Produce Wash (AKA: Pesticides be gone!)

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Those that know me personally can tell you that I’m a bit thrifty. We are HUGE advocates of the Dave Ramsey Plan and we use cash to pay our monthly expenses so that we know we are staying well within our monthly budget.

Switching to a healthier, fat loss friendly way of eating has been a  big shift for us. I have had to gradually increase our grocery budget while finding other categories to decrease.

It IS possible to eat healthy on a small budget, but for us, we have decided to spend more on healthy foods now so that in future years we can spend less on prescription medications, doctor visits and hospital stays. We believe that yes, sometimes eating healthy IS expensive, but not nearly as expensive as the price we would pay if we chose to not take care of our health and had to face those realities down the road. (Sickness, disease, lost time with loved ones, etc.)

We try to buy organic produce and meat when it’s in our budget, but quite often, it’s not. I try to use the items on the DIRTY DOZEN list for my organic purchases, but that is not always possible. After reading recently about the effects of the pesticides used on our produce, I was motivated that I had to do something to try to get a better handle on the amount of these toxins that we were ingesting daily.

I started looking on this website called and learned A LOT! For example, did you know that in 1 strawberry sampling, there are 14 different pesticide residues? Or that 14 of the 52 pesticide resides found on blueberries are neurotoxins which can harm brain development and contribute to falling IQs? Now I am NOT an alarmist, but I have begun to finally learn about the connection between what we put into our bodies and the way our systems are being affected in ALL aspects: physically, mentally and even emotionally.

I began looking into produce washes that might help remove some of these pesticides better than the method I had been using. (Method= splash under the tap water and then swipe with the hand towel. Scientific, huh?)

After trying different versions, I eventually came up with one that I felt like was easy, used ingredients most of us already have on hand, got the produce clean(er), and didn’t leave any type of weird residue or after taste.

 I’ve now incorporated produce washing into my Sunday afternoon meal prep
and have really enjoyed having clean(er), pesticide reduced produce
ready and available for my family to enjoy!

Produce waiting to be cleaned.

First, I started with several large glass bowls for washing different batches of the produce. You could also use your sink if you wanted to do a large batch, but to be quite honest, my sink wasn’t clean enough and I didn’t want to stop and clean it during meal prep.

In my bowl I put: (I also double and triple the recipe depending on how big my bowl is)
1 cup vinegar
3 cups water
1-2 TB Baking Soda

That’s it. There’s the “recipe”. When you put in the baking soda, it will bubble and fizz and your kids will love it. Then I started dropping in different items of produce.

I let each item soak for 5 minutes, then I removed it to a colander where it was rinsed and allowed to drain.

While the next batch was soaking, the previous batch was rinsed and drained.

From there, I place all produce onto a freshly washed kitchen towel to dry further.

I would change out the water from time to time when it got dirty. Here’s a picture of what the water looked like after a batch of celery.

Each type of produce was washed, rinsed, drained and then dried.

Once it was all done, I began taking another clean towel, wiping each item down and then putting it into containers to be stored for the week. For berries I have found that including a papertowel keeps them fresher for longer. The same goes for lettuces.

There are many other versions of produce sprays/washes/and rinses that you can purchase over the counter or make yourself. For me, this was the best one that I tried, but it is definitely not the only way to get your produce clean. Any of you have other favorite recipes you use to keep your produce clean?

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Reader Interactions


  1. Does the vinegar not change the taste of the fruits and veggies? I have been debating cleaning my produce more than just the normal rinse I give them. Thanks for this post!!

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