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Homemade Fruit and Veggie Wash


When plain water doesn’t get your produce as clean as you’d like, try this simple, homemade veggie wash made from a blend of vinegar and water.

Do you wash your fruits and vegetables after getting them home from the store or farmer’s market? We do. While washing your vegetables isn’t a guarantee you will remove everything that could make you or your family sick, it can help.

Does Washing Your Vegetables Make Them Safer?

  • Washing veggies can get rid of larger-particle dirt and debris.
  • It can also help remove high concentrations of bacteria and viruses.
  • Washing helps minimize exposure to pesticides, though it will not totally eliminate these residues.
  • Washing veggies may NOT protect your kids from specific resistant bacteria such as E. Coli or Salmonella.

According to the International Food Safety Council, the E. Coli bacteria has made itself very resistant to cleaning, after it has clung to your produce effectively.  It develops a film over itself to ensure survival.  Sometimes, those little buggers even lodge themselves within the flesh of your produce, that would not be removed with any cleaning method.  However, if they have not developed their film that helps them cling on, and are loose, they can be rinsed away.  This is the same case with the salmonella bacteria.

So, if for any reason, you can minimize the exposure to pesticides and bacteria, it most definitely should be a practice you could teach your kids.

This is our practice for cleaning our fruits and veggies.  But, we wait to clean the produce until we are ready to eat. Cleaning early and then letting sit on a counter, may encourage more bacteria to begin growing.

How to Make Homemade Veggie Wash

Add the following ingredients to a clean spray bottle:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar (with 5% acidity)

Spray your veggies liberally, then let them soak for 10 minutes.

After You Spray, Rinse

After you have let your veggies rest with the vinegar spray for about ten minutes, give them a good rinse in clean, fresh water. Simply rubbing your fruits and veggies with your hands is an effective final step.

This easy practice can help keep your kids well!

So, do you wash your produce?

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Because we have well water, we clean our fruits/vegs in spring water to insure no additional bacteria is added. It’s a hassle but necessary possibly even if u have municipal water that hA not been tested. Thanks for the info!

we do wash our veges but it’s nice to know the right way to do it. I have been wondering and this article helped. Thanks

We wash our fruits and vegetables but just with water and elbow grease. We don’t use vinegar or let them sit but I think we will start. Can you taste the vinegar later?

Thank you for the vinegar recipe. We use the elbow grease and water method but I still worry that it isn’t enough…especially with grapes!

I live overseas where tap water has to be boiled before drinking. We soak all of our produce in an iodine water mixture for 20 minutes and then rinse with drinking water. I’ll admit to being lazy with some things though and giving them a scrub with dish soap and water before rinsing and thoroughly drying them.

I’d like to see how vinegar does with some of the bacteria and cysts found in our water.

I always wash with water and elbow grease, but want to start using the solution. How do you store the vinegar wash? How long does the solution stay good for in a spray bottle? Thanks!

Based on how it’s written just underneath the ‘recipe’, to clarify, you’re placing the veggies in an EMPTY bowl and dousing them with the spray liquid and just letting the liberally wetted down veggies sit? When someone says ‘soak’, I take it as immersion / submersion in a boatload of liquid.

The information you have shared is really so useful. I really like your blog. Thank you for sharing such a good blog.

Can we clean the fruits and veggies with this solution and then store in closed containers in the refrigerator? I meal prep so as soon as I bring produce home I’m chopping it up and storing in the fridge!

Yep, you can! If they’re still damp you can store them with a clean flour sack towel or paper towel to absorb extra moisture.