Why you shouldn't keep reusable shopping bags under the sink

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Storing reusable bags under the kitchen sink may be convenient, but it could be creating a large and unsanitary problem for the entire household.

The popular carry bags have created a whole new issue of their own since a rapid growth in popularity off the back of the 2018 Woolworths and Coles’ single-use bag ban.

This is largely due to them being attractive nesting grounds for cockroaches, adding extra incentive to the already warm and cosy atmosphere provided by the darkness beneath the sink, according to ABC Pest Control Sydney director Warren Bailey.

“It’s just where they love to nest because it gets warm under there and the plastic just gives them a breeding ground,” Mr Bailey told Yahoo News Australia.

Australians have been warned not to store reusable bags under the sink or in warm, dark places like the cupboard. Source: Facebook

The first time he noticed the notable increase in numbers of cockroaches under people’s kitchen sinks was shortly after Aldi rolled out cloth reusable bags.

“If I went to a job and saw an Aldi bag, I’d think to myself ‘oh no here we go’,” he said.

“They just love those cloth bags, and you get them quite a bit in the plastic ones as well.

“Even the old plastic (single-use) bags, if someone stuck them under the sink and left them there, the cockroaches would get into them as well.”

Mr Bailey said most Sydney residents would benefit from paying greater attention to the hygiene in their home, particularly given the colossal German cockroach season predicted for the summer period.

“If you keep things clean and put everything away properly, then you won’t have an issue,” he said.

Where to store your reusable bags?

Mr Bailey urged Sydney residents to discontinue shoving their shopping bags under the sink or near other small, dark and warm spaces.

“I wouldn’t put them next to the fridge or under the sink, I’d hang them up somewhere decent where they’re not going to get warmth from the sinks and dishwashers,” he said.

Reusable bags under the sink can attract even more cockroaches into the kitchen. Source: File/Getty Images

Often Mr Bailey would exchange photos with his colleagues of particularly catastrophic cockroach problems beneath the kitchen sink of unsuspecting residents.

“If it’s really bad they take photos and I always look at them and think ‘Jesus’,” he said.

When are cockroaches at their worst?

“It’s mostly in the summer. The hotter it is, the more active they’re going to be,” Mr Bailey said.

“I’m predicting onwards from January it will be really hectic with the German cockroaches. When the fires clear up, I reckon it’s going to ballistic.”

He said normally cockroaches hide behind fridges and other appliances, which would explain why they are a rarer sight during the colder months of the year.

“They want to stay in the warmth in places like behind fridge motors and the dishwasher.”

In Sydney, coastal locations like the Northern Beaches, and Bondi in the Inner East, were hotspots for major cockroach problems, Mr Bailey said.

A concerning image of reusable bags stored inside a kitchen cupboard highlighted a more disturbing issue after it was shared online earlier this year.

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