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Stop rinsing and start washing produce

By: Jen Hansard | last Updated: 8.14.2013 | COMMENTS: 64


Hey there fruit and leaf lovin’ friend!

Do you ever ask yourself, “Do I really have to wash my fruit and veggies?”

If you’re like me, maybe your produce just takes a dip under the faucet for five seconds. We call that the ‘wam, bam thank you ma’am quick rinse’ — don’t feel ashamed — I’ve been guilty of buying a basket of strawberries and snacking on them right away– especially if it’s organic.

Whether you buy organic or not– it’s important to get the germs and chemical residues off of your produce. You can’t just rinse them, you gotta soak + scrub ’em. So, we thought we would give you two suggestions to help clean your fruits and veggies!

wash_graphic2

Use a homemade produce wash.

Lindsey Johnson, founder of Café Johnsonia, has a simple and inexpensive recipe for produce cleaner that is all natural and contains mostly common household ingredients–check it out on her website! Below is a brief description on how to make the wash and use it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic lemon juice
  • 10 drops grapefruit seed extract
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar

Directions:

  • Mix ingredients together in a pitcher.
  • Spray onto produce when you bring it home, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and rinse well.
  • Store fruits normally.
  • Don’t use mixture for leafy greens. Just use white vinegar and plenty of water to rinse.

It’s time to say hasta la vista to waxy fruit layered in pesticides, bacteria, toxins and unwanted chemical gunk. You can also buy a produce wash from companies like Honest Company, Branch Basics or even at Trader Joes. Or you can make your own with this simple recipe.  

How to properly wash spinach

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For lettuces and other leafy greens, you want to wash with plenty of water and pat them dry.

1. Place your leafy greens in a colander
2. Wash with white vinegar + plenty of water
(we avoid using our veggie wash on delicate greens like spinach, baby greens, and butter lettuce)
3. Rinse well

TIP: Say goodbye to soggy, spoiled leafy greens! To keep your leafy greens fresher longer, store them in you fridge in an airtight container placed between paper towels. Or freeze them in a freezer-safe bag (yup, you can freeze your leafy greens).

How to properly wash strawberries

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wash_strawberries2b

Place your strawberries in a colander and rinse water over them (don’t fully submerge them in water).

1. Place your strawberries in a colander
2. Spray with fruit + veggie wash generously
3. Rinse well with water

These delicate berries need a little extra lovin’ to prevent mold, so they last longer. Honest spray helps do just that. Rinse berries right before you’re ready to eat them.

How to really wash an apple

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wash_apple2
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These can be the waxiest of the bunch and since the skin is so full or fiber, you want to scrub these little guys.

1. Spray with fruit + veggie wash generously and let sit for 1-2 minutes
2. Scrub well with bristle brush
3. Rinse well with water

How to get squeaky clean carrots

wash_carrots1
wash_carrots2
wash_carrots3

Root veggies that grow in the ground, like carrots, need an extra scrub to remove excess dirt or hard-to-remove microbes.

1. Spray with fruit + veggie wash generously and let sit for 1-2 minutes
2. Scrub well with bristle kitchen brush
3. Rinse well with water

How to properly wash potatoes

wash_potato4
wash_potato1
wash_potato2
wash_potato3

Whether you peel your potatoes or keep the skin on, you want to still wash them well. Even if you’re removing the skin, an unwashed potato can transfer bacteria from the outside of the potato onto the peeled veggie. The same goes for any fruits and veggies that you’re slicing.

1. Spray with fruit + veggie wash generously and let sit for 1-2 minutes
2. Scrub well with bristle brush
3. Rinse well with water
4. Pat dry with a towel 

If pesticides don’t scare you, think about all of the different hands that have picked it up your produce and put it down at the grocery store or Farmer’s Market! Yikes!

Tags:    /   Categories: Cooking Tips, Plant-Based Diet 

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COMMENTS
64

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  1. Rashida Fogel says:

    Thanks for the amazing ways to clean our fruits/vegs. This is so helpful.

