A few years ago while wandering through Whole Foods, I found this fruit and vegetable wash that looked so cute I couldn’t resist adding it to my cart. I ran out of it last year and haven’t been able to convince myself to buy more. To be honest … $10 is pretty steep for washing fruits and vegetables if you ask me. So, I decided to make my own! There was a small initial investment required. But if you read on, I think you’ll agree that this homemade produce wash is totally worth it!
My top requirement for this project was to find a glass spray bottle. No one around here had one that was clear, though! Whole Foods had blue mini bottles, but they would have required me to constantly be making new wash. *yuck* Finally, I discovered that Amazon had some great options! This is that investment I talked about a minute ago. A two-pack of decent sized spray bottles was $13. But the benefit is that they’re glass (which is safer than plastic and will last longer), there are two of them (so I can use one for my diy household cleaner), and they’re cute (don’t deny that this is an important factor)!
I’ve done a lot of research on effective homemade produce wash. Three ingredients kept coming up as the best in this application: vinegar, lemon juice, and salt.
Vinegar is one ingredient you will most likely find in any recipe for fruit and vegetable wash. The key however, is to use a high enough concentration of vinegar for it to be an effective cleaner (the consensus is that a 3:1 mix is perfect). Why do we wash produce with vinegar? Because it’s a known disinfectant! Plus it helps get rid of household bacteria such as salmonella.
Adding lemon to your vinegar adds an extra boost of acidity. Many pathogens can’t remain active in the citric acid that lemon juice provides (making the juice antibacterial) … that’s why so many diy cleaners have lemon juice mixed in!
Salt is just the last antibacterial component to make this homemade produce wash extra-effective. I’m not science buff … but from what I have read, salt also acts a preservative and has the possibility of making your washed fruits and veggies last longer.
Can bottled lemon juice concentrate be used in place of real lemons?
That’s what I usually use, honestly! From looking at the ingredients, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be acceptable. There’s not much added to it.
Can lime juice also work?
I had to do a little research on this and I’m still not 100%. Lemon is known for its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties … and lime shares many of the same compounds as lemon, just in different amounts. So, I would think you probably can substitute lime, especially since you’re also using vinegar in the mixture.
Do I need to store this in the fridge?
It couldn’t hurt … but you shouldn’t have to! (I don’t)