How to Wash Vegetables and Fruits Properly

The risk of foodborne diseases has increased in recent years. Foodborne diseases can be eliminated, especially in vegetables and fruits by washing them. There are other reasons why you should wash your products before eating them to avoid ingesting pesticide or E. coli outbreak. Always wash them just before eating or cooking because washing them early can speed up the rate of spoiling. Remember no soap is required when washing fruits and veggies to avoid the aftertaste. When buying farm produce, choose organic foods whenever you can because they are less contaminated with pesticides. Sometimes it might not be possible because of the prices. Some organic foods cost three times the normal price. Let’s look at how to wash vegetables and fruits properly.

Use Running Water

Almost everyone washes their produce with cold running water. This method has proven to remove some pesticide residues. At a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment, scientists found that washing vegetables or fruits with running water removed nine of the 13 tested pesticides.

If you’ve tried to use produce cleaners instead of water, you will find out that plain water works better. However, there are other alternative liquids that have shown to be more effective than plain water. But they always use water to dilute the liquid. When using plain water there is no need to use scrubbing brush, especially for veggies since it will only tear them apart. Plain water is mostly used to clean organic produce because they contain less to no pesticides.

Use of Salt, Vinegar, and Water

Salt water is known to be a pesticide killer. In a research to compare which solvent is more effective, the vegetables were washed for 20 minutes in vinegar, a saltwater solution and plain water. They wanted to eliminate four pesticides, chlorpyrifos, DDT, cypermethrin and chlorothalonil. It was proven that ten percent salt water solution was more effective than plain water. Vinegar was equally effective but it required more of it which is expensive, plus it leaves an unwelcoming vinegary taste. Therefore, vinegar isn’t the ideal home produce washer.

Baking Soda Works the Best

Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food chemistry compared the effectiveness of plain water and a baking soda solution. Baking soda emerged the winner as it was very effective at removing pesticide on the surface and beneath the skin of the fruit or vegetable. Soaking your produce with a very weak baking soda solution of one-ounce baking soda and 100-ounce water does miracles. The baking solution completely removes all the pesticides within 12 to 15 minutes. Now, how should you use this baking solution to wash your vegetables and fruits?

1. For leafy greens

Most people normally wash their vegetables for a couple of minutes which is much less than mentioned above. But as we understand using baking soda will be more effective no matter the time. But to do it the correct way, follow the steps below when washing your greens:

  • Add your greens and water to a salad spinner. If possible, fill the spinner completely.
  • Measure a teaspoon of baking soda and add to the mix.
  • Let the greens rest for a minute, dump, swish, rinse and then spin dry.
  • If you don’t have a salad spinner, you can use a bowl and then rinse, drain and pat the leaves dry. ”

2. For Fruits

Fruits such as apples, cherries, and nectarines can be washed using baking soda the same way as the veggies. Berries can be washed in a mesh strainer and patted dry using a kitchen towel or paper towel just before you eat them. When you get home from the grocery, you always feel the urge to rinse the berries. But doing so increases moisture and accelerates spoilage, microflora, and mold. That’s why you are advised to wash them immediately before eating them. ”


Alternatively, when eating fruits, you can opt to peel them since some bacteria may not go beyond the skin. Also, salad vegetables require more attention when washing them because they are consumed raw. Remember to avoid any commercial chemical washer advertised as the best way to keep fresh fruit and vegetable safe at home. These commercial chemicals contain harmful substances which can cause more harm than good to our bodies. For pregnant women and children, shop for organic produce every now and then to avoid the pesticides listed above. All in all, this shouldn’t cause any worry because soaking them in baking soda has proven to keep the food safe. For great health and glowing skin, eat lots of clean veggies and fruits.

All images by Pixabay


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