A sink full of Fruit and Vegetables soaking in a veggie wash

Kitchen Kapers: DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

This DIY Fruit and Veggie Wash is a simple way to naturally (and inexpensively) clean your fruit and vegetables. Just one simple ingredient!

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How to Make DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

A simple 1 ingredient cleaner!

I have been using this simple 1-ingredient cleaning method to wash my fruit and vegetables for years.  It’s as easy as filling a sink with water and vinegar, then adding your fresh produce to soak.  Inexpensive, easy and effective!  

How do I know my fruit and vegetables are clean?

All you have to do is look at the water.  It’s dirty.  Brownish and with pieces of wax and debris from the produce.

After soaking, why do some of my fruits and vegetables have a white layer on them?

When you get produce from the market it’s always shiny, and the vinegar from this wash dissolves most of that shiny layer, and what you are seeing is just the remnants of that.

Will my fruits and vegetables taste like vinegar?

No.  If you rinse well, there is no vinegar taste.  Even in the berries. 

Let’s talk about berries.

You can use this cleaning method to wash berries as well.  You just can’t let them soak as long as you would apples or oranges.  I will only soak mine for about 5 minutes or so.  Rinse well.

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

Fruit and Veggie Wash Tips:

  • Ratio:  Basic cleaning ratio of 1 cup vinegar to 4 cups water.
  • Vinegar:  Use regular white household vinegar.
  • Soaking:  You can make this wash and soak your produce in your clean kitchen sink, or feel free to use a bucket.
  • Scrubbing:  Feel free to lightly scrub your produce with the vinegar/water solution after it has soaked.  This will get rid of any remaining wax and dirt.
  • Rinsing:  Make sure to rinse your produce well after soaking in the vinegar/water solution.
  • Drying:  After rinsing, lay your produce out to dry on a clean tea towel.

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

Clean.  Ready to eat fruit and vegetables.

Print

DIY Fruit and Veggie Wash

Basic cleaning ratio of 1 cup vinegar to 4 cups water.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 sink filled with lukewarm water

Instructions

  1. Make sure your sink is very clean.  Or if you wish, use a large clean bucket.
  2. Fill a sink halfway with lukewarm water.
  3. Add 1 cup of white vinegar.
  4. Mix.
  5. Add your fruit. Don’t over fill your sink with fruit.
  6. Soak for about 10 minutes (shorter for berries – about 2 – 5 minutes).
  7. Rinse well.
  8. The Result: Clean fruit.

Keywords: fruit and vegetable wash, veggie wash

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140 Comments

  1. Yay! Another way to use my handy vinegar! I use it to ‘clean green’ all the time, glad to know there’s one more reason to keep it around!

    That fruit looks really yummy, very colorful selection. Oh summer fruits! I’ll have some once winter ends in Australia. (I don’t think they’re allowed to import, so fruits are ridiculously priced, especially since a lot of crop was damaged in the flooding this past US spring.)

  2. Hi Jo-Anna
    As an avid follower of your blog I just wanted to say that I love your posts and to mention that I’ve just started my own blog. Please check it out if interested – visualmeringue.blogspot.com
    Thanks!
    Elaine.

  3. Found this on pinterest! What a wonderful idea! Now I’m excited to go grocery shopping in a few days so I can try it out. 🙂

    1. Jo-Anna…does this really work with strawberries or blueberries? I live in Florida and my berries will turn to mush unless you wash just right before eating! I will have to do a test run on a few.. Denise

  4. hey! what a helpful post! you mentioned mainly fruit, but can i put my veggies in there too? what about lettuce? you think the vinigar would stay in the leaves and taste funny?

