Washing your produce properly can be a tedious task, but it’s an important one to consider if you aren’t already doing it.  It’s a step that often gets missed, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic we want to make sure you’re taking measures to stay as safe as possible – including washing your produce thoroughly!  Though buying organic is best, we understand this isn’t feasible for everyone.  Even if you buy organic, it’s still a good idea to wash your produce.

When we purchase our fruits and vegetables, no matter where they come from, they’re likely to have some undesirable tagalongs.  Whether this debris is dirt, pesticides, waxes, or bacteria – we’re better off not putting it into our bodies.  Rinsing your produce in cold water can effectively remove some of these pollutants, but a serious produce wash ensures that our fruits and vegetables are thoroughly cleaned.  Did you know that you can make a produce wash at home, and that it only takes a few ingredients that you probably have already? 

There are a couple options when it comes to your produce wash: spray or soak.  If you have an extra spray bottle, this will be the quicker way to go.  If you don’t have a spray bottle, not to worry, you can make a produce soak! This will take a bit longer, but it’s a great option when you have other things to do around the house.  No matter how you choose to wash your produce, check out our tips section below.  Some fruits and vegetables are more delicate than others and can be damaged if not washed properly!

Produce Wash Spray
-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
-1 tbsp baking soda
-1 ½ cup of water (preferably filtered water)

Put all ingredients into a spray bottle and mix/shake gently. Some foam may appear, and this is totally normal. Once mixed, spray onto produce and let sit for at least 3-5 minutes. Rinse under cold water thoroughly and dry. 

Produce Wash Soak
-½  cup of white vinegar 
-1 tbsp salt
-Optional: 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Fill a basin, clean sink, or large bowl with cold water. Add vinegar and lemon juice and mix gently.  Add produce to the soak and let sit for up to 1 hour (25-30 minutes at minimum). When finished soaking, rinse produce thoroughly with cold water and dry. 

Lettuce and other leafy greens are more delicate in terms of washing.  For best results, mix 1 tbsp of salt with 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice in a spray bottle.  Spray your greens and let them sit for a minute or two.  You can then add them to the produce wash (water and vinegar) and let soak for 10-15 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly with cold water and dry.

For berries, we recommend a produce spray with diluted lemon juice (2 cups of water with ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice).  Berries are delicate and easily take on the flavour of whatever they are soaked with, so vinegar is not ideal. 

Make sure your produce is completely dry before placing in the fridge as this helps to prevent decay. 

Happy produce washing and stay safe!

By Natalie Ovics, CHN
Papillon Medical & Dermatology