Are Produce Washes Necessary?

June 16th, 2010

If you plan on peeling a vegetable, do you still have to wash it first? Yep, even the cute carrot you’re about to peel should be cleaned first, according to

The government’s food safety website doesn’t encourage using commercial produce washes though. And I agree! How about you?

I’ve never used a commercial produce wash. A study by the University of California-Riverside found that commercial produce washes were only slightly more effective than water alone. The researchers didn’t believe it was enough to justify the purchase. I’ve also seen no proof that the washes don’t leave a residue on food.

Plus, do you really want another bottle of stuff under the kitchen sink? It takes up room, costs money and uses up resources. Taking an unnecessary item off your shopping list always feels good, for your wallet and the planet.

Safety tips for cleaning produce

Whether you use a produce rinse or not, don’t use your dish soap or bleach to clean produce. Since produce is porous, it can absorb detergents or bleach really well. A rinse or scrub under running water is the best thing.

Produce should be washed right before you use it. Washing before storage may cause spoiling.

Happy washing, peeling and eating.

(image via stock.xchng)

Go Green! Use Ecopaper!

4 Responses to “Are Produce Washes Necessary?”

  1. Jennifer on July 9, 2010 10:52 am

    I’m torn. I’ve tested two produce washes and they DO seem to clean hard to clean stuff better than plain water – like gritty strawberries and really dingy carrots you don’t want to peel. BUT the part I’m torn on is that I can’t prove that the wash is doing anything. Maybe it’s removing more dirt and such, but how would I know without a chem set? I’m going to do some reviews on these washes soon though so we’ll see what I decide to say…

  2. Peggy on July 9, 2010 2:49 pm


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I guess my main concern is whether the rinse is leaving any kind of harmful residue on foods. I’ve never felt like water alone didn’t get my food clean, but I’ve never tried a produce wash either. Speaking of washing food, I know you were interested in the Preserve stuff. Just got an email that they have a closeout on their blue stuff, cutting boards and colanders. I love both, just haven’t gotten around to reviewing them yet. The smaller colander is my favorite. It’s so cute I use it as a serving bowl (for just me) after washing grapes 🙂

  3. Jennifer on July 21, 2010 3:50 pm

    I read somewhere that a water vinegar mix is a good thing to use to wash produce. I usually just use water, so I’ve never tried it but it seems pretty reasonable to me.

  4. Peggy on July 22, 2010 10:04 am

    Hi Jennifer. Sorry. I saw this comment yesterday, but forgot to approve it due to my crazy refrigerator issues 🙂 Yes, you can use a water and vinegar wash. Good point! Some recipes online say to include baking soda and lemon juice too. Guess I need to try this. I’ve always used water and not had problems, but vinegar can’t hurt.

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