    1. Thank you! I am very happy that you found it useful! I use it for a lot of my veggies – things like cucumbers, peppers, that kind of thing. I’ve never used it for things like lettuce or celery – so I’m not sure about those – I would be a bit worried these types of veggies would taste vinegary.
      I hope that helps!
      Jo-Anna

    2. I’ve seen on some other websites that give the same vinegar/water ratio and they say for lettuce, separate the leaves and swish them around in the water then rinse quickly, don’t let them sit in there for more than a minute and dry as best you can before putting them away because the water will cause them to wilt faster. And for celery, simply put it in for a couple minutes, I’d recommend less than 5. And always rinse very well and let dry properly and you won’t have any vinegar taste at all.

    3. Oh and when it comes to berries, even raspberries, the easiest and safest way I’ve found to clean them is to put them in a collander before dipping them in the mix and rinsing them, that way you don’t bruise them or anything. Just give them a few swishes in the mix and then gently toss them to get them all rinsed off in the water.

    1. Just found the posts about strawberries. THanks, but will the berries last in the fridge for any length of time after the soaking? THanks, Denise. Just discovered your great blog!

  5. Vinegar kills bacteria and mold. Your fruit will last days longer. I also have a spray bottle of vinegar water mix.

  6. Has anyone tried this on vegetables as well such as potatoes, carrots, baby carrots (already peeled & cut), etc? Thank you.

    1. Thanks! That’s a good question, and unfortunately I don’t really have an answer. My guess is that this wash helps to remove some residual pesticides on the surface of the fruits, but not all of it. A lot of pesticides end up in the fruit too, so it’s almost impossible to remove them. Every little bit helps, but organic is best.
      Jo-Anna

      1. I just tried the apple cider vinegar soak with my grapes which I was originally disgusted with and after soaking them it was like eating organic produce. Thank you for the info.

  7. I just used this today…but didn’t see any “icky” stuff floating around…not sure if there just wasn’t that much on the fruit (apples & grapes, carrots & peppers). I had a hard time keeping everything submerged, so I took my larger cutting board & placed it on top to keep everything down. Worked great! Thanks for the awesome tip!

  8. Just make sure your sink is super clean before doing this. Sinks are one of the dirtiest, bacteria carrying places in our home. Thanks for your tip. I’ll be using this will my delicious summer fruit!

    1. In your vinegar/water solution that you use to clean the sink, what ratio of water to vinegar do you use?

    2. I will definately use this mixture to wash my fruit!! But, instead of using the sink, I’m using a lg square wash basin. Then I store it away and only use it for cooking purposes.:)

    1. It’s important to really dry the cilantro and I do soak it. Then after drying in my salad spinner, I wrap the roots in a damp paper towel and put into plastic bag in fridge.

  9. I tried this today, I had about 4 red apples, 3 green apples, and 2 cucumbers. When I rinsed it all, the red apples came out with white film all over them. It was too hard to scrub, and barely came off when I scraped my fingernail across the skin. Did I do something wrong? I used warm water and about a cup of white vinegar.

    1. I tried this and all of my apples had alot of white film on them. I could not scrape it off. What is this film? Is it the wax? I let them soak for almost 30 mins.

  10. Okay, you said berries too? Raspberries? They are so fragile. Just use as a wash? Same with strawberries? I would love for them to last longer. I can see it working well on blueberries since they are firmer.

    1. Raspberries are a little more tricky…I don’t wash mine in this solution only because they are so fragile, and I’d be afraid they would fall apart. I just rinse them under water. But I do wash my strawberries and blueberries in it, right before we eat them.
      Jo-Anna

  11. What type of vinegar do you use? Malt? White? white or red wine vinegar? Cider?
    So many choices these days? I presume white vinegar by default.
    MAG

  12. I just tried this… but I think I’m going to have to find a spray bottle because most of my fruits are apples, raspberries and strawberries. I did use the soak on my lemons and they look great. Thanks!

  13. I think I’ll do this in a cooler in my bath tub. I think it’ll be easier for me to clean/fill/drain the cooler than the sink (as silly as that sounds.) Besides I seriously don’t trust my sink because I have 3 roommates and their habits are mildly disgusting (read: my germaphobia runs rampant now.)