  2. Michelle says:

    Here is a great fruit and veggie wash: Add 1/4 cup 3% Food grade hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of cold water. Soak light vegetables (lettuce, etc.) 15 minutes. Thicker skinned fruits and vegetables (cucumbers, apples etc.) for 20 minutes. Drain and dry ( they will keep longer too). Alternatively, you can spray the fruits and vegetables with straight 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (food grade), let stand for 5-10 minutes, rinse and dry.

  3. Ann says:

    Can this produce spray be kept at room temp?

  4. Toni says:

    Interesting that you illustrate washing greens with the produce wash, but right under the recipe, it says not to use it on leafy greens!

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      Hi Toni,

      Great catch! That was our mistake. We don’t suggest using our veggie wash on delicate greens like spinach, butter lettuces, and baby greens, but it can be used on sturdier greens like kale, collards, cabbage, and Bok choy.

      Ps. We definitely want to make sure we’re sharing the correct information with our community.Thanks again for pointing that out, we’ve updated our blog post!

  5. Jane says:

    Hi there,
    First of all thanks so much for your wonderful website and tips. I finally got into the green smoothie habit (even though the fruit sugar is a little too much for me sometimes) and love it.
    I was very curious to read about your wash the greens sections and had the same question as

    CJ 3.5.2015 at 9:59 am #
    Is it necessary to wash packaged greens and salads that tout tripled wash?

    I’m not sure I can find the answer, sorry if I overlooked it!
    I’ve just purchased a week’s supply at Costco, those huge boxes with apparently ‘triple washed’ greens and was a bout to freeze them in packages. One is organic, one is not (I know I know I should have known better…)Should I better wash them both to be safe?
    Thank you! 🙂

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for blendin’ with us! Even if the packaging says your greens have been pre-washed, we still suggest washing them yourself!

      Too much natural sugar in your green smoothie? Try turning our Simple Green Smoothie Formula on it’s head! Instead of blending 3 cups fruit to 2 cups leafy greens, blend 2 cups fruit + 3 cups leafy greens. Or swap in a low-sugar fruit option!

      https://simplegreensmoothies.com/low-sugar-fruits

      Cheers 🙂

  6. Holly says:

    You said you were on the hunt for a simple way to wash your produce…

    Have you tried Norwex products to wash your fruit and veggies ? They have an amazing Fruit and Veggie scrub cloth (rough on one side, smooth on the other for scrubbing or polishing off wax) and have just recently launched their Fresh Wash into Australia.

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      Hi Holly,

      Thank you so much for sharing! We’re always looking for great + simple ways to get our fruits + veggies clean!

      Cheers 🙂

  7. Susannah says:

    Where can you find grapefruit seed extract? I can’t find it anywhere.

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      Hi Susannah,

      Thanks for reaching out! You can buy Grape Seed Extract online and it is also available in health food stores or places like Whole Foods. It might even be available at pharmacies.

  8. Diana says:

    I live in Mexico, where tap water isn’t known to be the best quality. Is it safe to rinse veggies and fruits like this here? I’m concerned about the strawberries “do not fully submerge” as it is the method I use and I just don’t feel it’s cysticercus free until a 15 mins bath and some time at the freezer. I’m pregnant and reaaaally worried about bacteria and stuff.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie says:

      Hey Diana,

      Thanks for reaching out. I would speak to your health care provider to see what they suggest is best during pregnancy and water.

  9. April says:

    The beauty of growing leafy greens and veggies inside is that they don’t need washing! (Unless you’ve got dirty picking or pruning hands.)

    The ones that come from your own backyard garden need rinsing, but I don’t fear a little bit of dirt and microbes from an organic grow.

    But from the store, definitely a good wash. For me, I look at the apple that’s fallen on the floor that gets picked up and put back in the bin…the ones I selected could’ve had the same fate!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie says:

      Hey April!

      Thanks for the comment. I am starting my first organic garden this year, these are great tips. 🙂

  10. Rebecca says:

    Great tips!! but what about mushrooms??

  11. Angelina says:

    I also use the vinegar method, I pour about 1/8 c vinegar into a bowl, fill w fruit and water and watch the gunk float to the top of the water. The fruit tastes better and lastes longer. Berries are the exception. Berries should be refrigerated w a paper towel (to absorb moisture) and washed before eating. You can still do the vinegar method w a quick dunk and rinse. berries should not be submerged for long as they will turn to discolored mush.

