A: I live in a dry climate and I use the nut milk bag regularly for making nut milks, and I tested our Organic cotton nut milk bag for sprouting seeds. When my bag is hanging with wet seeds for sprouting, it dries fast (about 1 day). Even if my nut milk bag with sprouts was sitting in my fridge for a week, it does not have any indications of bacteria or mold.The very dry (desert) climate I live in, and my frequency of use may not be typical or similar to yours, so I have organized the following information as a reference guide to help you maintain your cotton/hemp nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
IMPORTANT: We strongly do not recommend to follow these methods if your Nut Milk Bag is sewn with synthetic threads and/or has glue at the end of the threads. Many (my investigation - buying and testing numerous bags tells me that it is ALL) bags are sewn with synthetic threads and most have glued thread ends, despite claims of: “organic cotton stitches”, "100% cotton" "cotton/hemp blend", “no glue”... and the like. Therefore, these bags are NOT 100% natural.
Sanitizing (boiling, soaking in vinegar, sun drying...) can damage the synthetic fibers, which can lead to chemicals and synthetic particles (plastic) ending up in your food. Synthetic (polyester, nylon) thread is not solid thread, it is made from many very thin fibers that are wrapped to make a single thread.
Brands that advertise as "100% natural" or "organic", but are sewn with synthetic threads and/or glue: Vitamix filtration bags (they are made by Vermont Fiddle Heads ), Cultures for Health, all or most Made in China nut milk bags: Marna Home Naturals, My Big Fat Organic Nut (milk) Sacks, Eco-Essence - recently changed name to LeCaze Co. and many more). NOTE: After we exposed these facts, some have changes their brand and/or seller account name.
Our video gives FULL details along with actual Textile Burn Test of threads.
NOTE: Both mold and mildew are part of the fungi (fungus) kingdom. We use the term 'mold' mostly in this article due to the fact that it is a more frequently used term.
If you are using your Bag for making Nut Milks:
- Properly cleaned - Make sure your nut milk bag is properly cleaned to remove any 'food' for bacteria and/or mold
- Fully dried - Make sure to fully dry the bag between uses. Drying time will vary depending on the ambient humidity level (moisture in the air) which can also change daily, and even throughout the day.
- Adjust for climate humidity
A) If you live in a dry climate it may be fine to simply hang dry your nut milk, making sure your bag is able to completely dry between uses.
B) If you live in a very high-humidity climate, your natural fabric bag (as well as any synthetic product) will be more susceptible to bacteria and/or mold growth. If that is the case, then I highly recommend that you follow the "Bacteria and Mold - Prevention" tips below.
- Sanitize - Using one of the listed below methods
If you are using your Cheesecloth for Culturing Cheese or Nut milk Bag for Sprouting
Since your cheesecloth or nut milk bag is wet/moist for longer periods of time than when used for making nut milks, you may want or need to follow the "Mold and Bacteria - PREVENTION & RESOLUTIONS" tips listed below, especially if you live in a high-humidity climate.
For sprouting, we recommend using our hemp nut milk bag, that is sewn with linen threads, since both of those materials are considered to be antibacterial, however you still need to follow the care instruction & mold and bacteria prevention.
Mold and Bacteria - PREVENTION & RESOLUTIONS
IMPORTANT NOTES: It is not required that you do everything listed below. You can use one method, several or rotating methods. All methods are for both your organic cotton/hemp: nut milk bag or cheesecloth. All methods are finished by rinsing well and fully drying before storing.
- Boiling Water - Place in a pan of water and bring to boil and maintain the boil for at least 10 minutes. Add 1 minute more for each 1,000 ft above sea level.
- Oxygen Bleach - I consider Oxygen Bleach to be an eco-friendly and non-toxic alternative to chlorine bleach. Oxygen bleach kills mold, mildew, bacteria and also removes stains. If you neglected your natural fiber cheesecloth or nut milk bag then oxygen bleach is the most economical and effective method to bring back to life a: smelly, moldy and stained, cheesecloth or nut milk bag. It can transform in just a few minutes a moldy/smelly cheesecloth or nut milk bag to a fresh, like new condition. But there is a downside for this method, oxygen is oxidative and overusing oxygen bleach will weaken the fiber and result in fabric that is less durable, so we suggest to use it only as needed, not as a regular cleaning practice, and overuse would void the product warranty that we provide.
For food safety use, I recommend avoiding any oxygen bleach product that has more than 1 or 2 ingredients (sodium percarbonate (oxygen bleach) and sodium carbonate), if you do not know that the ingredients are considered food safe or does not fully disclose all ingredients.
Oxygen bleach is very strong and should be used only per instruction (use recommendation for stain removal) which should be included on your oxygen bleach package. For faster and better results use very hot or boiling water. If you do not have the instructions, here is my slightly changed instruction using oxygen bleach (from the Sprouts Farmers Market Oxygen bleach package):
1. Mix ½ tablespoon of oxygen bleach, with 2 cups (16 oz) very hot or boiling water.
2. Soak your nut milk bag and/or cheesecloth for 1 to 5 minutes - or as soon as you see the mold, and/or stains have disappeared.Any used/leftover oxygen bleach can be used for spot/stain remover from clothing, carpets... and even as a tile grout cleaner. Or just a laundry booster for whites.
3. Remove from Oxygent bleach and rinse your nut milk bag/cheesecloth very well.
4. Fully dry your nut milk bag or cheesecloth before storage.
Where to buy Oxygen Bleach? - I have seen several many brands where common laundry detergent is sold, but most of them do not fully disclose all ingredients. In my city (Las Vegas, NV, USA) I have found an oxygen bleach product with only 2 ingredients in the store Sprouts. Online - Amazon has a few brands with what I consider safe ingredients.
Salt - Soak in a salt solution (aka saline solution) or 1/4 cup or salt in 2 Cups of water (hot) for at least 30 minutes. Used/leftover saline solution can be reused for soaking other clothing items or shoes, to removing odors caused from bacteria.
Vinegar - Let soak for at least 20 minutes. Use undiluted/full strength (usually sold as 6% solution) vinegar. Vinegar is a mild acid which many resources say can kill 82% of mold species. Used/leftover vinegar can be used for any cleaning (floors, toilet). Vinegar is especially good for cleaning mineral build-ups in sinks, toilets, shower heads (remove and soak) and faucets. Vinegar is also great as a hair or fabric conditioner/softener.
Sun - Hang in the direct sunlight, either outdoors or indoors (glazed and tinted windows will not work). The ultraviolet radiation from the sun will reduce and/or kill most molds. Although this is free and completely eco-friendly method, you may need to expose all four sides (two outside and two inside) to be fully effective.
We DO NOT Recommend
- Tea Tree Oil - Although it is a natural product it will leave a distinct and possibly permanent smell to your nut milk bag
- Chlorine Bleach - Toxic for humans and the environment
- Ammonia - Toxic for humans and the environment
- Borax - Not suitable for food products.
DISCLOSURE: These are suggestions only. We are not responsible for unclean: equipment, food or environments and/or spoiled food. This article contains Amazon affiliate links to our products or products that we actually use, and based on our research they are currently the safest, most eco-friendly and most economical available.
TO NUT MILK BAG SELLERS: Please STOP illegally copying our content... and YES includes your knock-off nut milk bags instruction and/or your free bonus e-books! Our content is copyrighted, it is illegal and unethical to copy other people work to profit with your fake organic nut milk bag business!