    Do you think you could compile a list of fruits/veggies you would
    -soak for longer
    -soak a little bit
    -swish and rinse
    -rinse only before eating and
    -wouldn’t wash at all?

    Thanks~

  14. Can’t wait to try this-can you wash all fruits? strawberries, blueberries? and do they have to be organic?

  15. I tried this with nectarines and plums and it made the fruit turn bad. It works great on apples and tomatoes and most veggies. But I switched to baking soda and water for my soft skinned fruits (apples are not soft skinned, and although tomatoes are they held up fine with the vinegar soak.

  16. I am so going to do this. I have a mixture that I have been using (1 cup of vinegar to 3 cups of water in spray container)but this sounds like a way easier way to clean quantities. I use my spray on strawberries bought at the grocery store too. Just spray the berries, wait a few minutes and rinse off. Doesn’t hurt them at all. I also wash melons thoroughly with dish soap and water, then rinse well, followed by vinegar spray and fresh water rinse. After the cantelope deaths, I don’t cut into anything without a good cleaning. Thank you for the tip. Frani

  17. Awesome tip! I’ve been looking for a good way to wash my produce without having to buy the fruit was. I love that this also helps to preserve it as well! If people are worried about their sink being unsanitary, or don’t have the time to give it a good scrub (as is usually the case with me), I’m sure using a large pot would work in a pinch. I just have to figure out the ratios to use. Maybe half a cup of vinegar for a large stock pot?

  18. Looks like a good idea ! I remember something like this being recommended for produce bought “on the economy” in Korea in 1987.
    Rice vinegar or “white vinegar” (from corn) might be good ideas to avoid the smells of apple or grape vinegar.
    Asian groceries once had hard rubber brownish tubs for such washing, then pink or baby blue washing bowls, and now stainless steel basins that fit inside your sink to soak dishes or peaches.

    -mfr

  19. Looks like a good idea ! I remember something like this being recommended for produce bought “on the economy” in Korea in 1987.
    Rice vinegar or “white vinegar” (from corn) might be good ideas to avoid the smells of apple or grape vinegar.
    Asian groceries once had hard rubber brownish tubs for such washing, then pink or baby blue plastic washing bowls, and now stainless steel basins that fit inside your sink to soak dishes, or peaches…

    -mfr

  20. Here is my question…since the apples float, how do you soak the bit of apple that stays above the mixture?

  21. Wondering if anyone else found this to ruin your fruits & veggies?? I’ve tried this several times and each time my fruit, even my lemons, went bad super fast!!! I was really careful to dry the fruit as well as I possibly could but still didn’t work very good. My strawberries & cherries seemed to get gross overnight. I don’t know what went wrong but Ive gone back to using my old product I get at Trader Joe’s. Any ideas how I could mess up something so easy???

  22. Any ideas why this didn’t work for me?? Ive tried it several times and each time my fruit seemed to go bad quicker. Ive tried lemons, oranges, cherries & strawberries….tried to dry them all well but they all seemed to either go bad or mold quickly!! Ive given up and gone back to my store bought stuff. Any thoughts??

    1. That’s a good question, and unfortunately I don’t really have an answer. My guess is that this wash helps to remove some residual pesticides on the surface of the fruits, but not all of it. A lot of pesticides end up in the fruit too, so it’s almost impossible to remove them. Every little bit helps, but organic is best.
      Jo-Anna

  23. WOW!! A lot of responses, Pinterest helped your post explode!! I wanted to add to the comments about sink cleanliness, it appeared your sink is stainless steel, which is inherently antimicrobial! All I use to wash mine is wet it, sprinkle about 1/8 c of baking soda, and wipe it all over it with a paper towel! That removes any soil (and rust from that can no one rinsed!) and then you are golden!! Thanks for the tip, I just soaked my grapes, they were on sale and I am hoping they will last a bit longer!!

