Top 5 Ways To Clean Produce

15 Mar

My mother is Mrs. Clean and she is worried about the parasites and other undesirable microorganisms in the raw foods that we eat. So to ease her mind, this post is for my Mama and for all you Mamas out there who want clean and non-toxic food for your family!

Me: Yes, I do clean my veggies! My mother: How?


The University of Maine conducted a study on cleaning produce with:

1. distilled water and

three kinds of commercial wash treatments

2. Fit®

3. Ozone Water Purifier XT-301 and

4. J0-4 Multi-Functional Food Sterilizer).

They found that distilled water cleaned just as well or better than commercial wash treatments.


Cook’s Illustrated conducted a study on apples and pears cleaning them with:

1. soap (not recommended at all because it leaves a residue)

2. vinegar solution

3. scrub brush and

4. simply water.

They found 2 solutions that cleaned better than just water: scrub brushing removed 85% of the bacteria and diluted vinegar removed 98% of the bacteria. The Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, found that cleaning an apple by dipping in the vinegar solution and rubbing for 5 seconds reduced salmonella bacteria significantly.

How To Clean With Vinegar

1. SOAK PRODUCE for a few minutes up to 15 minutes in vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) and rinse with water.

2. SPRAY PRODUCE with same solution, leave for a few minutes and rinse with water.

NOTE: Vinegar can be white or apple cider vinegar and can be substituted with lemon or lime juices. Some produce, like mushrooms, strawberries and peaches, cannot be soaked for long periods.


Susan Sumner, a food scientist at Virginia at Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg, discovered an easy yet effective method of cleaning produce by spraying them first with vinegar, then with hydrogen peroxide, or vice versa. She told Science News Online, “If the acetic acid [vinegar] got rid of 100 organisms, the hydrogen peroxide would get rid of 10,000, and the two together would get rid of 100,000.” Apparently, this method was found to be more effective than chlorine and other commercial products.

How To Clean With Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

1. Fill a clean bottle with full strength vinegar (white or apple cider).

2. Fill another clean bottle with full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide, which you can get at any grocery or drug store.

3. Spray produce with one, then the other. It doesn’t really matter which you spray with first.

4. Rinse with water.


If you don’t have distilled water, a scrub brush, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide? Soak produce in a saline solution (1 tsp salt to 1 cup water or 1/2 cup salt to a basin full of water) for a few minutes up to 15 minutes and rinse.

For more information on DIY cleaning visit

5 Responses to “Top 5 Ways To Clean Produce”


  1. Going Green Part 2- Cleaning « Snob on a Budget - March 17, 2011

    […] Top 5 Ways To Clean Produce ( […]

  2. My Fast-Food Energizer Salad « Mama in the Kitchen - March 26, 2011

    […] 1 pint packet of organic cherry tomatoes, just spritz with vinegar and hydrogen peroxide and rinse […]

  3. Vegan Family Meals Blog Tour: Kale Chips « - June 23, 2011

    […] 2. I soak my Kale leaves in water and vinegar, then rinse in water to clean them and dry them in my salad spinner.  Click here for my Top 5 Ways To Clean Produce. […]

  4. Going Green Part 2- Cleaning » Snob on a Budget - September 6, 2011

    […] Top 5 Ways To Clean Produce ( […]

  5. A Non-toxic Kitchen Makeover « MomsRising Blog - January 24, 2012

    […] a scrub, but don’t waste money on pricey commercial versions. Check out this guide to washing produce by Mama in the Kitchen; it has two simple, vinegar based and salt based scrubs that you can make at […]

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