Fruit & Vegetable Wash


With concern over pesticide use on produce as well as naturally occurring dirt and bacteria on fruits and vegetables, consumers turn to a wide variety of washing methods to keep their food safe. From commercially manufactured washes to simple home washes, familiarize yourself with available options as well as the best way to wash your produce.

Why Wash?

Commercially grown fruit and vegetables that are not grown organically generally undergo pesticide treatment to keep food safe from insect infestations. There is much speculation over whether or not these pesticides are safe, but common knowledge suggests washing them from your produce is essential. For organic produce, as well, there is the threat of outbreaks like salmonella, which can cause severe illness. Wash your fruits and vegetables to avoid potential harm, according to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Home Washes

Washing your fruit with a "homemade wash" without spending a lot of money on store-bought products proves to be just as effective, according to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Soak your fruits and vegetables in distilled water for approximately two minutes before eating. Distilled water is better than simply using tap water or other water sources because contaminants have been removed. For delicate produce, place fruits and vegetables in a colander and spray with distilled water, suggests the University of Maine.

Store Bought Washes

Store bought washes, available under various brand names, are formulated with chlorine for the removal of bacterial microbes and other dangerous contaminants, according to the University of Maine. Like distilled water washes, store bought options also decrease the incidence of microbes on produce as well as pesticides. For those preferring a more natural method, the chlorine-based option is not necessary for safe food, but is an easy-to-use and readily available option.

Improper Wash

Though most kitchen sinks are accompanied by soaps and detergents whether for dishes or hands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service warns against using these as a fruit and vegetable wash for your fresh produce. As these products are not registered as FDA-approved, accidental ingestion may prove dangerous. If you are without an appropriate wash, the USDA suggests rinsing your produce with cold tap water and cleaning sturdy produce with a brush for further contaminant removal.


Fruit and vegetable wash is only effective if you employ all necessary safety precautions. If you touch a clean apple with dirty hands, your efforts are ruined. Always wash your hands before touching clean produce. Peel and cut your fruits and vegetables after they have been washed with clean utensils on a sanitized surface as cutting dirty produce may transfer contaminants to the internal parts of your food. Clean all surfaces and utensils after use, as well, to prevent unintentional spread of disease within the kitchen, according to the University of Maine.

Keywords: fruit vegetable wash, safe produce wash, produce contaminant wash

About this Author

Tarah Damask's writing career, beginning in 2003, includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum, and articles for eHow. She has a love for words and is an avid observer. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.