bags got the job done, Jacqueline says. These machine-washable bags are double-stitched with a drawstring closure to last long and securely hold even the heaviest of bounties. While the drawstring felt a bit loose, our tester says all she had to do was add a knot on the bag and it stayed closed and secure.

"The drawstrings also felt slightly looser and less secure than some of the other cotton muslin bags that I tested. I just added a knot on the bag to make sure it stayed closed."

organic cotton mart reusable produce bags simply recipes jacqueline weiss

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 8 x 10 inches (small), 10 x 12 inches (medium), 12 x 15 inches (large) | Capacity: 3, 4, and 9 broccoli heads, respectively | Number of Pieces: 6 | Machine-Washable: Yes

Best Mesh: Ecowaare Zero-Waste Produce Mesh Bags (Set of 15)

4.7
Ecooware

Amazon

What We Love: Color accents correspond with bag sizes, lightweight fabric, easy to clean

What We Don’t Love: Could be a bit softer and less scratchy

These transparent mesh produce bags by Ecowaare allow your cashier to view your produce stickers without any hassle, all while doing your part to reduce plastic at a great price point. These lightweight bags come in three sizes. "I liked that these had color-coordinated accents to go with the sizes—something the other bags [I tested] didn't have," Jacqueline says, noting that this made sorting a snap. 

The bags dry quickly, thanks to the lightweight design—perfect for a quick rinse after use or drying after a spin in the washing machine. Your order ships in a coated paper envelope to reduce packaging, and you can easily pop smaller sizes within a larger bag when storing at home.

"These bags stretch more easily compared to the muslin cotton bags, which means the capacity can be a bit more, even when lined up next to a bag with the same measurements."

ecowaare reusable produce bags simply recipes jacqueline weiss

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 12 x 8 inches (small), 12 x 14 inches (medium), 12 x 17 inches (large) | Capacity: 3, 5, and 9 broccoli heads, respectively | Number of Pieces: 15 | Machine-Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Reusable Snack and Sandwich Bags

Best for Dry Bulk Shopping: Colony Co. Reusable Bulk Food Bags

4.5
Colony Co. Reusable Bulk Food Bags

Amazon

What We Love: Colored tare labels, double-stitched seam, ships in a recyclable box

What We Don’t Love: No drawstring lock

Produce isn't the only thing that your reusable bags can store—many of them are designed with bulk dry goods in mind. For grains, nuts, seeds, and more, turn to this set of six bags from Colony Co. on your next shopping run. Made from 100 percent certified organic unbleached cotton that has been certified food-safe and pesticide-free, you can rest easy knowing your goods are safe to be stored inside these double drawstring bags. 

Though the design of these bags is straightforward, it's the little touches that add up to help them make the cut for a top spot on my list: the brightly colored labels with tare weight and the double-drawstring closure, for example. Plus, brightly colored tare labels on each bag will make it easy to spot your desired bag before shopping and deduct the bag’s weight at checkout.

The only thing to note is that while I felt pretty secure using this bag for dry goods due to the double-drawstring closure, I did wish it had a lock like the purifyou and Ecowaare bags. You don't want to risk spilling, especially when it comes to carrying bulk items!

"I liked that these bags have a double drawstring closure compared to the single drawstring closure that other similar brands offered."

colony co reusable produce bags simply recipes jacqueline weiss

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Material: Organic unbleached cotton | Dimensions: 10 x 8 inches (small), 12 x 10 inches (medium), 15 x 12 inches (large) | Capacity: 3, 4, and 9 broccoli heads, respectively | Number of Pieces: 6 | Machine-Washable: Yes

Best for Leafy Greens: Simple Ecology Muslin Reusable Produce Bags

4.8
Simple Ecology Reusable Organic Cotton Muslin Produce Bags

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Love: Shipped in a manila envelope to reduce plastic waste, soft and high-quality material

What We Don’t Love: Only includes a single drawstring

Made from a natural and breathable fabric certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), your kale and other leafy greens will stay fresh longer in your fridge thanks to these bags by Simple Ecology. This pack of six contains three bags of each size that allow proper air circulation to keep your produce crisp inside. 

In addition for use with your favorite greens like lettuce and herbs, Simple Ecology recommends storing thin-skinned produce like broccoli and mushrooms inside these bags. Rinse your produce first and store it damp inside the bags for optimal freshness.

After testing, I found these was very similar in design to the Organic Cotton Mart bags—though these were slightly softer, and the drawstring was better quality. You can't really go wrong with a classic cotton bag for storing produce, but in this case, there are little details that could make things even better, such as the tare weight being in larger text, or the drawstring working more securely.

"These bags specifically mention working well with leafy greens and other thin-skinned veggies and fruit, which I initially thought before testing was a big claim—that it luckily lived up to! Wilted spinach or kale is one of the most frustrating things that can happen in my kitchen."

simple ecology simply recipes reusable produce bags jacqueline weiss photo leafy greens

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 8 x 10 inches (small), 10 x 12 inches (medium), 12 x 15 inches (large) | Capacity: 3, 4, and 9 broccoli heads, respectively | Number of Pieces: 6 | Machine-Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Food Storage Container Sets

Most Versatile: Five Two Organic Cotton Reusable Produce Bags (Set of 8)

4.8
Organic Cotton Reusable Produce Bags (Set of 8)
Courtesy of Food52.

What We Love: Unique design and color, has two different weaves

What We Don’t Love: Ships in a plastic bag

From Food52’s brand, Five Two, comes a beautifully designed set of eight bags in two weaves and three sizes to fit your needs from fruits and veggies to dry goods and bread. The organic gray dye stands out from a sea of transparent and beige bags while easily camouflaging spills and messes until you're able to throw it in the washing machine. 

