I often receive questions asking if Aquatabs can be used to wash and/or disinfect fruits, vegetables and produce such as salad mix, lettuce, celery, apples, strawberries, grapes, etc. The simple answer is yes but it’s important to realize the difference between making water safe before using to physically wash fruits and vegetables and making a high strength chlorine solution to disinfect fruits and vegetables. The first process ensures that the water used for the normal hand washing of produce is safe and will in fact not contaminate the items you are trying to clean, whereas the second process involves making a chlorine solution suitable for use in killing microbiological contaminants that may be present on the surface of the produce. I like to explain it as the difference between washing your kitchen cutting board with soap and water and then disinfecting your cutting board with chlorine bleach.

How To Use Aquatabs To Purify Water Before Using To Wash Fruits and Vegetables

Most of us wash our fruits and vegetables before eating them, a process that generally ranges from a quick rinse under the tap to a more vigorous wash with potable (clean, safe) tap water, a brush and perhaps a bit of detergent, similar to how we would wash our hands or perhaps the dishes. The intent of course is to wash away any physical dirt, wax, pesticides and most importantly any microbiological contaminants that may be present on the surface of the produce. Usually, we wash our fruits and vegetables with potable water that has come from a municipal water treatment system or a private well that has been routinely tested and proven acceptable. There are however situations where the water available is either suspect or known to be unsafe for drinking, cooking or even washing fruits and vegetables. Examples include:
  • During a boil water advisory where the tap water has been contaminated
  • While camping, canoeing, backpacking or hiking where the water is being drawn from a lake, river or stream and must be considered suspect. Click here to read our our previous blog post discussing the prevalence of viruses in our recreational waterways
  • During or after a natural disaster such as an earthquake, hurricane or typhoon where municipal infrastructure has been damaged, taps are dry and you must source water from nearby lakes, rivers and streams in order to survive
  • While travelling internationally in an area where the tap water or even the bottled water may be suspect.
In these instances where the water at hand is not considered potable or safe, it is important to first purify the water before using it to wash fruits and vegetables. Failure to ensure that your wash water is safe could lead to the inadvertent contamination of the produce that you are trying to clean. It should be noted that soap alone will not kill bacteria or viruses that may be present in the water. Aquatabs are an ideal solution for this situation and provide a means of quickly and easily purifying the suspect water before using to wash fruits and vegetables.
Purifying water with Aquatabs is faster, easier and generally less expensive when compared with boiling, filtering or treating with other water purification products. Choose from the most popular 49 mg tablet which treats 1-2 L (1-2 quarts) or the larger 167 mg tablet which treats 20-25 L (5-6 gallons). Click here for Aquatabs technical specifications or visit our web store to purchase online. Use as directed. Please note that the 167 mg tablets are not available in the US at this time.

How To Create A Chlorine Solution To Disinfect Fruits and Vegetables Using Aquatabs

