Should you wash veggies and fruits with soap?

Windmill baby how to wash produce safely


One of the many complications Covid-19 has introduced in our lives, is how to take proper precaution while handling groceries, parcels and other items from outside our homes. We cannot stop buying groceries, but we can certainly be more careful with the way we handle them to ensure that we minimise any risk of infection to ourselves and everyone at home.

While it is relatively easier to wash and clean packaged products, what should we do about fruits and veggies that are often unpacked and eaten fresh? Here are some tips that we hope you might find useful.

You should absolutely wash all fruits and vegetables before consuming. Unwashed produce can have all kinds of dust, bugs, filth and germs that can be harmful for you if consumed. However, please remember that produce skin is not laminated with plastic! It is natural, gentle and porous, so it will absorb any soaps or chemicals that you may use on it.

One new routine that a lot of households have recently adopted is to wash produce using dish washing soaps and other such products available in the market. We strongly recommend against washing produce with soaps or other cleaning products. There is ample literature that warns of the risk of using soaps and other detergents on produce, these chemicals go deep into the tissue of the produce and from there go straight into your bodies where they can do much harm. In fact, the American FDA has not endorsed the use of any washing products on produce.

Here are some things that you can do to keep your family safe:

  • Wash your hands with soap well before cleaning fresh produce
  • Wash all produce before cutting to ensure that any germs don't contaminate your cutting board and knives
  • Soak leafy vegetables in slightly warm brine water for a few minutes to remove pesticides, worms and farm chemicals
  • Wash all produce thoroughly under running water; again please don't use any soaps or washing products
  • For fruits with hard surfaces, feel free to use a scrubber to scrub its outside

There you go - it is super easy to clean your fruits and veggies, don't over complicate it :)