Can Water Wash Produce Enough for You to Safely Eat It?

With water, can you wash your produce well enough to eat it safely? In short, yes, it’s actually recommended to simply wash fruits and veggies with tap water and no detergents. While you should wash your hands with soap before handling any foods, detergents such as hand soap or dish soap are not made with edibility in mind and should not be used on food. 

Washing Produce in Water for Safe Eating

It is recommended that food is simply soaked in tap water and washed off, with light scrubbing recommended for foods with tougher skins or shells, such as cucumbers or apples. It’s also recommended to dry produce off after washing it as this can help remove leftover bacteria.

It’s essential to wash the produce you buy before you eat it. You do not need to rewash items labeled as “prewashed”, but you can if you worry the produce might have been contaminated in the trip between the store and your kitchen. Washing produce can minimize risks of bacteria-related foodborne illness and is always recommended.

Signs That Produce Might Be Contaminated in the Store

We want to trust our local stores enough to believe that our produce will be clean coming from them. However, proper care is not always taken to ensure that produce remains uncontaminated.

If you’re worried that food in a store might be contaminated, use your senses before picking out your produce.

  • Look for discoloration, mold, or foreign materials on the produce.
  • Smell the produce. You might get a few funny looks, but that’s okay. If it smells off, don’t trust it.
  • Feel the produce. If you notice any especially soft spots or if it feels slimy, keep away.

There are some contaminants that cannot be seen, smelled, or felt, however. It’s important to always buy from reputable vendors and always wash your fruits and vegetables before eating them for maximum safety. 

Conclusion: Using Tap Water to Wash Produce Is Great for Safe Eating

Our produce is always going to have a bit of bacteria on it. It’s the nature of a living thing, to have both “good” and “bad” bacteria living in harmony on food, people, and animals. You’ll always want to wash your food to reduce the risk of getting sick from too much bad bacteria, but it’s not by any means necessary to sanitize your food before eating it. Using water to wash produce is recommended to help ensure you can eat it safely.

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