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5 Easy Ways to Wipe Out Germs from Your Grocery Store Buys

Bacteria and viruses can hitch rides on the items you bring home from the supermarket — these simple steps are proven to protect you and your food.


We are all worried about Covid-19 at the moment, and with good reason. But the truth is, whether in the middle of a pandemic or not, places like the grocery store have always harbored germs that we should protect ourselves from. Ahead, simple tips to make sure all your groceries are germ-free.

Germ-Proof Soda Lids with a Vodka Spritz

A whopping 76 percent of aluminum can lids harbor harmful microorganisms such as E. coli. The remedy: “Before opening cans, simply spritz vodka directly onto the lids, let sit for a few seconds, then wipe”, advises DIY cleaning pro Tracey Black ( The alcohol in vodka nixes bad bugs, then evaporates without leaving any taste or odor behind

Clean Herbs with Vinegar

Fresh herbs add flavor to meals… but if they’re not washed properly, they can also add germs, says Natalie Wise, author of The Modern Organic Home ($16, Amazon). Her bacteria-busting Rx: “Place a colander in a large bowl, fill with 1⁄2 cup of white vinegar and fill the rest of the way with cold water [warm water will wilt greens]. Let the herbs sit in the solution for 5 minutes, gently swishing back and forth to ensure all the leaves are washed.” Then give them a quick rinse in cold water, and your herbs will be ready to jazz up all your recipes.

What About Pesticides? Dunk ‘Em!

To banish harmful chemicals from fruit and veggies, just fill your sink with cool water, add 2 tsp. of baking soda and let produce soak for 15 minutes. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst discovered that this simple step removes 80 percent to 95 percent of pesticides — working even more effectively than produce cleaners that contain bleach!

Safeguard Your Cart with a Handy Defense

Yuck! Research shows that germs get transferred to your hands whenever you push your shopping cart in the grocery store. Thankfully, simply using hand sanitizer is shown to kill the bad guys in their tracks. None left on store shelves? Just follow our recipe to make your own hand sanitizer! Then, simply pour into a 3-oz. squeeze bottle (available in the travel section) for a purse-perfect, on-the-go defense against microbes.

Banish Bugs on Bags with a Spin in the Washer

Reusable grocery bags keep plastic out of landfills and oceans. The only downside? When scientists tested them for germs, virtually all had potentially harmful bacteria left behind from raw chicken, milk, and other foods. The fix: Just throw these bags in the washing machine in hot water and air-dry between uses. Studies show a single wash kills 99.9 percent of bacteria.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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