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Make your own homemade produce wash with a few simple ingredients including apple cider vinegar and essential oils or lemon juice. This budget-friendly DIY is perfect for washing all produce, and I share exactly how to clean your produce most effectively.
I have to admit that I used to be the worst about washing fruits and vegetables before eating them. I would rinse an apple under the faucet for five seconds and call it good. It wasn’t until I had kids that I really started to prioritize washing their produce.
Regardless of whether you buy organic or conventional produce, I would always recommend washing all of your fruits and vegetables before eating them. However, you definitely want to prioritize washing conventional produce due to the use of pesticides.
Depending on your grocery budget, you may need to prioritize what you buy organic versus conventional. I use the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists outlined by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to decide on my produce purchases.
*You can find this in printable form in the resource library.
Making your own produce spray at home is a simple budget-friendly alternative to the sprays at the store. Let’s take a look at the price breakdown of this DIY:
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)- I got my ACV for $4.99 for 32 ounces, but I only used 4 ounces = $0.62
- Citrus Essential Oil- The price depends on the oils you use, but mine costs about $0.60 for 10 drops
APPROX TOTAL COST = $1.28 per 16 ounce bottle of produce spray
That is amazing, because the fruit and veggie sprays at the store are normally around $4-6 per 16 ounce bottle!
I got all of these ingredients Thrive Market since it’s where I find the biggest savings. You can try Thrive Market for 30 days PLUS receive an additional 25% off your first order by going through my link. So try it out, stock up on the things you need, and see if it’s worth it for you!
You can find everything on Amazon as well, they’ll just be a little bit more expensive.
How to Clean Your Produce
How to Wash Berries
Berries tend to take on the flavor of whatever they are soaked in, so I like to avoid going heavy on vinegar. No one wants vinegar flavored strawberries! Instead, I soak berries in a bowl that includes:
- 2 cups of filtered or distilled water
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 drop citrus essential oil (here are the oils I use) -or- the juice of 1/2 a lemon
I let them soak for about 10-15 minutes before removing them and drying them thoroughly. Make sure they are dried completely before storing in the refrigerator.
If you want to do a soak on any other fruits and vegetables, you can use this same ratio or increase your apple cider vinegar to 2 Tablespoons.
How to Clean Lettuces and Greens
Lettuces and other greens are the most difficult to clean, in my opinion, since they are so delicate. I clean lettuce and greens by using the produce spray recipe below in a bowl instead of a spray bottle.
I pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl and let it soak for 10-15 minutes. Once they are done soaking, I rinse them under cold water and dry completely. I like to use a salad spinner to make sure I get everything as dry as possible.
For storage, I recommend putting lettuces and greens into a sealed glass container. Often times, I cut up greens before storing for easy to grab salad bases.
Homemade Produce Spray
If I want to do a quick wash of an individual or small batch of items, I generally use a produce spray so that the process goes more quickly. I also like to pour a portion of this into small 1 oz bottles to take on-the-go. If we’re out for a meal and are having fruit, I can wash it off easily.
I recommend using a glass spray bottle, particularly if you are using Lemon essential oils since citrus essential oils can degrade plastic over time.
- 12 oz distilled water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 10 drops Lemon essential oil -or- juice of 1 lemon
- 16 oz glass spray bottle
- funnel (optional)
- Add your distilled water, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils or lemon juice to a spray bottle.
- Shake to combine and spray produce.
If you are using fresh lemon juice I recommend putting this spray in the fridge to maintain freshness. You do not need to do this if you use Lemon essential oil.
I recommend using distilled water or water that is boiled and then cooled. Using tap water can introduce bacteria that will reduce the shelf life of your spray.