Do you already think that chicken juice is the grossest? If not, let me tell you why it is: Raw chicken, and the juice it produces, can harbor bacteria like mpylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens, which can cause uncomfortable foodborne illnesses and, in rare cases, death.
While the chicken you get in the grocery store is typically packaged up pretty well, sometimes you get one that's not wrapped all that great, or the corner of a box in your tote punctures the wrapping, and you can get chicken juice in your reusable shopping tote.
If that happens, here's what to do.
1. Assess the damage.
Depending on when the leak happened, the juice could be on just the tote, or on your other groceries and car's upholstery, too. Yuck! As soon as you notice the leak, figure out what you'll need to clean. If the juice is all over your shopping tote, put the tote right into your kitchen sink or tub — a place that will be easy to disinfect once you've cleaned up.
2. Sop up the juices.
While I generally prefer reusable cleaning tools, this is a job for paper towels. Grab a handful and sop up as much chicken juice as you can from any surface it touched. Then throw the paper towels away. Be sure to follow your steps back to the front door or car to make sure there's no chicken juice on the floor!
3. Wipe down contaminated surfaces.
Follow up the paper towels with antibacterial cleaner and fresh paper towels, or antibacterial wipes. Take out any other groceries that were in the bag and wipe the exteriors before you put them away. If chicken juice got onto veggie bags, remove the bags and toss them. Hit all the areas on the floor, plus the door or car handle, with a swipe.
4. Launder the tote.
Toss the laundry bag into the washing machine and launder it with your regular detergent and hot water; let it air dry. For upholstery stains, tackle the spot with antibacterial dishsoap as soon as possible.
5. Wash your hands.
After handling all the cleanup, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap, for at least 20 seconds, before doing anything else.