Wash Your Fruits & Veggies With Vinegar

clean fruits and vegetables with vinegar

Clean Fruits and Vegetables: Organic or Not

Many fruits and vegetables are grown with pesticides to get rid of bugs.  Although nobody wants to find a creepy crawly thing in a peach or tomato, according to the Environmental Working Group, even small doses of pesticides can adversely affect your health and are worrisome, not well understood, and in some cases are completely unstudied.

Fortunately, you can drastically reduce your exposure to pesticides and bacteria found on produce with a thorough vinegar and water wash.  Experts found that a white vinegar and water wash kills 98% of bacteria and removes pesticides.

You can concoct your own vinegar/water mixture at home to save money.  You’ll probably spend less than 20 cents  to make a homemade vinegar and water rinse, compared to around $4 for a premade produce wash.  Plus,  you can use the same bottle many times when you make your own wash!

Good Green Habits for Washing Produce

  • Mix 3 parts water to 1 part white vinegar (3:1 ) in a spray bottle.
  • Spray on fruits and veggies to get rid of pesticide residue.
  • Rinse with water after spraying.


  • Fill a bowl with water and add 1/8 to 1/2 cup of vinegar, depending on the size of your bowl.
  • Place your fruits and veggies in the bowl.
  • Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse with water.

Note: GGH loves the second version because it’s super easy and quick.
Update:  You can read more about this topic (and get a new recipe!) at Cleaning Fruits and Vegetables: Organic and Conventionally Grown.

42 comments to Wash Your Fruits & Veggies With Vinegar

  • lolita

    tnx for the information

  • Lauren

    Don’t some pesticides get absorbed into the fruits and vegetables through the water they suck up, like strawberries? How does this rinse get rid of what’s inside?

  • E

    How long do you soak/leave the vinegar on your fruits and vegetables

  • Judi

    “Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.”

  • Le Blanc

    Should I only use white vinegar or will malt (or dark) vinegar give the same result?

  • marilyn

    Has this test gone through any scientific verification? And is flesh tested separately from peals.

    thank you

  • Tracey

    The link for the update with new recipe is not working. I have just run out of my “store-bought organic veggie wash”… of course the same day as I bought a TON of produce from a local farmer’s market. A friend sent me your page for information but I am very interested in the new recipe; how it differs and why? Thanks!!

  • RP

    For our delicate stuff, such as berries, we make a dilute solution from laundry detergent. Not all-tempa-cheer of course! The natural organic type of detergent with no dyes, perfumes, or any phosphate and metal containing compounds. We soak the fruits in a bowl with a very small amount of the soap and then rinse it off. Your plums are squeaky clean afterwards! You actually use so little, that one jug of detergent will last a lifetime.

  • chris m

    does this work on raspberrys too, mine always want to go mouldy in a day or two.

  • Linda

    Can you reuse your vinegar water several times for other fruits and veggies?

  • greenstrings

    Generally, the water will look somewhat “dirty” after you use it from regular grime. We usually can’t see the chemicals, but oftentimes we can taste them! So, to answer your question, I usually use the water in batches. If it starts to look dirty or I have super big batches of fruits and veggies, I might switch the water. However, I never reuse the water on different days. Good question!

  • greenstrings

    Yes, I use the rinse on raspberries. Although you must be VERY gentle and limit the soak time because raspberries are so tender. As for mould, I’m not sure if a vinegar rinse will be a significant help with that. Some fruits and veggies just naturally do not last very long. My advice is to eat them soon after you get them. When fruits and veggies don’t mould, they’re oftentimes covered with pesticides. (Certain store-bought cookies have a one-year shelf life, but fresly baked homemade cookies are only good for about one week. That’s just crazy! Store-bought mayonaise won’t mould for at least one year, but homemade mayonaise will mould in about 2 weeks.)

  • Linda

    Thank you so much for your quick reply on reusing the vinegar rinse…..

