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Should I Use Soap or Other Cleaners to Wash Produce?

Should we use soap or extra cleaners to wash our fruits and vegetables?  According to UF/IFAS Extension, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the answer is no.

Soap and other detergents aren’t designed for us to eat and aren’t approved or labeled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use on foods.  It is found that the best way to reduce bacteria is to rinse the produce under cool running water.

Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

Photo by Manki KIm on Unsplash

Here is the best method:

  1. Wash the produce under cold running water to remove any lingering dirt and to reduce any bacteria that might be present.
  2. If there is a firm surface, such as on a melon or potatoes, the surface can be scrubbed with a brush.

We can save the soap for washing our hands!

Check out “Is Coronavirus a Concern on Fresh Produce?”  and “Washing Food: Does it promote food safety?” for more information.

2 Comments on “Should I Use Soap or Other Cleaners to Wash Produce?

  1. Wash fruits and vegetables with a vinegar and water solution. It will remove any pesticides that may be present. The solution is, one cup vinegar to three cups water according to the doctors. This is recommended by the American cancer society.

    • Boyd, thanks for your comment! It may help slightly, but make sure if you do this, to use a bowl or in a sanitized sink otherwise would reduce any benefit. Many of our sinks may not be sanitized so the running water would be the way to go. Also, running water can reduce the majority of surface microbes, and for most produce the incident of pesticides (over the safe limit) is low. Lot of things go into the mix! Thank you!

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