One of the main reasons people buy organic produce is to eliminate the risk of pesticides from their diet. Even with a good wash, however, you may still be paranoid that you can't get everything off. Since any produce — organic or not — is handled considerably before it makes it to the market, washing is a must. Especially during COVID-19, ensuring groceries are clean has become more important than ever. But the washing part can be a bit confusing. Is water enough, and should it be hot? Does produce need to soak or spin? Is vinegar, soap, or another type of produce wash needed?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you should always be washing your produce, whether there's a global pandemic going on or not. In order to remove pesticides, rub fruits and veggies while rinsing them with running tap water. For those concerned about coronavirus, simply rinsing produce this way removes about 90 percent of contamination. You should not use soap, bleach, or other cleaning chemicals on your produce, as ingesting them could make you sick.
While vinegar can be used to remove bacteria and viruses, it is not an official disinfectant and hasn't been scientifically proven to kill dangerous bacteria like E. coli and staphylococcus. If you'd like to try it, you can clean produce with a vinegar solution, like this homemade produce cleaning spray, then finish it up with a 30-second rinse under the tap. Done and done!
— Additional reporting by Michele Foley and Tara Block