We eat fruits and vegetables to keep healthy, which is why clinging chemicals can seem like such a betrayal.
Water and scrubbing can remove some of those pesky pesticides, but they tend to leave traces without some real elbow grease involved. Some people resort to using harsh soaps, but that poses the risk of chemicals being absorbed into our food, while also potentially changing the flavor and introducing artificial fragrances and other ingredients into our diets.
Instead, proper prepping of fruits and vegetables requires a dedicated cleaner that effectively washes without unwanted chemicals.
While there are plenty of commercial produce washes available, they can be pricey, and according to the Center for Food Safety, they’re actually not that much more effective than rinsing your fruits and veggies with cold tap water.
All-Natural DIY Natural Fruit and Veggie Wash
With few effective options, it’s up to you to make a fruit and veggie scrub that will keep you safe without adding anything new to the healthiest part of your diet.
With DIY fruit and veggie washes, you can clean away the pesticides, waxes, chemicals and any bugs that might have hitched a ride on your produce. They’re inexpensive, quick to make, easy to use and -- the best part: they’re all-natural!
1. White vinegar + lemon Juice
This simple fruit and veggie wash harnesses the antibacterial power of vinegar and the fresh zest and acidity of lemon juice (also a natural preservative) on your produce.
- Mix together 2 cups cold water, ½ cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pour mixture into a spray bottle, spritz onto produce, then let sit for 5 minutes.
- Scrub away dirt, etc. with a vegetable brush if needed, rinse with water and voila! Your produce is clean and ready to eat.
–> For an extra antioxidant meets antimicrobial kick to your homemade fruit and vegetable wash, add in ½ teaspoon grapefruit seed extract
2. Baking Soda + Lemon Juice
Another great scrubbing solution you probably have sitting inside your pantry is baking soda. It’s a foamy antiseptic alternative to white vinegar, and it’s been shown to be more effective than plain water or a bleach solution at removing pesticide residues on the skin (and even beneath the skin) of apples.
- Mix together 1 cup cold water, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- Pour into a spray bottle, spritz onto produce, then let sit for 5 minutes.
- Scrub away dirt, etc. with a vegetable brush if needed, rinse fruit/veggies with water and you’re ready to munch!
3. Apple Cider Vinegar + Water
Apple Cider Vinegar has antimicrobial properties and has been proven to kill harmful bacteria like E. Coli. Although it’s a bit more expensive than white vinegar, you can also use ACV for many other things, like in homemade salad dressings, and even on your hair to promote a healthy scalp!
- In a basin, mix together 5 cups water and ¼ cup apple cider vinegar.
- Let produce sit for 5 minutes.
- Scrub away dirt, etc. with a vegetable brush if needed; rinse with water.
4. Castile Soap + Citrus Essential Oils
Citrus essential oils (lemon, orange, grapefruit, etc.) have the power to cut through and break down petroleum-based products (such as certain pesticides or waxes). And since oil and water don’t play nicely together, castile soap helps carry those oils through water and onto the produce.
- In a basin, combine 1 teaspoon castile soap, 7 drops citrus essential oil and 1 gallon of water.
- Let produce sit for 5 minutes.
- Scrub away dirt, etc. with a vegetable brush if needed, rinse with water and you’ll have sparkling clean fruits and veggies!
5. White Vinegar + Salt
For a more concentrated solution, you can pump up the volume on white vinegar’s bacteria-killing action! The addition of salt also acts as a natural disinfectant, helping to eliminate pesticide residue, as well as drawing out bugs and other impurities.
- In a basin, mix together 1 cup cold water, 1 cup white vinegar, and 4 tablespoons salt.
- Let produce soak for 30 minutes.
- Scrub away dirt, etc. with a vegetable brush if needed, rinse with water and that’s it!
Keep your fruits and veggies clean and as natural as can be
With these healthy produce wash ideas, you can keep your fruits and vegetables clean -- in the most natural way possible: by using ingredients from earth on ingredients from the earth!
Experiment with these ideas and see which one you like best, and enjoy eating clean – literally!