Homemade Veggie Wash


Do you wash your fruits and vegetables?  Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. Even though we aren’t always diligent about it, it is a good habit to get into.  While washing your vegetables isn’t a guarantee you will remove everything that could make you or your family sick, it can help.

Fresh Veggie

The reasons you would want to wash them would be to:

  • Remove dirt and debris
  • Minimize bacteria present
  • or wash away potential pesticides

But, does washing your vegetables help?

  • Yes it helps remove dirt and debris!!
  • Yes it helps remove bacteria (however, removing all bacteria isn’t always beneficial to health)
  • Yes it will help minimize exposure to pesticides, but not totally eliminate.
  • Unfortunately, It 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.  When we are ready to eat or use our veggies, we use a two step process:

1) The vinegar soak  Vinegar has been shown to kill almost 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of virus promoting germs, after a 10 minute exposure.  Our spray bottle includes:

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

Then, placing our veggies in a bowl for a good soak, the kids spray them liberally.  Let soak for 10 minutes.

Homemade Veggie wash
TJ Cleaning vegetables

Step 2) The elbow grease under running water.  Simply by rubbing your fruits and veggies with your hands can be effective in cleaning your food.

Washing Tomatoes
Washing veggies

This easy practice can help keep your kids well!  Check out our tomato lips we found in our garden yesterday

Tomato Lips copy
Homemade Veggie Wash

So, do you wash your produce?

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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 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.