Recent foodborne disease outbreaks have made people want to have more control over the cleanliness of their food. Giving vegetables a quick rinse before cooking doesn't remove all microorganisms and this can lead to illnesses like E. coli. This infection can lead to severe diarrhea and kidney failure.
Another thing that concerns the public is the use of pesticides on vegetables. Pesticide ingestion isn't problematic in vegetables because it's usually present in very low numbers.
This isn't reassuring, though as mild pesticide poisoning can lead to nausea, fatigue, and insomnia. These points are why people have raised the question is it safe to wash vegetables with dish soap?
You shouldn't wash your vegetables with dish soap
Even though you may not have any health implications after eating vegetables washed with dish soap, prolonged exposure to it will make you sick. Some of the symptoms you'll go through are a swollen mouth, stomach cramps, and excessive vomiting. You could end up vomiting blood.
You'll also experience pain in your esophagus as the abrasive perfumes in dish soap scar it over time. Ingesting an abrasive soap could lead to your developing low blood pressure. It can also drop your heart rate quickly and can stop your heart should the chemicals in your soap reach it.
Dish soap won't eliminate pesticides on vegetables
According to the FDA, instead of washing away pesticides and other microorganisms, dish soap ends up getting trapped in vegetables. This won't only affect the taste and aroma of your food, it also means that you'll be adding more chemicals to your vegetables. This'll be worse if the dish soap you plan on using is dishwasher detergent.
Liquid dishwasher detergent, unlike liquid dish soap, is made of man-made chemicals called surfactants instead of natural fats and oils like palm or pine oil. Dishwasher detergent is engineered to break down waxes, oils, and dirt. This makes it perfect for cleaning dishes, but when used on vegetables, it can dissolve the produce’s natural defenses, making it vulnerable to infection.
More reasons to avoid using dish soap on vegetables
When your vegetables are open to infection, they'll also absorb the detergent quicker and in larger quantities. Eating vegetables that contain high levels detergent will lead to severe permanent burns in your throat down to your stomach that will need immediate medical attention.
Liquid dishwasher detergents usually have a pH level that's higher than 12 and this means they fall under the caustic category. Overexposure to this kind of material will also cause you to have breathing difficulties if inhaled. Constantly washing your vegetables with it will trigger a skin irritation that could lead your skin to have necrosis (cell death).
How dish soap poisoning is treated
If you inhaled too much dishwasher detergent, you might be required to breathe with the help of an oxygen tank. If your airways are severely damaged, you'll have a tube put in your mouth that'll go directly to your lungs to supply them with oxygen.
Ingested dish soap will be treated with activated charcoal to prevent your digestive system from absorbing soap remnants in it.
You'll also be given laxatives that'll flush out these remnants and medication that'll help with the symptoms. An endoscopy will also be performed on you to assess how bad your esophagus and stomach got burned.
An endoscopy is having a camera inserted into your esophagus, so another answer to the question is it safe to wash vegetables with dish soap, is yes. But only if you're comfortable with having cameras and tubes of oxygen shoved down your throat.