How Should We Wash Fruit and Vegetables?

How should we wash fruit and vegetables?


Almost no food is 100% free of pesticides and even organic fruit and vegetables may contain traces of pesticide residues.


It is important to wash food to reduce exposure to foodborne illness and pesticides substantially. According to washing produce with water removes 9 of the 12 tested pesticides. However you can also use a little salt, vinegar or baking soda diluted in the water – with a 10% salt solution found to be as effective as full strength vinegar. Surprisingly baking soda came out tops. For most fruit and vegetables soaking for a short while in a relatively weak solution of baking soda is sufficient to clean prior to eating. (1ml per 100ml / 10ml per litre / 1 tablespoon per litre water).


Some items, like mushrooms, can be wiped clean of debris with a damp cloth and don’t need to be washed. Although, there seems to be some debate around this – we would love to hear your thoughts!


Produce high in pesticides according to Food Revolution include:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
Least pesticide contaminated produce includes:
  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Sweet peas, frozen
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms


The water used to rinse your fruit and veggies can either be re-used in the garden or to flush toilets. If you boil any produce the water, once cooled, can also be re-used – as long as there are no oils or fats added.


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Saving Water, One Flush at a Time

Put Plastic Bottles or a Float Booster in Your Toilet Tank
To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Or, buy a tank bank or float booster. This may save 45 or more litres of water per day. Be sure at least 14 litres of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. If there is not enough water to get a proper flush, users will hold the lever down too long or do multiple flushes to get rid of waste. Two flushes at say 9 litres are worse than a single 14 litre flush. Flush only when necessary, not after each visit.


Re-using water to flush toilets is also a very practical and efficient way to save water. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, for example:

  • Wash dishes inside containers and use water to flush – preferably rinsing water only if washing water is too oily and contains solids that could clog up flushing systems
  • Use shower and bath water. Catch shower water while standing inside a bucket when showering – a bit more tricky but you’ll be surprised how much you manage to catch
  • Install an Ecogator Greywater System and divert water into a holding tank connected to toilets. This is a more costly option, especially as you’ll need to adjust plumbing, however it is a lot easier to re-use bath, shower and laundry water this way. You can also attach a tap to the holding tank should you want to use the water to irrigate your garden. Just remember, grey water shouldn’t stand too long as odours and bacteria form – however the Probac Greywater Additive will extend time water can stand if needed. If the water is used and topped up through daily consumption then odours and bacteria will be minimal. More information about the Ecogator Greywater System is available on our home page.


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Laundry Time

Consider a High Efficiency Washing Machine
The most efficient front load washing machines use as little as 32ℓ per load, compared to a whopping 245ℓ for a traditional washer. A high efficiency (HE) washer should easily pay for itself over its lifetime in water and energy savings.


New Energy Star rated washers use 35 – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, seriously consider a water-saving frontload washer as opposed to a top loader. You get large capacity front loaders if required, some front load models are even available with a “laundry pedestal” enabling you to do two washes at the same time saving water, energy and time.


It all depends on your requirement and needs, determine which washer type will be a better fit for your requirements.


If you have to wash laundry by hand in the bath, why not consider using a BabyDam to reduce the volume of water required. The BabyDam can also be used to separate clean water from rinsing water. More information available via our home page.


Did you know that you could re-use your laundry water to irrigate your garden? Head over to our home page to find out more about the benefits of installing an ecogator greywater system.


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Washing Dishes

Opt for the Dishwasher Over Hand Washing

It may seem counterintuitive, but it turns out washing dishes by hand uses a lot more water than running the dishwasher, even more so if you have a water-conserving model. The EPA estimates an efficient dishwasher uses half as much water, saving close to 22,730ℓ each year. If using a dishwasher, there is usually no need to pre-rinse the dishes. There is a wide variety of capacities available to suit each household, or kitchen space.

Most dishwasher models have a variety of settings that can be used depending on how intensive the wash required is. For example, if you are only washing glass cups and mugs, etc. that aren’t very oily then an economical quick cycle can be used. Probac dishwashing liquid can be used instead of more expensive tablets or powders, kindly visit our home page for more information. For items requiring more intensive cleaning like pots, pans, etc. longer cleaning cycles can be used with powders or tablets.

When Washing Dishes by Hand, Don’t Leave the Water Running for Rinsing

If you have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a pan full of hot water. Dual-swivel aerators are available to make this easier. Rinse water can be reused to water your garden (if not too oily and soapy), and washing up water can be reused to flush toilets.

Whether choosing a dishwasher or washing by hand, ensure no food or too much fats or oils remain on dishes prior to washing. Raw fruit and vegetables can be discarded into a compost heap.

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Keep Water in the Fridge

Keep a Bottle of Drinking Water in the Fridge


Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a safe, reusable drinking bottle. If you are filling water bottles to bring along on outdoor hikes, consider buying a personal water filter, which enables users to drink water safely from rivers or lakes or any available body of water. A water jug with filter is also a great way to ensure your water is not only delicious, but clean.


Infusing water with cucumber, orange, mint, ginger, strawberries, herbs, spices, etc. not only tastes delicious but also has many health benefits. You could also consider keeping ice tea infused with fresh ingredients of your choice. A great, healthier alternative to expensive sugar loaded store bought drinks. It’s also better for our environment to re-use containers rather than single-use plastic and cans.


What is your favourite way to get your recommended daily water intake?


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Insulate Water Pipes

Insulate Your Water Pipes


It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

There are a few ways you can start insulating your pipes at home and office, just remember placing anything around a pipe increases the surface area that’s exposed to cold air. Therefore, whatever wrap you use must have a high insulating value in order to offset that factor. For example “pool noodles”, roof insulation, polystyrene, etc. can be used! Also, make sure materials are suitable to withstand heat emitted from pipes.


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Check for Water Leaks

Use Your Water Meter to Check for Hidden Water Leaks


Read the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. There are many causes for water loss and you might have to call in a leak detection professional. However there are some simple checks you can conduct in and around your home and office:

  • Check Faucets and Pipes for Leaks
    • Dripping taps / faucets are an easy way to spot a leak, and it’s amazing how much water will go to waste from one dripping tap / faucet. It is estimated that a small drip from a worn washer can waste 90ℓ of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of litres. Some leaks are easily spotted, but others take a little more effort to locate. Dry sinks and tubs thoroughly and allow to sit for an hour. If you notice wetness, you’ve found a leak. To find leaks from tap / faucet handles, dry the area around them before running water. You’ll see water collecting next to them if there’s a leak.
  • Check Your Toilets for Leaks
    • Another place to start establishing where a possible leak might be is your toilet as it won’t always be audible. Put a little food colouring in your tank / cistern. If, without flushing, the colour begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.


Not only can an undetected water leak cause major damage over an extended period, it will also encourage harmful mold to build up. Often above ceiling boards or within wall cavities giving the chance for mold to spread throughout. Symptoms of mycotoxin and black mold poisoning can appear similar to those of an upper respiratory tract infection, such as the flu or common cold. Water could also be entering your roof through cracked roof tiles etc, that water needs to be diverted into your gutter and rainwater harvesting tank if you have rather than into your home or office causing damage. The 2,000ℓ ThinTank supplied by Infinity Tanks is the perfect solution to rainwater harvesting, contact us today for a quotation.


Have you established a water leak at home or office? How did you establish and how did you repair the leak?


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