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Feb 14, 2013 09:12 AM

Do you wash "triple-washed" baby-kale or bagged salad?

If I casually run some water over it, is it really likely to make it any cleaner?

I'm totally comfortable just tossing it in the pan with butter because I'm heating it.

However, this morning, I was in a rush and tossed some raw "triple washed" baby kale in my vitamix with some frozen peaches and heavy cream (yum).

Was I taking my life in my own hands?

Living on the edge in Philly,

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  1. When they first were marketed, I didn't wash them at all--took the "pre-washed" advertisement at its word. Then noticed that many bags had a funky smell and/or texture, so began washing them thoroughly. During the wash, I also sometimes notice less-than-appetizing brown bits or slightly slimy bits, so I winnow those out, too, and I'm much happier with the final product. Doubt I'd die without the wash, but it's really a minor hassle, overall.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pine time

      This is exactly why the period of time I bought bagged salad or greens was very short. Slimy, smelly, no thanks.

      1. re: pine time

        I finally found an answer to the wash or not wash question that makes sense to me. The idea behind washing greens, even bagged, pre-washed greens is that you are DILUTING the germs. You aren't going to get them completely germ free, but several washings dilutes any harmful bacteria enough that it shouldn't cause a problem. And some studies I read find that using any of the commercial or homemade vegetable washes didn't really help much if any. So far I haven't had a problem just using the multiple rinse method.

        1. re: Webster68

          Interesting. With that logic, don't take an ant-acid with dinner because it is your stomach acid which kills the germs!

          1. re: Webster68

            Working in medical settings, we were told that it's the mechanical action of rubbing your hands together during washing that reduces the bacteria load even more than the soap & hot water. So, I do a rinse of the greens, but I also agitate them gently to maybe remove another x% of the gunk. That, and my Magic House.

        2. ATK did a comparison of prewashed greens and found that if you open the bag and wash them off there's actually more bacteria on them then if you just use them.


          4 Replies
          1. re: Davwud

            How exactly does that happen? Bacteria in tap water or unwashed hands washing?

            Please explain.


            1. re: mike2401

              I gave you all the information I have. It would be a question for them.

              You may want to read this though.


              1. re: Davwud

                Thanks for the link. Basically, they are saying; "Your sink or cutting board may be dirtier than the lettuce."

                I didn't initially get the reference to ATK.

                I understand now.


            2. I usually only buy the organic 50/50 spring mix/baby spinach or full spinach in the plastic boxes but no I don't usually wash them. I haven't died (or even gotten sick) yet.

              1. I'm sure it's just totally psychological for me. I wash everything, upside down and inside out...a total clean freak maniac. Another wash for a triple wash makes it even more clean. Go figure.

                1 Reply
                1. re: latindancer

                  Not trying to make you more germ phobic, but think about this:

                  When people are given the advice to wash their hands, it is to use lots of soap and warm water for like 30 or 45 seconds.

                  I think the way soap works (the regular kind, not anti-bacterial) is that the soap surrounds and binds to the dirt, and it washes off your hands.

                  Now think about salad or kale:
                  1) you are not adding soap.
                  2)You are not using warm/hot water.
                  3) You probably are not washing each leaf for 30 or 45 seconds.

                  How exactly (and by what mechanism) does splashing some water get rid of bacteria?

                  I wish they had do-it-yourself-at-home-irradiation, but they don't :-(


                2. I didn't used to wsh bagged salad, but then there was an E-coli outbreak from bagged spinach. It was from a grower in Northern California. Ever since then, I wash everything, bagged or not. Does anyone still believe that bagged stuff is totally safe?

                  I also like to rinse the bagged stuff just to refresh it a bit.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                    not trying to make everyone crazy, but imaging you had an E-coli contaminated plate, and you just rinsed it under cold water: would you really be comfortable eating off it? And, that's a plate, which is non-porous. Imagine dropping a chicken breast onto an E-Coli contaminated sidewalk: would you be comfortable just rinsing it off without soap and lots of hot water?


                    1. re: mike2401

                      Wet E. coli is less dangerous than dry E. coli.

                      It's like you can't get pregnant if you do it standing up.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Bahhaahahahhahaha thanks for the laugh ipsedixit!

                      2. re: mike2401

                        Not sure what you are suggesting I do or this response is directed at me.

                        Obviously, if I knew I had E-coli on anything, it would be scrubbed to within an inch of it's life (if it actually had a life).

                        Life is full of what-ifs, you deal with your fears based on your experience. My BIL had food poisoning over 20 years ago and it affected the way my sister washes her dishes (uses a washcloth on the hand-cleaned stuff instead of a sponge, everything else in the dishwasher; the washcloth eventually goes into the laundry machine). She is less scrupulous about other kitchen safety things (leaving food out on the counter longer than I would). Most new mothers freak about food that falls to the floor, some experienced mothers use the 5 second rule.

                        EVeryone uses the information they are given in their own way and deals with the consequences, if any.

                        1. re: mike2401

                          Never mind that leafy greens can absorb e. coli while growing, so the bacteria may actually be in the cells and can't be washed off.

                          1. re: mpjmph

                            Funny you mention that. I've always wonder why if you visit Mexico, they say not to drink the water. However, you eat raw fruits and veggies that absorb the water.