If you have a child, chances are you have come across the horror of a moldy lunchbox seal. The funk and gunk lurking underneath the rubber seal of your child’s lunchbox are enough to make anybody feel like they are about to lose their lunch, and they can be part of the many stressors for parents. Since it all hides within the cracks and crevices of the lunchbox, it can be easy to overlook, forget, and keep out of sight and out of mind. However, it is important to make sure your child has a mold-free lunchbox for many reasons and, if you’re sick of the battle with mold, keep reading for some great tips.
The Dangers of a Moldy Lunchbox
When dealing with your child’s lunchbox, it is likely that you only deep-clean it every once in a while or when there’s a major spill. But, here’s a fact that will shock you: 73% of fabric lunch boxes contain large amounts of bacteria and mold, according to a study by E-Cloth. This sickening statistic means that chances are, your child’s lunchbox contains much more than just their sandwich.
Some of the dangers that can come from a grimey lunchbox include:
- Itchy eyes
- Respiratory issues
- Food poisoning symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms if an infection begins
Just because your lunchbox has a shiny interior, doesn’t mean that all you need to do is shake out the crumbs or wipe up the spilled juice with a towel. Without using the proper cleaning and sanitizing methods, all you are doing is moving the bacteria around and letting it grow even more.
Understanding How a Moldy Lunchbox Happens
If all you are putting in your child’s lunchbox is food and it is emptied and dry at the end of every day, how does a moldy lunchbox even happen? Here is where it gets gritty:
- Dirty hands while packing and unpacking the lunchbox. It’s true: if your hands are dirty while you are packing your child’s lunch, this bacteria can transfer into the lunchbox. The same goes when your child is unpacking their lunchbox to enjoy their lunch — if they don’t wash their hands before they eat, the bacteria will stick around. In fact, in the same 2016 study by E-Cloth, there was a large presence of Staphylococci and Enterococci bacteria. These bacteria are dangerous and are usually found on toilets after they flush. Gross!
- Left in unsanitary places. Let’s face it, sometimes schools and daycares aren’t always the most sanitary of places. Think about all the times your child has caught a cold from a fellow student and brought it home. Harmful bacteria and mold may also be hiding in their lunchbox!
- Lunchboxes with spill-proof seals. Most lunchboxes that are designed to be leak-proof have a rubber gasket to seal the lunchbox. While this is helpful to prevent spills, it also opens the door to the perfect breeding ground for mold: Dark, moist, and forgotten about! These seals are notorious for hiding mold and bacteria in them, and they can also be difficult to clean on a regular basis.
How Do I Get The Mold Out?
Now that you are thoroughly grossed out by your child’s lunchbox, it is time to take control. Here are some ways to deal with the mold and bacteria before it becomes a bigger issue for you and your family:
- Clean after every use. This might sound simple, but it has likely become a chore that you’ve put on the backburner. Cleaning your child’s lunchbox after every use is one of the only ways to ensure the mold and bacteria stops spreading before it even begins.
- Don’t use chemical cleaners. It can be tempting to really blast that mold and bacteria away with harsh cleaners, but remember — your child’s food is placed in here! Leaving even the smallest residue of chemical cleaners can lead to issues over time. Instead, use a natural disinfectant like white vinegar.
- Keep it open and dry. Cleaning the lunchbox and letting it hang-dry isn’t a great solution — you’re just allowing mold to come right back after you’ve cleaned it out! Make sure you spend the extra few moments to dry it and keep it open and ventilated when not in use.
- Hand-wash instead of using the dishwasher. Dishwashers can’t get into those small crevices and folds of the rubber gasket, and if it does, it will just spread the bacteria and mold all around to the other dishes inside your dishwasher. The safest way to clean lunchboxes is to do it by hand.
If cleaning your child’s lunchbox daily and meticulously checking each fold and crevice just doesn’t seem realistic, there is another option. The Flex & Lock mold-free lunchbox is here to save the day! Our Flex & Lock lunchbox is designed to completely seal without the rubber gasket. Instead, the inner silicone plate doubles as a seal. Silicone is naturally mold-resistant, making it the perfect solution for your moldy lunchbox issues.
In addition to being mold-free, our lunchbox is BPA-free! The silicone plate is removable, easy to heat food in the microwave or oven, and super easy to clean. All you have to do is use soap and water or boil it for a nice, deep clean.
If you would like to be part of the Flex & Lock journey, click here www.innobaby.com/kickstarter to learn more about our product and to be part of our Kickstarter campaign to bring healthy and safe lunchboxes to families everywhere.