  • Bee

    i soaked my apples in the suggested vinegar/water solution for 15 mins and then rinsed and dried them, but they came out with some white splashy looking splotches on them. so i thought maybe they needed to soak longer, but then the whole apple was nearly covered with white. why does this do this? what is the white stuff (as it doesnt seem to rub or wash off)?

  • Bee

    you may disregard my previous comment, as i just needed to scrub harder, the white eventually scrubbed off

  • Nicole

    Do you need to do this right before eating the produce, or is it safe to wash, dry, and refrigerate for a period of time before eating? Will it turn mushy?

  • Diane Mullins

    Seems that we all must try to buy organic, on the good 15 list (or whatever its called) whenever possible – wash in warm running water – I’ve found that washing before refrigeration refreshes the vegie & they are fresh longer.When we can’t get organic, it’s best to stay away from the dirty dozen plus list. What we do plan to eat can be soaked in water/vineger for about 20 minutes, then lightly scrubbed with a soft bristle brush under warm running water. Store in fridge or on counter for some. Not so difficult when done all at once. Wouldn’t re-using the vinegar/water mixture be like soaking your food in pesticide water?

  • greenstrings

    Thank you for the tips! And… please do not reuse the water, since the pesticides are transferred from the fruit or vegetables to the water during the soak.

  • greenstrings

    I usually wash fruits and veggies in batches, allow them to air dry or wipe with a clean towel and then store on my counter or in the refrigerator. I’ve never had anything turn mushy because of a vinegar wash. In other words, fruits and vegetables will eventually rot if you don’t eat them, but the cause is usually time, temperature, humidity, etc. (If food doesn’t eventually rot, it’s because of preservatives!)

  • greenstrings

    The white stuff you saw was probably wax. If you polish an apple right after it’s been picked off a tree, it’ll turn shiny because you’ve removed natural wax that the apple makes to protect its water content. However, since the 1920s, commercially harvested apples have been coated with commercial grade wax to protect water content for longer periods of time and to make apples look appealing. One pound of wax can cover as many as 160,000 apples, which translates to about 2 drops of wax per apple. Supposedly the wax is made from natural ingredients certified by the US Food and Drug Administration and is safe to eat because the waxes are made from natural sources, including Carnauba wax made from the leaves of the Brazilian palm, Candelia wax made from a reed-like dessert plant of the genus euphorbia, and also food grade shellac. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my apples without added wax or shellac!

  • Shannon

    I have been doing this for years. Vinegar is amazing. I have an orange allergy, and we believe it’s actually from the pesticides reaction with the oranges. I wont go into details on the years I’ve dealt with that, but it only started 12 years ago. I was fine when I was a kid. In any event my point is I have had an organic orange and NO allergic reaction. Buy organic if/when you can. Sure it costs more but there is a reason.
    I use the vinegar wash on all veggies and fruits. My strawberries are BRILLIANT after this. If you soak for 5 min, then rinse in cold, your strawberries will keep up to 2 weeks! no joke! I dry completely then don’t store in that container of cardboard or full of holes. No no. Vinegar keeps everything you wash much fresher. Salas even for 8 days?! True story. I store everything in air tight containers. Lettuce with a paper towel damp and a spray of vinegar on it.. Strawberries and raspberries air tight,dried competely and no damp towel.
    Try it-works!!

  • Lynn

    Whatever you do don’t do a final rinse with tap water that is chlorinated. Fruits and vegetables absorb chlorine rapidly…something that is easily proven with a few chlorine drops. So you could be removing the pesticides with the vinegar BUT you’re adding chlorine. Ugh…

    I use high alkaline (11.5 pH) water to rinse all of my fruits and veggies and strong acid (2.5pH) to kill the germs.

  • Zenqi

    I buy a lot of raspberries and used to have a high percentage go bad; until I started using vinegar. I now can buy six baskets of raspberries and they will last a week. As soon as I get home from the farmer’s market I dump all of the raspberries into a large bowl, pour a few cups of vinegar over them, fill the bowl with cold water and let them sit for about fifteen minutes. I drain them, lightly rinse and lay them out on a towel to dry before putting them into their baskets and into the refrigerator. I do not taste the vinegar.

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