It's obviously much easier to buy pre-washed salad. I often get it in plastic bags or boxes, marked "ready to eat."

The problem is that in a few days, the salad is usually in horrible condition. Some of the lettuce is still OK, but it's mixed in with pieces that are .. slimy.

washed salad

The problem, of course, is the humidity in the bag causes some of the lettuce and greens to decompose quickly. I insert a few paper towels, which seems to help a bit, but nevertheless, the salad doesn't last a week, regardless of the "sell by" date.

How can I keep pre-washed salad longer?

  • 1
    Not really a hack but there the green vegetable bags designed to extend the life.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 21:11
  • I've never tried this with salad-y lettuce/greens before, so no clue if it would work, but you could try freezing them? Works for most other foods anyway... Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 22:26
  • 2
    @DangerZone, be assured: freezing won't work. The results are disgustng.
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 6:48
  • 2
    Frankly, because of the varieties (in terms of plants) of leaves used, and the treatment they undergo, expecting bagged salads to last a week, unopened or opened, is the stuff of dreams - 3-4 days max is the most reasonable edible life time. A whole head of lettuce with the leaves attached lasts much, much longer, easily a week, possibly two.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 18:04
  • 1
    Not to mention, the nutritional content within 2-3 days is probably slightly less than the bag it came in... plant leaves lose vitamins rapidly when separated from roots, or if they're cut or torn
    – Bamboo
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 18:14

5 Answers 5


Whether I buy salad in a bag or I buy it in a plastic container, I always wash it again when I get home. This is something that my grandmother and mother taught me. Any type of salad spinner will work just fine similar to the one referenced below (this is actually the one I have):

enter image description here

Once you buy the salad from the store, you should wash it as soon as possible.

  1. Simply dump the contents in the spinner.
  2. Rinse the lettuce for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Spin it.
  4. Dump the water out.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Place in the container of your choice.

This usually adds a considerable more amount of time to the life of the lettuce.


I used to have this exact same problem.

The way that I solved it is that I now make my salads out of pre-washed shredded red cabbage instead of shredded lettuce which seems to last much better after opening.

I find that matchstick carrots also last well after opening.

Admittedly, this is more of a workaround than a solution.


some advice that works for me and some friends: once you bring the pre-washed salad mix home, or if you wash your own, let it dry completely before storing it (sometimes the pre-washed plastic containers hold a good amount of moisture).

my trick is, once it is dry, layer a sheet or two of paper towel in the container. this holds some excess moisture instead of making some leaves soggy.

give it a try.

  • I have found that this works for me. In addition, I wash all vegetables, first in white vinegar/water mixed 1:4 and rinse in clear water. When the excess rinse water is removed, put into a plastic bag (breathable plastic vegetable bags are better) with a paper towel and refrigerate.
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 22:24

What works for me is to immediately put the desired portioned lettuce or salad into ziplock baggies when I get home from the store. When sealing the baggie, bend the baggie over in half and press gently to get as much air out as possible. The end result is a suctioned effect with hardly any air in the ziplock baggie. I've had spinach last 2 weeks with this technique.

I like this technique as I don't need to buy another gadget (I have loads of gadgets already) and when I go to make my salad the lettuce or spinach is pre-portioned which saves time.


Not tested with pre-washed salad but tested with home washed salad.

  • Wash the salad and dry it the best way that you can. Use a salad spinner as mentioned in previous answers.

  • Use a high-quality metal bowl to store the salad. After many trials and fails, this is what worked best for me. I think it is because a metal bowl is more efficient to keep and transfer the cold from the fridge.

**enter image description here**

  • Keep using the paper towels, but in alternate layers: one layer of paper towel and one layer of salad.The first and last layers must be paper towels.

With this method, I have stored salad for one week with very good results.

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