· Homekeeping Tips · The Easy DIY Produce Wash That Will Save You Money Now & Later

The Easy DIY Produce Wash That Will Save You Money Now & Later

produce wash

I was never much of a stickler about meticulously washing all the produce that I brought into my home, until recently when I actually did some research about it. Learning about the dirt and bacteria that can remain on fresh produce (even organic produce!) made me see things in a whole new light!

Now that I have changed my ways, there’s actually something very gratifying about making sure the food that I feed my family has been thoroughly cleaned. And not just cleaned, but cleaned by me with the help of safe and natural ingredients!

produce wash

The Benefits Of Washing Your Produce

But the benefits of cleaning your produce aren’t limited to just health. Bacteria can also cause produce to decay prematurely, which often results in a lot of it going to waste. Removing that bacteria by washing your produce will keep it fresh longer, reducing your food waste and saving you money in the long run!

Luckily for us, there’s a quick and easy way to make sure all the fruits and vegetables that make it to your table are not only clean, but will stay fresh as long as possible too: a homemade produce wash! I’ll show you how to use bacteria-banishing vinegar and purifying lemon essential oil to make a simple spray-on produce wash below.

How To Make A Safe & Inexpensive Produce Wash

produce wash

You’ll need:

3 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
10 drops lemon essential oil

produce wash


Add the water, vinegar, and lemon oil to a glass spray bottle and shake to combine. Shake the spray bottle again before each use to remix the oil and water, which will separate over time.

How To Use Your Produce Wash

produce wash

Step 1 – Spray

Lay out your produce on a towel and spray it thoroughly with your produce wash. Let the spray sit on the fruit and vegetables for 5-10 minutes to give it time to start breaking down grime and eliminating bacteria.

(I almost always let cleaners sit for a while before rinsing or wiping. Remember, time is your friend when it comes to cleaning!) :-)

produce wash

Step 2 – Rinse

For produce items with a hard skin (like potatoes or apples), scrub them with a veggie brush to loosen up any dirt or grime that may be stuck to them, then rinse thoroughly under cold water.

produce wash

For fragile produce items like berries, leafy greens, and tomatoes, skip the scrub brush and rinse them directly after the “soaking” period.

produce wash

Step 3 – Dry

Use a towel or paper towel to dry your produce thoroughly. (Be especially diligent with berries, which are prone to mold and mildew growth if they are stored wet. For leafy greens and herbs, try a salad spinner!)

And there you have it! A simple way to ensure your produce is squeaky clean and ready to eat. :-)

What’s your best tip for keeping produce fresh?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • I have found foods such as potatoes, some fruits can be cleaned by placing in the dishwasher with dish-washing soap cold water cycle and air dry sitting works well.

  • Great idea,Jillee! I went to Pin it though and don’t see your Pinterest button. I never ran across this before so was wondering what happened. Am I just not seeing it?

  • I use Thieves fruit and Veggie wash. I can strawberries to last 3 weeks, firm and fresh. I also wash my containers and all produce like melons because when you peel you bring germs left on produce right into edible fruit.

  • We use the salad spinner on the berries going into the refrigerator, all one has to remember is to line the basket with paper towels to keep the fruit intact.

    • I keep a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar. I merely spray it on my fruits and vegis. Let stand a minute or so – then rise under running water.

  • You asked what our best tip was for keeping produce fresh. Mine is this: after you have washed and dried your produce, store it in a zip lock bag with a paper towel or two either wrapped around the produce (like a head of lettuce or stalks of celery) or place the paper towels on the bottom and top of bag and then add the produce. My fresh veggies seem to stay crisp and last forever when I include the paper towels to keep things very, very dry.

    • We do almost the same thing, but we are trying to cut down on plastic and paper waste, so we use a reusable silicone bag and our retired dish towels to wrap stuff in- it can all be cleaned and reused, and it keeps veggies ultra fresh!!!

  • I like this. We have a lot veggies coming on now from our garden. I like the vinegar solution just have to find a spray bottle big enough to hold it. I do also like the baking soda solution for that reason too, not having to worry about storing. The premade washes sell for about $5.00 so I would never buy something that easy to make.

  • I use a baking soda wash. 2 teaspoons of baking soda to a quart of water. Slush produce around and Let produce soak for several minutes. Then thoroughly rinse with fresh water. Surprising what comes off your produce-yuck! Not to mention, I have seen many people handling produce in the store then put it back on the shelf.

  • Very helpful, particularly in this virus time. One question though…can i skip the lemon essential oil and only mix up water n vinegar, is it ok?
    Also what is a salad spinner ..the one u recommend for drying leafy greens? Thx Jillee!

    • Amru, yes you can just use vinegar and water. Been doing that for a long time. Some people like a salad spinner for their leafy greens. After you wash/rinse your lettuce you put it in the spinner to get rid of excess water. I am in my 70s and to me it is just another thing to have to wash. I merely place whatever I wash/rinse off on a paper towel or a dish towel, bath towel – the old fashioned way. lol
      I love all the ideas Jillee gives us – thank you Jillee.

      • I never “wash” my salad spinner, Just rinse it with some water, then air dry. And if your worried abt bacteria, I just sit it out in the sunshine.

      • Great idea Lisa! I’ve had a water ionizer for Years & the 10.0 takes all the dirt off produce but I’m going to use the baking soda & or vinegar with water as I think my ionizer is on it’s last leg… :-(

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