Tips for Cleaning Fruits & Veggies

Tips for Cleaning Fruits & Veggies


In recent years, the United States has had several large outbreaks of illness caused by contaminated fruits and vegetables — including spinach, tomatoes, lettuce and most recently cantaloupe.



Federal health officials estimate that nearly 48 million people are sickened each year by food contaminated with harmful germs.  Although this is worrisome for anyone, it is especially frightening for chemotherapy patients.  The same chemotherapy drugs that help you fight cancer often times damage white blood cells which help protect your body from infections and other illnesses.  And when your white blood cells are low, a small infection can quickly turn into a major health threat.



So it’s super important for chemotherapy patients to clean their fruits and veggies well before eating.  In fact, I remember one nurse telling us that Alan should NOT eat any raw vegetables whatsoever when his counts were down and that we needed to wash any fruit or vegetable (including bananas, melons, lemons, etc) before cutting into it.



Everyday Health posted these Tips for Cleaning Fruits & Vegetables that we followed religiously…. and candidly I still follow this even now….

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
  • Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  • Wash produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.  (this includes oranges, melons, bananas, anything you would peel or cut into.)
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
  • Throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.
  • All perishable produce should be stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below.

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4 thoughts on “Tips for Cleaning Fruits & Veggies

  1. Kristi Kramer

    I just wanted to leave you a quick note tonight. I am in chemotherapy with a lady named Deb from Charlotte NC. She was the one that told me about your website. I am pretty good at doing research and I thought there was no way that anyone could have more info than I have. That is until I came here. I am amazed at all of the resources that you have listed here. I look forward to each of your articles. When I was there today at treatment, Deb had a friend come stay with her and she said that she was your sister in law. She told me her name but I didn’t remember it. Just wanted to let you know that I have been lurking and enjoying every article you post. Thanks for all of your hard work. Please keep adding to it. It means alot to me.

    1. Robyn Post author

      Hi Kristi! It’s so nice to “meet” you. My sister in law is named Sue and she is an angel. Deb is great too! Sounds like you are an amazing advocate for yourself. Stay strong, be positive and if there is anything at all that I can do to help out, please let me know. There are so many incredible people and organizations who want to help cancer patients & their families, but it’s not always easy to find them… so my hope is to help people by making some of the research a little easier to access. If you’d like a blanket, please contact Layers of Love at They can send you one directly. xoxoxo and light to you! Best, Robyn


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