  12. Isabella says:

    I am so lazy with washing my fresh produce, however this article may have made me change my mind. I must start washing everything properly, however I must ask does washing or scrubbing fresh produce take away nutrients ?

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      It does not, Isabella 🙂 There are even water and vinegar mixes you can make that are a bit cheaper. Or other types of mixes!

  13. Mary Whyte says:

    Where can I purchase your book “The simple Green Smoothie Solution” ?
    Do you have a book seller in the UK? or can I get one from you?

    Mary Whyte

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Hi Mary,
      Unfortunately, we are not selling that book. It is through someone else who based their book off of SGS information. I am not sure if that book is available in the UK.

  14. Karen says:

    I often wondered if we need to wash ginger root as well? And what is the best way?

  15. Donald @ http://tea-time365.blogspot.com says:

    Hehe, washing food, this looks so weird 😉 And after that you will be eating those, but you will have that in mind – it’s clean food.

  16. Ariel says:

    Hi guys!

    So this isn’t exactly pertinent to this particular post but I don’t know where else to post to ask a question…

    How long are green smoothies good for? I would like to take a smoothie to work for lunch, and I can’t bring my blender with me. Would it still be good if I blended it and brought it to work (keeping it cold in the refrigerator)? I know with juicing that’s bad because of oxidation, it is just as bad for blended smoothies? Thanks

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Hi Ariel!
      Your smoothie is safe to drink for up to 24-48 hours after blending 🙂 Especially if you keep it in an airtight container, and in a refrigerator (like you mentioned). Hope this helps!

  17. Courtney says:

    Any suggestions to cleaning mushrooms? My housemate tried soaking them in vinegar and water but it just made them mushy and gross when they went back into the fridge 🙁

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Great question, Courtney! You can clean mushrooms by wiping them with a damp cloth and a little spray of vegetable wash to get any dirt or grit off but there is a lot of debate on whether you should rinse them under water. I personally wipe mine but sometimes quickly rinse if I am in a really big hurry. To me, it doesn’t affect the taste or appearance. But, mushrooms need to be rinsed only prior to using. Do not rinse before tossing them in the fridge – makes them soggy and inedible. Hope that helps!! 😉

  18. Kevin says:

    Is it the general rule of thumb to thoroughly wash everything before freezing? (i.e. grapes, blueberries, greens, etc.) Or freeze and wash before use?

    Thanks for all the helpful comments!

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Yes! Wash before freezing! Then you can pop your fruit or veggie right into the blender and blend away!! 🙂

  19. Chelsey says:

    Hi! I must share my favorite and inexpensive cleaner- we use Melaleucaca’s Tough & Tender. It’s less than $1 a spray bottle & is made w all natural ingredients. plus, it’s an all-purpose cleaner so you can use it to clean your counter tops, furniture, etc. It gets through the wax coating and doesn’t change the taste of veggies/fruits! Worth a try!

  20. Carla says:

    Seriously, you do not need to purchase “stuff” to wash your fruits and veggies. One cup of white vinegar in a sink full of cold water will do the trick. Fill up the sink (make sure it is clean first), add one cup of regular white vinegar, and then let fruits and veggies soak in the water for about 10 mins. Rinse with fresh water and voila! all clean.

    Raspberries, and blackberries are the exception as they will get mushy. In that case, spray with half and half vinegar/water mixture and then rinse well with fresh water.

    I recommend washing fruits and veggies before you store them. They will last longer before going bad as not only have you gotten the harmful pesticides off, the vinegar also kills bacteria and mold.

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Thanks for the comment! 🙂 There are many versions that can be made at home that we would love to try. But, some people would rather buy their products and we wanted to make sure we offered this up for them! Plus, they get a sweet deal on the Honest Company’s website! 🙂

  21. Crissy says:

    sigh… it pains me to see you doing business with the (dis)Honest Company. But aside from the fact that you couldn’t pay me to use their products, I think its absolutely ridiculous to spend $7 on a “natural” spray when most people already have what they need to wash produce right in their kitchen cabinet – which IS truly natural.