Both the thick net weave and classic cloth bag close with a double pull drawstring to keep your produce secure. This was the only set with two different weaves that I tested, which made it an immediate 'Most Versatile' winner in my book. The thick weave and breathable cotton are both in that unique gray color.

The only downside is that this was the only one that shipped in plastic—hopefully there will be changes coming to ship these bags in more sustainable packaging.

"I don't think I would have been as drawn to these bags as I am if they had not been dyed gray, which I really liked!"

five two food52 reusable cotton produce bags simply recipes jacqueline weiss

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 11 x 8 inches (small), 13 x 11 inches (medium), 17 x 11 inches (large) | Capacity: 3, 5, and 9 broccoli heads, respectively  | Number of Pieces: 8 | Machine-Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Reusable Water Bottles

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Purifyou Cotton Mesh Bags, which can just as easily securely hold your dry goods as they can store your produce. Need something budget-friendly that still gets the job done? Check out the Organic Cotton Mart Cotton Bags

How We Tested

Our tester and writer Jacqueline Weiss did her research by sorting through the most highly rated reusable produce bags, taking a close look at user reviews and available manufacturer information, to choose her top picks. We then purchased the final products for Jacqueline so she could put them to the test in her home kitchen. She used a variety of produce (e.g., broccoli, leafy greens, carrots) or dry goods (e.g., popcorn kernels, oats) to fill each bag according to each one's listed capacity, assessing how well each one was able to hold its contents, how durable its material felt, whether each was able to close securely enough to avoid any spillage (especially during transit), how easy each was to clean according to its listed instructions, and other observations.

After testing, Jacqueline gave us feedback about what she liked and didn’t like about each product, rating each one on the following features: Material, Size, Design, Ease of Cleaning, and Overall Value. Learn more about how we test products.

ecowaare reusable cotton produce bags simply recipes photo jaqueline weiss

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

What to Look for In a Reusable Produce Bag

Material

Most effective reusable bags are made from materials such as cotton, linen, or hemp, which are breathable, natural fabrics that help air circulate when stored in the fridge, says Sylvia Fontaine, the CEO and founder of Feasting at Home, based in Spokane, Washington. Annie Singer, founder of Reciple, agrees: "Muslin is the ideal fabric to store produce to keep it fresher longer because it provides just the right amount of airflow.” Some reusable bags are also made from polyester and nylon, which are not biodegradable options, but offer more stretch and flexibility with the sizing of your bags. 

"Your produce bag should have a wide weave so air can circulate, but not so wide that small tomatoes or berries would fall out," Fontaine says. "Lettuces and herbs can actually be washed and then placed back in their produce bag before going in the fridge, which will keep them fresher longer than in plastic," she adds.

Size

Luckily, the tare weight is usually very low due to the construction of most cotton and polyester produce bags. This weight is included on a tag on the bag so it can be subtracted from the total weight with the contents inside, and you are not being charged for the bag and only the product.

Each of the bag sets tested here come with a selection of bags in various sizes to best fit your produce, from small berries to larger veggies, and it’s easy to store them inside each other and bring to the store as a set. Muslin bags will not have as much stretch as a mesh polyester option, so the capacity may not be as much, even if the bags are the same size and tare weight.

Design

Most cotton muslin bags will have a small tight weave to keep smaller items and freshness from escaping, which makes them a good option for storing items directly in the bag until it’s time to eat. Polyester mesh weaves will allow for more airflow. If you are not planning to only use your bags to transport your produce from the store to home, the weave may not matter as much.

As for the closure, most bags have a single or double drawstring that keeps everything inside. Each of the polyester mesh bags we tested have a semi-sheer design that allows you to see the contents of your bag and a drawstring bead that glides easily to secure the drawstring.

Ease of Cleaning

Luckily, most reusable produce bags are machine washable for easy washing. Fontain says: “I throw my produce bags in the laundry after using them in the fridge, and they come out clean every time. I don't personally mind stains from berries or greens, but if you do mind, you can always bleach your bags or use a stain remover like OxiClean to remove stains."

colony co reusable produce bags simply recipe sphoto tags jacqueline weiss

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

FAQs

Are reusable produce bags worth it?

One of the biggest benefits of reusable produce bags is that it cuts down on individual consumption of single use plastic bags. Every step counts toward reducing waste, and purchasing these bags can help you easily do so!

How do I clean reusable produce bags?

Most reusable produce bags on the market, and all of the ones tested here, are machine-washable. Take a look at the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended best practices, but you can generally throw your bags into the washer with gentle detergent and warm water. Since polyester is a synthetic material, opt for cool or warm water when washing. Leave them hanging to dry to prevent accidental shrinkage in the dryer. 

Why Trust Simply Recipes?

Jacqueline Weiss personally tested every produce bag in her home kitchen, consulted third-party and consumer reviews, spoke with experts, and considered functionality, design, and price.

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