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How To Wash Fruits and Vegetables

Lots of people touch, sniff and sneeze on produce — from the farm to the grocery store. So even if you’re enjoying organic and local farmers market fruit and veggies, you’re bound to encounter dirt and germs (and some pesticide residues) from all the caring hands it passes through.

But don’t buy fancy produce washes. Make your own! It’s cheaper and avoids plastic containers.

Tip: Wash produce before eating, NOT before storing (which will make it rot faster).

Tip: Firm-skinned produce, such as melons and citrus fruits, needs warm water, a scrub and rinse. Soft-skinned produce, such as strawberries or grapes, needs a soak for a few minutes.

fruits veggies
Wash produce before eating, NOT before storing, to prevent rot.

Five ways to wash fruits and vegetables

Eco-friendly liquid soap

Choose a simple, unscented, liquid castile soap. Add a squirt to a sink full of water. It’s just like washing your hands to remove germs!

Eco-friendly dish soap

Use what you have with water, such as unscented and antibacterial-free dish soap, which meets these criteria.

Vinegar

Fill a sink with warm water and add plain white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), one part vinegar to four parts water. Soak, then rinse.

Vegetable glycerin

It’s a plant-derived, simple cleanser found at organic grocers or health food stores. Use with water to scrub produce. Rinse. Note: Add a squirt to a 500 ml spray bottle.

Soap nuts

Stir a few soap nuts into water to release the natural saponins in their shells. Make the solution as needed. Note: Soap nuts can be used a few times before composting — maybe do a load of laundry?

Sincerely,Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

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6 Purely Psychological Effects of Washing Your Hands

Washing your hands doesn’t just keep you healthier; it has all sorts of subtle psychological effects as well.

Hand washing sends an unconscious metaphorical message to the mind: we don’t just cleanse ourselves of physical residues, we also cleanse ourselves of mental residues.

So, here are six purely psychological effects of washing your hands…

1. Recover optimism

Washing your hands can wash away the feeling of failure.

In a study by Kaspar (2012) participants who failed at a task, then washed their hands, felt more optimistic afterwards than those who didn’t.

Unfortunately washing their hands also seemed to reduce their motivation for trying the task again.

Still, hand washing can help boost optimism after a failure.

2. Feel less guilty

In the mind, dirt is associated with guilt, so theoretically washing doesn’t just remove dirt, it also removes a guilty feeling.

One study had participants think about some immoral behaviour from their past (Zhong & Liljenquist, 2006). One group were then told to use an antiseptic wipe, and another not.

Those who washed their hands after thinking about an immoral behaviour felt less guilty. The antiseptic wipe had literally wiped away their guilt.

3. Take the moral high ground

Feeling clean directly affects our view of other people.

When people in one study washed their hands, they were more disgusted by the bad behaviour of others (Zhong, Strejcek & Sivanathan, 2010):

“…”clean” participants made harsher moral judgments on a wide range of issues, from abortion to drug use and masturbation. They also rated their own moral character more favorably in comparison with that of their fellow students.” (Lee & Schwarz, 2011)

So, when people feel clean themselves, they take the moral high ground and are harsher on the transgressive behaviour of others.

 
Wash your hands, wash your mind: recover optimism, feel less guilty, less doubtful and more…
 

4. Remove doubt

Sometimes, after people make the wrong decision, they try to justify it by pretending it was the right decision.

It’s a result of cognitive dissonance, and it’s one way in which people lie to themselves.

However, hand washing may wipe away the need for self-justification in some circumstances, leaving you better able to evaluate your decision the way it really is (Lee & Schwarz, 2010).

5. Wash away bad luck

Washing the hands can mentally wipe away the effects of perceived bad luck.

When participants in one study had some experimentally induced ‘bad luck’ while gambling, washing their hands seemed to mentally wash away their bad luck (Xu et al., 2012).

In comparison to those who didn’t wash their hands, hand washers carried on betting as if their bad luck was forgotten.

6. Guilt other people into washing their hands

Apart from its psychological effects, hand washing is the cheapest and best way of controlling the spread of things like colds and other infectious diseases.

So, getting people to wash their hands is really important.

To this end, a public health study flashed different messages onto the walls of public toilets as people entered, including “Water doesn’t kill germs, soap does,” and “Don’t be a dirty soap dodger.” (Judah et al., 2009)

The most effective overall message, though, was: “Is the person next to you washing with soap?”

So it seems when you wash your hands in a public toilet, you help guilt other people into washing theirs as well.

Not only are you staying healthy, you’re also doing a public service by shaming others into following suit.

A clean slate

All these studies are demonstrating that when we wash our hands, we also wash our minds clean:

“…the notion of washing away one’s sins, entailed in the moral-purity metaphor, seems to have generalized to a broader conceptualization of wiping the slate clean, allowing people to metaphorically remove a potentially broad range of psychological residues.” (Lee & Schwarz, 2011)

Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog.  
source: PsyBlog