While simple hand washing of produce with clean, potable water and perhaps a bit of detergent and a brush has been proven to reduce pesticides and microbiological contamination, the use of a chlorine solution to disinfect items after initial physical washing provides even further protection. Contaminants such as E. coli, Cyclospora, Hepatitis, Salmonella, etc. continue to find their way into the food chain with fruits, vegetables and produce being no exception. Such contamination leads to product recalls, widespread sickness and in some cases tragic fatalities. With outbreaks and recalls persisting from year to year, many consumers are choosing to supplement traditional washing techniques with chlorine disinfection for maximum protection.
Disinfecting fruits and vegetables in a simple chlorine solution is easy to do, inexpensive and can be done in 5 minutes or less. In addition to providing improved protection from serious illness, chlorine disinfection also reduces microorganisms responsible for spoilage, extending shelf life and reducing waste associated with early spoilage. Extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables through chlorine disinfection with Aquatabs makes travelling with fresh produce much easier when boating, hunting & fishing, backpacking, etc.
When the desire is to disinfect fruits, vegetables and other produce, generally accepted best practice suggests using a chlorine solution of 50-200 ppm along with a prewash, agitation, soak and rinse as described below.
Use the following charts to create an appropriate chlorine solution using Aquatabs.
  1. Remove as much dirt, dead or damaged leaves/stems and foreign matter from the vegetables and fruit as possible (brush or wash with potable water and/or a small amount of environmentally friendly detergent where appropriate).
  2. Prepare a suitable volume of chlorine solution in a clean sink, basin, bucket, etc. by adding the appropriate quantity of Aquatabs to the recommended volume of water as indicated in the chart above. Where possible, try to ensure that the temperature of the rinse water is greater than that of the fresh produce (ideally 10°C higher).
  3. Add the vegetables or fruit to the chlorine solution and agitate for a minimum of 30 seconds. Ensure that trapped air in vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower is removed. Soak for 5-15 minutes.
  4. Remove the produce from the chlorine solution and rinse well with potable or purified water. Shake off as much excess water as possible from the produce. If possible, spin dry or pat dry. Place in sealable plastic bags or an equivalent air – tight container and store under refrigerated conditions a (4 to 8°C) for as short a period as possible.
  5. Immediately before use, remove the fresh produce from storage and rinse with potable water.
Chlorine solutions are by nature highly corrosive; they should not be used on surfaces that are prone to rust. In addition, chlorine solutions are irritating to the skin and the fumes irritate the respiratory tract. For sensitive skin, use gloves or a utensil to minimize contact with any chlorine solution. These solutions should only be used with adequate ventilation and protective clothing.

Aquatabs and Chlorine More Information

Chlorine is a well known disinfectant, used in swimming pools, municipal drinking water treatment plants, emergency water purification, surface disinfection and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) systems in food production facilities, kitchens and hospitals around the globe. Aquatabs are effervescent tablets containing the active ingredient sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC). When dissolved in water, Aquatabs releases hypochlorous acid (measurable as free available chlorine). The biocidal capacity of NaDCC is far superior to other chlorine disinfectants such as Sodium Hypochlorite or household bleach.
Aquatabs offer the following distinct advantages:
  • Aquatabs eliminates the danger involved with the handling and splashing of highly concentrated, liquid household bleach which contains 52,500 – 61,500 ppm available chlorine (5.25% -6.15% sodium hypochlorite respectively). Aquatabs are not prone to dangerous leaking like liquid products.
  • Aquatabs in tablet format are much safer and easier to use, handle and store as compared with liquid products such as household bleach.
  • Using Aquatabs is easy’ simply place the required number of tablets into the appropriate volume of water and an accurate dose is achieved. This eliminates the practice of measuring out and diluting concentrated liquid disinfectant and the dangers associated with splashing, spilling and the staining of clothes
  • Aquatabs are extremely stable and have a 5 year shelf life.
  • Aquatabs are very compact and easy to store as compared with bulky liquid products.
  • Aquatabs are certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 60 and EPA approved.
  • The biocidal capacity of chlorine solutions prepared from NaDCC, the active ingredient in Aquatabs, is far superior to other chlorine disinfectants including sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) for two reasons. 1) NaDCC produces a predominantly undissociated acidic hypochlorous solution which is significantly more biocidal than other hypochlorites including sodium hypochlorite (household bleach). 2) With NaDCC, only 50% of the total available chlorine is free, the remainder is combined; as free available chlorine is used up, more is released to restore the equilibrium. This equilibrium gives improved efficiency and safety in use when compared to other chlorine agents such as household bleach.

For more information about creating chlorine disinfection solutions using Aquatabs and to inquire about larger tablet sizes please contact Global Hydration Water Treatment Systems Inc. Water purification tablets wash fruit vegetables.

Toll Free Phone: 1-888-998-0030
Phone: (807) 577-0030
Email: info@globalhydration.com/new