  24. I have been doing this for years and have no problem. Delicate things like berries don’t need as long. Then rinse well with cool water and spread out on layers of paper towels or clean dish towels to air dry. Celery just don’t cut the ends before you soak and then rinse and cut ends. If you are worried about the sink being dirty, I have a plastic wash tub that I only use for this purpose.

  25. I was just thinking… if people thought their sinks were too “dirty” to wash their fruit, they could always buy a dishpan (the plastic tub ones). I use those in my classroom for storing things, but they were made for dishes and come in a couple of sizes (small, large) and are really cheap (a couple of bucks at Walmart)!

  26. I just tried it with apple cider vinegar cause thats all I had… but I’m not seeing any results. Maybe I’ll have to buy the regular vinegar. Can you post a pic of what the sink/fruit look like after next time you do it?! Thanks!

  27. I tried this but the wax is still on my apples. . . .now they look gross and white. Did I do something wrong?

    1. Hi Chelsea
      No actually you did it right. That white stuff is just the last bit of wax & gunk to come off your fruit – it means that they’re mostly completely clean. You don’t see that stuff every time you clean your fruit – just some apples have more wax on them than others. You can usually just rub it off with a slightly damp cloth.
      Jo-Anna

  28. i have been using the fruit & veggie wash from trader joe’s i think its like a citric acis is this good or not & another thing that just happened is i bought strawberries & rinsed in the same solution the citric wash and i will take them back because they have an after taste like the taste of a pickell!!! has anyone had this happen???

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  30. Re “filling sink” with water – not such a great idea since your sink is a germ filled arena, defeating the purpose. Use a large bowl for your vinegar wash – not as convenient, but much cleaner..

  31. Thanks!! I use vinegar for a lot of things but somehow never used it on my fruit. I have been cleaning my fruit with
    baking soda and have noticed a lot of fluid retention as a result. Will have to try the vinegar.

  32. Hi,

    It’s important to use purified water for both the soak and the rinse. There’re parasites and other contaminates in tap water. For all fruits and veggies that I eat raw (even those that need to be peeled), I add grapefruit seed extract to the water. For cooked veggies, the vinegar is fine and doesn’t really need purified water.

  33. I use this strategy but a little different.
    I first put the water in the sink, then the fruits and vegetales after that I add Vinager and Baking Soda and leave it there for 8-15 minutes. Then rinse, scrub and dry and everything is set.

  34. Just to let you know and it is very important, is that some vinegars are made from a petroleum base and it is not required to be mentioned on the ingredients list of the container. My children are allergic to petroleum and coal tar based products, this is how I know. I belong to the Feingold organization and we research all our products. Furthermore, some vinegars are made from GMO corn, so if you get an organic vinegar, chances are you will be free from a GMO and petroleum base. It is good to know this because as the vinegar may remove some pesticide residue, it allows other equally harmful contaminants to seep in if it is not pure.

  35. Hi! I found this on Pinterest and it solved my problem with strawberries spoiling right after I brought them home from the market. Thank you for sharing this and I am passing it along to my readers.

  36. HI, I was just wondering how far ahead of time you can do this before you eat the fruit? I shop for fruit once a week at Sprout’s and I am wondering if I should wash everything when I get home or just what we will eat in the next few days or just do one day at a time or right before we eat? I did say you did berry’s before you eat them, but wondering how long other fruits last, such as grapes, apples, peaches etc?

    1. Hi Tara!
      I just wash them with this solution when ever it’s convenient…I try to wash all my fruits like apples, tomatoes, grapes…that kind of thing when I get home from the grocery store only because the timing works for me. I find it’s easiest to wash everything all at once so I don’t have to do it later! Once they are all washed they last until you eat them.

  37. Hi,
    Didn’t read through 126 comments, but instead of in the sink, do this in a large bowl, pan, or whatever.
    Katy

  38. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this wonderful tip!
    I want my strawberries to be clean before I soak them in one and make chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s day.

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