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Hi Crissy!
      Thanks for your input 🙂 It is true that versions can be made at home, there is even a version I have been wanting to make for a while:
      http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-your-own-fruit-and-92738

      There are some people who would rather purchase their own, so we wanted to give them something to look for 🙂

  22. Susan Royal says:

    I read the ingredients as I was interested in the product. Two of the ingredients are corn based and unless organic corn is used, then it is GMO. The glycerin is more then likely made from corn oil as well. As a cancer survivor, I have to be organic to keep me healthy.

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Hi Susan!
      Thank you for sharing 🙂 We will look into it and see what we can find out about the ingredients.

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Hello again, Susan!
      We talked with The Honest Company and they responded to your concern with this:
      _______________

      Thanks so much for your comment. We understand your concern about GMOs and we work hard to not use them wherever possible. The good news is that both of the ingredients you point out in our Fruit + Veggie Wash are in fact GMO-free. The decyl glucoside in our Fruit & Veggie Wash is derived from a non-GMO corn source. And our vegetable glycerin is not only non-GMO, but also certified Kosher.

      We hope this helps address some of your concerns. Thanks for your interest in our products and let us know if we can help answer questions in the future!
      __________________

      Hope this helps!

  23. RockyGal says:

    Or you can save a lot of money and just use a vinegar/water mixture. That’s worked for me for years.

    • Jen H says:

      You can totally make your own, Rocky Gal! Thanks for sharing. It just depends if you have time, the supplies, etc. So buying it is a fast and simple way to begin washing produce asap. Here is a recipe I have actually been wanting to try for vegetable wash, yet just haven’t found the time yet: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-your-own-fruit-and-92738

  24. Tacara says:

    It’s already so expensive eating healthy. I prefer not to buy a veggie was too. Some I have bought were expensive. I read and began filling the sink halfway with water then 1-1/2 cup of vinegar and I soak all my fruits and veggies for about 15 minutes. It even works in berries and keeps them longer. I heard you can spray them with peroxide and water mix but I have not tried that

  25. diana says:

    Broccoli. What is the best way to clean it?

  26. Cristina says:

    Weel, nice tip.
    To make it perfect with what can we clean them properly without a “product”?
    I’m from Portugal
    I use vinager in my leafs and I heard abou t the use of “hydrogen peroxide (?!)
    Do you use them too?

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Hi Cristina!
      A lot of people are saying they use things like vinegar and water.. or even lemon mixed in, too. I would check out this site:
      http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-your-own-fruit-and-92738

  27. Laura says:

    I live in Venezuela. This doesn’t exist here and neither do other products to disinfect veggies and fruits. What can I use to really clean my food??

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Hi Laura!
      A lot of people are saying they use things like vinegar and water.. or even lemon mixed in, too. I would check out this site:
      http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-your-own-fruit-and-92738

  28. Mia says:

    Thanks for the great info! I’m definitely a wham-bammer. I recently bought a fruit and veggie brush but how should I keep it clean? And does it need to be cleaned after each use, even if I’m washing stuff back to back for a smoothie?

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      Hi Mia!
      Probably not a thorough cleaning, but just rinse it after each fruit real quick. If you think that it needs a good washing then go ahead and wash it with dish soap every once and a while 🙂

    • Nina says:

      I put my brushes in the dishwasher every once in a while. The really hot water washes them really well. (While you’re at it, throw some vinegar into the dishwasher for some extra shine for the glasses!)

  29. Olya says:

    Wow! That is a super wash!
    Your tip about freezing leafy greens was sensational!
    I read it in one of your newsletters before and finally tried it last week.
    What an amazing tip!
    Worked so well! Thank you very much.

  30. Caitlin says:

    What about a delicate fruit, like peaches? This is something I’ve wondered about so thank you for this post.

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      We would say to use the spray and rub with your hands–the scrubber will be too abrasive. Hope that helps 🙂

  31. mardhiah says:

    This is awesome! Im as guilty as you too, rinse and thats it.. but i have a question, would it be fine to just wash n scrub it with water?

    • Jadah and Jen says:

      It will not do what the wash will do 🙂 The wash helps to remove the chemicals/gunk off of the skin, but just plain water won’t do much to help with that.

      Don’t get me wrong, using water and scrubbing does more than not using water and scrubbing. But the wash will do a much better job!

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