Everyone knows that fresh produce brought home from the grocery store need to be washed. But if you’re like me, chances are a “wash” usually consists of running the fruit & veggies under the faucet for a few seconds. Once each piece of produce is sufficiently wet, I figured the process was done. But boy was I wrong.

There are actually a few ways to properly wash fruit and vegetables. But the faucet method simply won’t cut (or wash) it. With the kitchen being the last stop on the long list of destinations the fruits and veggies have traveled to, it’s important to give produce a proper scrub down.

There are a few different ways and methods at our disposal to properly wash fruits and vegetables. With these tricks, you can be 100% confident that any bacteria or chemical pesticides are removed from the produce before they are eaten or used as ingredients!

General Tips for Washing Fruit & Veggies

  • Wash your hands with soap before & after
  • Rinse produce before it is peeled or cut
  • Immediately take produce out of plastic bags or packages
  • Do not use hand soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach
  • Dry after washing with clean paper or kitchen towel

When it comes to thoroughly washing vegetables, there are two different methods we like to guarantee a complete and total clean. We’ll detail not only the methods themselves, but which types of produce should be cleaned in each process.

Vinegar is the Best Cleaner

You’ll notice that we love to use vinegar when washing fresh produce, or just around the kitchen in general. Vinegar is perfect for removing bacteria, and is just an all around great disinfectant! While water is great, and can actually remove up to 98% of bacteria from produce, the acidity in vinegar finishes the job. Vinegar can also help increase the shelf life of produce, a true win-win!

When using vinegar on fruits and vegetables (or when making cleaning solutions in general), use 1 part vinegar for 3 parts water. This vinegar solution can be used around the kitchen, and is the best way to clean fruit and vegetables with our highlighted methods below.

The Soaking Method

soaking method to clean tomatoes

This process is as simple as it sounds. The soaking method is used to infiltrate the nooks and crannies of produce for a deep clean. The soaking method involves taking the produce and soaking them in a bucket of sanitized liquid until all of the bacteria and chemicals can be washed away.

The soaking method is perfect when washing tightly packed produce, like berries or veggies with a lot of surface area and layers like broccoli, or delicate leafy greens. Since it can be difficult to really clean out inner areas, the soaking method does a great job of penetrating hard to reach places.

The soaking method is ideal for cleaning these types of fruit & vegetables:

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Rasberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

The process itself is pretty simple. All you need is a container (like a bowl or even a clean sink) big enough to hold the produce, a colander, some distilled vinegar and some tap water.  Once you’ve gathered the materials, follow these easy steps to complete the soaking method:

  • Wash hands with soap & water.
  • Make sure the container where the produce will sit is completely clean.
  • Fill container with water diluted with a splash of vinegar, enough so that the produce can be fully submerged.
  • Let produce soak for around 30 seconds.
  • Pour produce into a colander and allow cleaning solution to drain.
  • Run the cleaned vegetables under the faucet for 10-20 seconds.
  • Air dry.

The Spray Method

For fruit and vegetables with harder skin or larger, more firm surface areas, the spray method is generally the best way for a proper wash. The spray method is exactly as it sounds. You spray the produce with cleaning solution, and scrub softly to remove pesticides and dirt. Produce with firmer skin such as eggplant, potatoes, or cucumbers may benefit from using a spray and scrub to thoroughly clean away dirt and pesticides.

These are some of the types of fruit and vegetables that are ideal to clean with the spray method:

  • Apples
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Melons
  • Potatoes
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Oranges

Like the soaking method, the spray method is equally simple. All you’ll need for a deep clean is a sink, a spray bottle (duh!), some distilled vinegar, a soft brush or paper towels, and some water.

Once you’ve gathered the materials, grab your produce and start these simple steps.

  1. Wash hands with a mild soap.
  2. Mix a splash of vinegar with warm water.
  3. Add the mixture to the spray bottle.
  4. Spray solution on the produce until fully coated.
  5. Let the solution soak on the produce for around 30 seconds.
  6. Use the brush or paper towels to lightly scrub the produce, and remove all visible blemishes or dirt spots.
  7. Run the fruit/vegetables under cold water to full rinse off the vinegar spray.
  8. Air dry.