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3 Natural Ways To Wash Produce And Why You Should

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Washing the fruits and vegetables you bring into your home is always a good idea. Make a habit of washing and drying them as soon as you get home and before storing them to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. It only takes a minute and can save you and your family from ingesting unhealthy surface particles and residues lingering on the produce.

Fruits and vegetables take quite a journey before they arrive in our homes. For the majority of us, farm-to-table isn’t always an option. With this in mind, it’s important for us to take steps to ensure the food we put on our table is clean and ready to be consumed.

Think of all the hands that touch an apple before you buy it! Hanging on a tree in the orchard, it is picked and placed in a harvest bin. From there, it is taken to a packinghouse where it is washed, sized, sorted, sprayed with wax to prevent moisture loss and make it look more appealing, and packed by numerous working hands. It is then moved to refrigerated storage to be kept fresh until shipping. Bins are loaded on trucks to be taken to the retailer. The apple is then unloaded from the bins and placed on the store shelves by numerous other hands. The point being, unless we pick the apple off the tree ourselves we don’t know its journey! I’m guilty of picking up every piece of produce I buy to ensure it’s not soggy, spoiling, or bruised. I’m going to take a gamble and say we all do that which adds up to a lot of hands that touch the produce! Not to mention sneezing, coughing, and other means of transferring germs that we don't always see. Here are 3 natural ways I've found that work well for me to clean my produce. Try them and see which one is a good fit for you!


My favorite way to clean the rainbow of fruits and veggies I bring into my home is with one simple ingredient---white vinegar! We all have it, it’s inexpensive, non-toxic, and has amazing antibacterial properties. If you are running low on white vinegar, no fear. Apple Cider vinegar does the trick too! I’ve been making my own ACV for several months now and like to use the tail end of the batch for this wash. More to come on that soon! I’ve had great luck with my produce lasting for extended periods of time after washing with this method. I’m definitely not sad to not be throwing out grapes 3 days after I bought them--can anyone relate!?!

Here are the steps:

  1. Place fruits and vegetables in a clean sink and fill with cool water. Small produce such as cherry tomatoes and blueberries that come in cartons can be washed in the carton.

  2. Add 1 cup (or less) vinegar depending on sink size and/or the amount of produce you are washing. For small amounts, this compact washing bowl comes in handy.

  3. Swirl water to incorporate the vinegar.

  4. Let soak for at least 20 minutes. I like to leave them soaking while I put away the rest of my groceries--it works as a great timetable.

  5. Scrub lightly with a produce brush (optional).

  6. Rinse with cool water and place on a clean towel to dry. Store as usual.

NOTE...Some fruits and vegetables are best when washed right before serving. Mushrooms are very porous and act as a sponge soaking up anything they are placed in. For this reason, I avoid this method with them. Most berries have fragile, thin skin that tends to soak up liquid easily making them soggy. Lightly wash berries or do a quick, diluted vinegar soak right before serving. Lettuce and other leafy greens are typically best washed when ready to use to prevent wilting.

Lemon Juice Or Lemon Essential Oil

Like vinegar, lemons are a great option for cleaning your produce. High in citric acid, they make the perfect natural antibacterial solution to cut through dirt and grime. Bonus points for the refreshing lemon scent that will permeate your kitchen! If you don’t have fresh lemons…carry on! Bottled lemon juice does the trick just the same. Another variation is lemon essential oil. Add a few drops to your sink full of water for a refreshing twist on cleaning. I have noticed that it does adhere to the fruit and veggies a little so be cautious about what you are using it with. I don’t mind my fruit with a citrus twist but the veggies...not so much!

Here are the steps:

  1. Fill a clean sink with fruits and vegetables and cover with cool water.

  2. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of Redmond’s Real Salt.

  3. Add the juice of 1 fresh lemon, ¼ cup bottled lemon juice, or 4-5 drops lemon essential oil.

  4. Swirl to incorporate salt and lemon juice.

  5. Let sit for 20 minutes.

  6. Scrub lightly with a produce brush (optional).

  7. Rinse and place on a clean towel to dry. Store as usual.

Bottled Produce Wash

If you find yourself pressed on time but still want to eliminate the pesticide residue, wax, soil, and germs from your produce, this might be a great option for you. Rebel Green Fruit and Veggie Clean is an all-natural, non-toxic formula to help you with all of the above. It contains water, a plant-derived cleaning surfactant, and organic fruit extracts proven to easily remove unwanted contaminants from your produce without a bitter aftertaste.

How to Use:

  1. Spray produce with Rebel Green Fruit and Veggie Clean. For thorough removal of pesticides, waxes, and chemicals let sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

  2. Gently rub produce to remove soil and wax buildup or scrub lightly with a produce brush.

  3. Rinse under cool water to wash away any debris.

  4. Place on a clean towel to dry and store as usual.

Taking a few extra minutes to remove anything from your produce that could be potentially harmful is simple and effective! Hope you find these methods helpful in NOURISHING and caring for yourself and your family!

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