We all like to rinse our favorite fruits and vegetables quickly before eating them. This washes off the dirt we can see, but what about the hidden dangers? There might still be chemicals, harmful fungi, and invisible germs that regular water can't wash away. But don't worry, we have a simple solution for this problem.

3 Simple Recipes for Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Wash

Studies by the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have found that nearly 70% of produce in the U.S. has pesticide residue. Every year, the EWG points out 12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides. These are often called the "dirty dozen," and it might be best to avoid them.

Using produce sprays and soaks can help us fight against these chemicals and harmful germs. These easy methods can clean vegetables and fruits well, making them safer to eat. This is important even for fruits like mangoes, where you don't eat the skin. Washing them well can keep germs on the outside from getting inside when you cut and eat them.

Some store-bought vegetable washes promise to make your produce spotless, but be careful. Some might have fake chemicals, and even the natural ones might be too expensive. Why waste money when you can easily make your own effective vegetable wash at home? In this article, we'll share three simple recipes for homemade fruit and vegetable wash.

Table "Dirty dozen" 12 fruits and vegetables

RankFruit/VegetablePesticide Contamination LevelTotal Number of Pesticides Detected
1Kale, Collards, Mustard GreensExtremely High103
2Bell and Hot PeppersExtremely High101
3StrawberriesHighN/A
4SpinachHighN/A
5PeachesHighN/A
6PearsModerate to HighN/A
7NectarinesModerate to HighN/A
8ApplesModerate to HighN/A
9GrapesModerate to HighN/A
10CherriesModerate to HighN/A
11BlueberriesTroubling ConcentrationsN/A
12Green BeansTroubling ConcentrationsN/A

Note: The pesticide contamination levels and total number of pesticides detected are based on data from the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) 2023 report on pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables. The new addition of blueberries and green beans highlights their "troubling concentrations" of organophosphate insecticides, which can pose risks to the human nervous system.

The table showcases the produce with the highest pesticide contamination levels, indicating the need for proper washing and consideration of organic options to minimize pesticide exposure.

Table "The "Clean 15" fruits and vegetables

RankFruit/VegetablePesticide Contamination LevelPercentage with No Detectable Pesticide Residues
1AvocadosVery LowOver 98%
2Sweet CornVery LowOver 98%
3PineappleVery LowN/A
4OnionsVery LowN/A
5PapayaVery LowN/A
6Sweet Peas (Frozen)Very LowN/A
7AsparagusVery LowN/A
8Honeydew MelonVery LowN/A
9KiwiVery LowN/A
10CabbageVery LowN/A
11MushroomsVery LowN/A
12MangoesVery LowN/A
13Sweet PotatoesVery LowN/A
14WatermelonVery LowN/A
15CarrotsVery LowN/A

Note: The "Clean 15" list is based on the 2023 Environmental Working Group (EWG) report, which identifies produce items with the lowest pesticide residues. Over 98% of avocados and sweet corn samples showed no detectable pesticide residues, making them the cleanest produce options. 

These fruits and vegetables have very low pesticide contamination levels, giving consumers a safer choice to reduce exposure to harmful substances. Choosing USDA Organic labeled items is another way to ensure produce is likely to have minimal or no traces of synthetic pesticides, as organic standards prohibit their use.

pesticide

Natural Vegetable Washes with Vinegar, Lemon, Salt, and Baking Soda

There are lots of ways to make vegetable washes at home, depending on what you want to clean and how clean you want it. You can use simple things you already have in your kitchen, like vinegar, lemon, salt, and baking soda, to make them.

  1. Vinegar: It's good for cleaning because it's a bit sour. Vinegar can help get rid of leftover chemicals and bad germs on your fruits and vegetables. Washing them in vinegar water will clean them gently and make them ready to eat.
  2. Lemon: Fresh and strong lemons add a fresh and tangy touch to washing your food. The strong citrus in lemons doesn't just smell and taste good; it also helps get rid of germs well.
  3. Salt: More than just flavoring, salt doesn't just make food taste better; it can also clean it. A little salt in your wash can add some protection, making the food taste better while getting rid of things you don't want on it.
  4. Baking Soda: A soft scrub of baking soda can scrub away things that are hard to get off but do it gently. It's a good thing to add to your wash because it'll make your fruits and vegetables look clean and new again.

How to Choose Fruits and Vegetables for a Healthy Table

The key to a safe and wholesome meal begins with selecting the right vegetable and fruit produce and adopting proper cleaning practices. Making informed choices and handling produce with care is essential to reducing the risk of food-related illnesses. Let's delve into the art of choosing produce and the best cleaning methods to ensure a healthy and delightful dining experience.

Picking Pristine Produce

Selecting high-quality produce is the first line of defense against harmful bacteria. Opt for vegetables free of bruises and cuts, as these areas can harbor bacteria. Remember to check for any visible damage and avoid purchasing such items. If you spot damaged areas after purchase, simply cut them away after washing, and sanitize your knife for added safety.

Moisture Matters

Be cautious of overly wet produce. Moisture can create an environment conducive to the growth and survival of microorganisms. Choose vegetables that are not excessively wet, ensuring a healthier and safer meal.

DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash

Throughout this journey, we'll explore the power of various natural cleaning agents – vinegar, lemon, salt, and baking soda – and their unique contributions to this transformative process.

DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash offers more than just a superficial cleanse; it delves deep into the hidden realms of your produce, liberating them from pesticides, impurities, and harmful pathogens. The result? Cleaner, safer, and tastier fruits and veggies that nourish both your body and soul.

Recipe #1: Baking Soda

This DIY vegetable wash harnesses baking soda's gentle scrubbing and cleansing properties to ensure your produce is free from residues and contaminants. Embrace this eco-friendly, cost-effective solution to give your vegetables a sparkling makeover before they grace your table.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional, for added freshness)

Equipment:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Colander
  • Large container with a lid (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Create the solution in a mixing bowl. Combine 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 4 cups of water. Stir vigorously until the baking soda dissolves, releasing its magical fizz.

Step 2: Place your vegetables in a colander and rinse them under running water to remove any visible dirt. Submerge the vegetables in the bubbly baking soda solution, ensuring they are fully immersed.

Step 3: Let the baking soda work its charm by allowing the vegetables to bask in the bubbly solution for 12 to 15 minutes. During this time, the gentle scrubbing of baking soda will loosen residues and impurities from the surface of your veggies.

Step 4: After soaking in the baking soda, remove the vegetables from the solution and rinse them thoroughly under running water. This step ensures that any remaining baking soda is washed away, leaving your vegetables sparkly clean.

For added freshness, you can opt for a quick lemon rinse. Simply sprinkle the vegetables with lemon juice and rinse once more under running water.

In the battle against pesticides on produce, baking soda emerges as the undisputed champion, thanks to its alkaline properties that effectively neutralize many common acidic pesticides. A groundbreaking 2017 study led by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst shed light on the true power of baking soda in removing pesticides from fruits, particularly apples.

The study revealed that soaking apples in a water and baking soda solution surpasses conventional cleaning methods. After a thorough baking soda soak, upwards of 80 percent of certain pesticides were eliminated from the apples. This remarkable result outperformed traditional water rinses and even exceeded the effectiveness of bleach rinses in pesticide removal.

soda Recipe

Recipe #2: White Vinegar

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Equipment:

  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Colander
  • Salad spinner (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Cleansing Mixture.

Combine the distilled white vinegar and water in a mixing bowl, creating a 1 to 3 mixture. Add a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the mix if you desire an extra disinfecting boost and a burst of fresh flavor.

Step 2: Mist and Let Sit (For Spray Bottle Method).

If you're using a spray bottle, transfer the cleansing mixture into it for easy application. Mist your fruits and vegetables thoroughly, ensuring they are coated with the cleansing solution. Allow them to sit for five minutes, giving the vinegar and lemon time to work their magic.

Step 3: Soak and Refresh (For Soaking Method).

For heartier vegetables, such as carrots or cucumbers, soak them in the cleansing mixture for 20 to 30 minutes. For more delicate leafy greens and berries, a few minutes will suffice. The soaking process will gently cleanse and refresh your produce.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry.

After soaking time, wash the produce thoroughly under running water, removing any residue or contaminants. For tender produce like leafy greens or berries, use a colander to drain excess liquid. Gently spray them with water to ensure they're free of the cleansing mixture. Allow them to dry before consumption, and they'll be ready to add a refreshing touch to your dishes.

Optional Quick Cleaning with a Salad Spinner

If you have a salad spinner, you can use it to speed up the cleaning process. Fill the salad spinner with the cleansing mixture, add the delicate produce, and give it a few spins. Rinse the produce under water, and they'll be ready to enjoy.

A groundbreaking 2007 study conducted by Nanjing Agricultural University and the Institute of Food Safety Research and Inspection in China unveiled the true potential of both vinegar and salt solutions in eliminating pesticides. With an ideal ratio of one part salt to ten parts water, this natural cleaning agent effectively removes pesticides like chlorpyrifos, DDT, cypermethrin, and chlorothalonil.

White vinegar Recipe

Recipe #3: Sea Salt

This easy-to-make vegetable wash harnesses the cleansing properties of salt to remove impurities and ensure your produce is ready for safe and healthy consumption. Say goodbye to chemical-laden washes and welcome the goodness of nature's own cleaning agent - salt!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 4 cups of filtered water

Equipment:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Colander
  • Large container with a lid (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Create the Cleansing Solution.

Combine 1 tablespoon of sea salt in a mixing bowl with 4 cups of filtered water. Stir well to dissolve the salt, creating a gentle yet effective vegetable wash.

Step 2: Submerge and Soak.

Place your vegetables in a colander and rinse them under running water to remove visible dirt and debris. Then, submerge the vegetables in the prepared saltwater solution, ensuring they are fully covered.

Step 3: Let Nature Work Its Magic.

Allow the vegetables to soak in the saltwater solution for about 10 to 15 minutes. During this time, the salt will work its magic, drawing out impurities and harmful contaminants from the produce.

Step 4: Rinse and Refresh.

After the soaking period, remove the vegetables from the saltwater solution and give them a final rinse under running water. This step ensures that any remaining salt or contaminants are washed away, leaving your vegetables and fruit refreshingly clean and ready to eat.

Sea salt Recipe

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Written by Bato

Bato is the father of three beautiful children. When he's not dealing with product reviews and comparisons, he enjoys hiking through untouched nature. He loves adrenaline sports such as skiing, hiking, rafting, and scuba diving. In addition, he likes to grill and discover new exciting food.

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