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4 Simple Homemade Washes for Fruits and Vegetables

Did you know that more than 9 million people get sick every year from dirty food, and according to a recent study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, fruits and vegetables contaminated with harmful bacteria cause 46 percent of those illnesses?

Don't let that figure discourage you from filling your plate with colorful produce. A 20-second plain-water rinse will get rid of some bacteria, but for a more thorough and natural germ-killing rinse, a fruit and vegetable wash will help cut down on any bugs that could make you sick. So the question is “What’s the best way to wash fruits and vegetables to get rid of harmful pesticides and chemicals?” You may have heard of commercialized or store bought washes, and while these options seem great, their ingredients can ironically contain a high amount of chemicals (and some have a price point to match!)

So skip the added cost (and chemicals) and opt for convenience by making your own homemade fruit and vegetable wash!

Super-Simple Veggie Wash


1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 cup cold tap water in a spray bottle


Mix, shake well, and apply to your produce. Rinse with tap water before cooking or serving.

Leafy Green Wash


1 cup distilled white vinegar
3 cups water


Mix the water and vinegar together in a bowl. Allow your greens to soak in the bowl for about 2 minutes, then rinse them well.  

This wash, which researchers from the magazine Cook's Illustrated found killed 98 percent of bacteria on food, is good for leafy greens because greens are more likely than other forms of produce to be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, according to the CDC. If you want an even more powerful germ-killing boost, add a tablespoon or two of salt. A study in the Journal of Food Protection found that vinegar's ability to kill E. coli bacteria was "significantly enhanced" when salt was added to the mix.

All-Purpose Germ Killer


1 spray bottle of undiluted white vinegar
1 spray bottle of undiluted hydrogen peroxide


Spray your food first with the vinegar and then with the hydrogen peroxide. Rinse thoroughly.

You can use this on produce or on raw meat to kill E. coli, Listeria, and salmonella bacteria, according to a study in Food Microbiology. You can also use the mixture to disinfect your countertops. Alternately, spray the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide on a surface, then let it dry. Don't rinse or wipe the surfaces down afterwards.

Bacteria Beater


1 cup of cold fresh water
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon grapefruit seed extract


This next way to wash looks similar to the first, but also contains just a hint of grapefruit seed extract, a known antioxidant with possible antimicrobial properties. Shake everything together in a spray bottle once again, and apply to your fruits and vegetables, let sit, and rinse!

What’s your go-to homemade fruit and vegetable wash? Let us know below!


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