Clean Fruits & Vegetables With Inexpensive Wash You Make Yourself

Who sneezes into YOUR fruits and veggies in the grocery store? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years ago when I worked in New York City, I saw people constantly sneezing and coughing into salad bars at lunchtime (let’s not even mention the roaches I’d see in restaurants). I was thinner when I worked in the city because I lost my appetite on many days. Well, it isn’t much different in the suburbs when it comes to germs! I remember one time looking through tomatoes and an older woman standing next to me turned and said, “I feel awful, I think I have the flu.” She looked like she was going to faint, so I found her help, but days later I thought, eeek, don’t we all go shopping when we are sick!?

Though I diligently wash my fruits and vegetables, I just never thought it was enough to use just water. But there’s no way I would pay $3.99 for a 16-ounce bottle of wash in the supermarket. So, I scrubbed. I was thrilled to find this post on, that offers two recipes for an inexpensive wash that makes 16 ounces for pennies (the price of ingredients for homemade wash is negligible). The first recipe is basically the same mixture I already use as an all-purpose cleaner in my kitchen. I tried the first one and there’s no vinegar smell or aftertaste–at least from the apples and pineapple I cleaned and cut with the solution.

Recipe #1:

In a clean spray bottle combine the following:

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 TBS baking soda
2 TBS lemon juice

Mix well. Spray fresh fruits and vegetables generously, allow the mixture to remain on them for about 5 minutes, rinse off with cold, clean water. Store unused spray in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe #2 (more of a soak than spray)

1/2 cup vinegar
3 TBS salt
1 Very Large bowl, half full of cold water

Combine the vinegar and salt, mixing well until the salt dissolves. Add to a large bowl of water. Soak fruit and veggies (uncut) in the mix for 10 minutes, remove and pat dry. (Soak leafy greens for 2 minutes.)

A couple of notes from and myself:

  1. Wash the stem areas of produce well where dirt and pesticides accumulate.
  2. When you get home from the store, wash produce, then DRY WELL. The last thing you want is rotting produce because it’s wet.
  3. After leafy greens and stalks (celery, carrots) are washed, then dried, it’s then ok to put them in a huge bowl of plain, clean iced water, then put the whole bowl (water and veggies) your fridge. The veggies will keep longer that way, but of course, change the water every day or so.

    Grocery Store Green Bell Peppers
    Bell peppers are one of the worst offenders when it comes to being laden with pesticides. Probably no amount of wash will get the peppers healthy, best to stick with organic. But, if you do have conventional peppers, at least use a wash. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you, for your recipes!

~Marilyn, TFF


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