Should You Wash Pre-Washed Lettuce?

photo copyI must admit that when it comes to preparing salads, I am one lazy princess! The mere thought of preparing salad greens and drying them with a salad spinner exhausts me, so I usually resort to buying pre-washed, packaged greens. My pre-packaged lettuces of choice are Olivia’s Organic and Earthbound Farms Organic Spring Mixes.

Since I’m already divulging secrets about my laziness in the kitchen, let me also divulge that I’ve been suffering from a chronic fear of poisoning myself, my family, and friends because I never wash those pre-packaged salad greens prior to serving. After all, the packages do say they are triple-washed, don’t they?

*Note: hand-scrubbing before handling is part of my routine.


If you wash lettuce that is already pre-washed you are more likely to contaminate it with germs and/or bacteria that is already in your kitchen, so it is best not to wash pre-washed lettuce.

What a relief!

This golden tidbit of information came from Dr. Richard Besser who appeared on today’s episode of The Dr. Oz Show to discuss his biggest food and safety concerns. Dr. Besser used to work for the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), but now he spends his time traveling all over the world to chase down the health stories everyone needs to know about in order to protect themselves and their families.

Other Safety Tips For Buying Pre-Washed Lettuce:

– Buy coldest greens (those furthest back on the shelf)

– Purchase lettuce five days from “sell-by” date

– Remove slimy, damaged or bruised pieces

– Store away from raw meat or chicken

These tips about handling and purchasing pre-washed lettuce are useful bits of information which I always wanted to know. Since Dr. Besser appears to have the qualifications necessary to provide these tips, I feel comfortable giving you this advice…

Be a lazy princess like me and don’t wash your pre-washed lettuce!





  1. I must say that this is a relief to know! Can we really trust that it’s been washed with clean water, though?

  2. Nice blog illuminating an important point that is not well known. I seems just as important, if not more so, to buy Organic lettuce in order to avoid pesticide contamination.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment! Yes, I agree that it’s very important to buy Organic lettuce in order to avoid pesticide contamination.

      • Mandy Deloera says:

        I live out in the country where there is a road splitting two farms in half. One side of the road is an organic farm and the other farm on the opposite side in not organic. Unfortunately, the non-organic farm is on a hill, which means all the pesticides, run underground and right into the organic farm. Don’t be so certain that the food your eating is better simply because it has a pretty sticker labeled “Organic”.

  3. Jenifer Stanton says:

    I don’t agree with this at all. There is an undeniable taste difference between washed and not washed ‘pre-washed mix’. What happens when you buy a head of lettuce from the store and wash it at home? It sits on the cutting board as you cut it, right? Exposed to air and anything else that contacted the cutting board. It’s like saying don’t cut a potato with your knife because the knife might be contaminated. What about half of the pre-packaged vegetables that instruct us to “Wash before use’? Won’t those get contaminated too? Dr. Oz is so ridiculous. Last time I checked, he was a heart surgeon. Viewers watch his show thinking that just because an expert comes on his show and says to do something that it must be done. Just like the 10 panel experts in the 1980’s that touted smoking was completely safe, right? And why is everyone forgetting the salmonella breakout last year that was found in ‘pre-washed’ veggies? Ya, have fun not washing. It takes literally 20 seconds. If someone is too lazy to wash something for 20 seconds, tehy probably shouldnt worry about trying to eat healthy.

  4. I recommend washing it because I just found a bug in my salad this morning from this very company. So it’s either they don’t do a good job washing it or they simply just spray is with a little bit of water. Either way I tossed the lettuce because the incident ruined it for me.

    • Dear Nick,
      Yuck, it’s never good finding a bug in anything you’re eating! But where there’s dirt and plants, there’s bugs. An extra washing may be advised. Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Vegan American Princess

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