One of the many wonderful features of bento lunch boxes is their durability. Bento boxes can endure the rigors of long commutes and rough handling by school children. Unless your bento lunch box is a handcrafted work of art that needs special handling, your bento lunch box will last a long time with minimal care. Any part of your bento lunch box that touches food, especially food that is raw, can quickly become a source of contamination. Notwithstanding the durability and versatility of bento lunch boxes, your bento lunch box and one or more of its compartments can become so worn out that they should be replaced.
Plastic Bento Lunch Boxes
Plastic is one of the most durable materials for food containers, and it is also the easiest to maintain. Most are dishwasher safe. At some point, even the sturdy plastic food storage containers in a bento lunch box can wear out.
How do you know when that time has come? If any of your plastic containers appear cloudy, warped, stained, or scratched, it is time to get rid of it. Plastic can become so heavily scratched that it is impossible to completely disinfect it. Also, plastic containers are often used to heat food, then freeze it, then store it in the fridge. Being subject to those varying temperature conditions causes even the sturdiest plastic to break down.
Before you throw your plastic bento lunch box containers away, think about ways you can repurpose them. If the plastics in your bento lunch box are showing those signs of wear, you can use it for non-food storage. Your bento lunch box can make a wonderful organizer for your craft and hobby supplies that is also very portable. Or perhaps it can be a convenient way to manage your kids’ toys, your pet supplies, cosmetics, or small household items.
Also, make sure any plastic containers you are using for food are safe. Most bento lunch box containers are free of BPAs and PVCs. If you are using a plastic container with a #3 or #7 recycling indicator stamped on the bottom, your container probably has BPA and PVC. You should not use those to reheat food. You will want to replace them with containers that are free from those harmful materials. This would be a good time to shop for a new, food safe bento lunch box.
Finally, do not forget to examine the lids of the containers. If the lid shows signs of warping or cracking or it is no longer properly sealing the container it is time to replace the lid and probably the container as well. The purpose of having a bento lunch box is being able to keep the food fresh and prevent leaks that can ruin the entire contents.
When looking for a new bento lunch box with plastic containers, you will find that they are microwave safe. That means you can reheat food over and over again in the plastic containers without worrying about the toxins that might be in them. They will serve you well for many years before they need to be replaced.
Wood Bento Lunch Boxes
Wood bento lunch boxes are usually hand-crafted and beautiful works of art. Wood is naturally antibacterial, but when it gets scratched, it may harbor bacteria that can contaminate your food and make you sick. If your wooden bento lunch box has become dry or worn, you can condition it with a mineral oil or beeswax conditioner. Do not make the mistake of using olive oil or vegetable oil because they can go rancid. Nonetheless, conditioning your wood box will not prevent it from eventually splitting or cracking.
The maintenance necessary to keep it clean may be too much to justify using your wood bento lunch box on a daily basis. If you love the look of wood but worry about keeping it sanitary, or you are tired of the work it requires, you may want to opt for a bamboo bento lunch box instead. You can find a bamboo box with easy to care for plastic storage containers that will make your bento lunch box fun and more convenient to use.
Silicone Bento Lunch Boxes
Your bento lunch box may be made of silicone or use silicone containers. Silicone can last a long time, too, but it can develop an odor that cannot be eliminated with the most thorough washing. This may be particularly true of containers that hold frozen food. In the freezer, it is exposed to freezer burn, smells, and inconsistent temperatures. In fact, silicone is very prone to absorbing substances that can negatively affect the taste of your food.
Consult With The Bento Lunch Box Specialists At Kangavoo For More Information
If you are unsure about whether the time has come for your bento lunch box to be replaced, contact the experts at Kangavoo to learn more about proper care and maintenance. If you do need to replace your bento lunch box or any of its compartments, the folks at Kangavoo can talk to you about the many wonderful replacement options you have.