Wash and Wear

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The daily, post-preschool ritual of scrubbing icky PB&J from Junior’s plastic Diego lunchbox can get pretty tiresome. Seems like life would be much easier if you could just throw it in the wash. Enter, Dabbawalla Bags, a line of colorful, cleverly-designed lunch bags and backpacks created by West Seattle mom Susan Givens. And, yes, since the bags are made of a sturdy-yet-flexible neoprene, they can be washed — over and over again. In fact, last year when Givens created her prototype lunchbag — a Cow desig82n which her son carried to preschool — she marked on a wall every time she washed it. More than 200 marks later, she says the bag “looked as good as the day I got it.”

Handmade in a woman-owned, women-operated facility in rural Taiwan, the bags feature cushioned handles, reinforced seams, and big zippers, which are easy for kids to use. There are four lunch bag designs –the Apple, Cow, Watermelon and Ladybug — and four backpack designs — the Elephant, Dog, Penguin and Stoplight.

Givens, a former travel industry exec who spent a lot of time in India, channeled the name of ‘dabbawallas,’ the clever, bike-riding guys who use a complex system to efficiently deliver lunches to thousands of office workers. It’s an appropriate name, given that durable Dabbawalla Bags are bound to make your lunch delivery (even it’s just a couple of turkey or tuna sammies) more efficient, too.

Dabbawalla Bags Lunch bags, $38; Backpacks, $48
Available at www.dabbawallabags.com