You Shouldn't Trust Pre-Washed Greens—Here’s the Quickest Way to Clean Them

In a nutrition course I took in college, one professor insisted that we all wash our pre-washed salad greens before eating them, even if they’re labeled triple-washed. The horror story she gave us detailed an unfortunate customer finding a dead, chopped up BAT in her “pre-washed” bag of shredded lettuce. 

If you don’t believe my story, there are plenty more on the internet to support the case. One woman found an entire lizard in her bag of Trader Joe’s kale, and that’s not the first time a lizard has been the cereal-box-prize in a bagged salad. 

Even if you religiously scrub your fruit, making sure to wash everything, including your avocados, you might be overlooking the most bacteria-laden produce in your fridge. 

WATCH: How to Make All Things Green Salad

As much as we’d rather ignore the issue, “triple-washed” can’t always be trusted, even though you’re paying more for the pre-washed varieties. The same goes for fresh herbs. We’re not germaphobes over here, we just like our salad greens to be without-a-doubt clean… and we prefer that they consist solely of greens. I’ve never once been in the mood for lizard salad. 

To keep the process as convenient as humanly possible, here’s the quickest way to cleanse your veggies, whether they’re triple-washed, ready-to-eat, or straight out of the farmer’s market harvest. 

Related: The Hardest Places to Clean in Your Kitchen and How to Clean Them

With a salad spinner, this entire process is way less of a hassle. Starting with clean hands, dump the bag of greens into your salad spinner basket and fill the whole tub with cold water (if you don’t have a salad spinner, you can use a large bowl for washing and place a large colander inside for easy draining). Gently squish and soak the greens in the bowl, then drain the dirty water. Repeat the process a few times, until the water pours out clean. 

Fill the bowl again and add a few spritzes of fruit and vegetable cleaner (if you have it) or a splash of white vinegar. After swishing the cleaner around and soaking the salad mix for about 2 minutes, drain the water and rinse the greens with cool running water. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or by spinning the produce in your trustee salad spinner. (If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of the salad spinner.)

Tedious as it may seem, this method will ensure that dirt and bacteria hiding in the leafy crevices are completely washed out. It’s also a good way to make sure no unexpected guests made their way into your dinner. 

Now, try your clean greens in one of these delicious recipes: 15 Easy Dinner Salads

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