It’s often said that a little dirt won’t do you any harm – and while that may be true when it comes to mucking around in the garden, it’s a myth when it comes to the fruit and vegetables in your kitchen. Traces of soil left on your fresh produce can carry harmful bacteria, including E.coli; and that’s not to mention all the handling and sorting the food goes through before it reaches you. Even food that’s been organically grown, without the use of harsh chemical pesticides, needs to be thoroughly cleaned before you take that first juicy bite.


The Problem with Pesticides

Non-organic farming operations use harsh chemical pesticide sprays on their crops to deter a variety of pests; these chemicals cause all sorts of environmental problems, such as soil contamination, loss of biodiversity and the disruption of the natural ecosystem. Another concern is their effect on our health when we eat produce that has been sprayed with pesticides; some are linked to hormonal disruptions and disorders, others are known as neurotoxins and still others may be carinogenic. While fruits and veggies do typically arrive in the supermarket pre-washed, it’s essential that you give your produce a thorough cleaning before you and your family start munching. This will ensure that you get rid of residue left on the produce.


Natural Cleaning Solutions

Of course, simply rinsing your produce in plain water won’t reliably remove the pesticides, dirt and contaminants. Luckily your kitchen cupboards contain some ultra-natural cleaning solutions that can be used to leave your fruits and vegetables cleaner and healthier.

  • Vinegar: Destroys bacteria, moulds & spores; kills off bacteria & removes pesticides.
  • Lemon: Has antibacterial & antiseptic properties that kill off germs & bacteria.
  • Salt: Helps to draw out small insects & bugs hiding in produce like your leafy green veggies.
  • Baking soda: A natural cleaning agent with antibacterial & antimicrobial properties.

Top Tips for Handling & Cleaning Produce

  • Always wash your hands before & after handling produce.
  • Wash the produce before cutting or peeling, so no impurities from the outer skin contaminate the inside.
  • Pat the clean produce dry with a clean kitchen towel or cloth; make sure all produce is thoroughly rinsed & dried before packing it away.
  • Lettuce, cabbage & leafy greens: Remove the outer layer of leaves & add them to your compost heap.
  • Melons, cucumbers, citrus & firm produce: You can use a clean vegetable brush to scrub the outer skins.
  • Berries & other delicate fruits: Simply swirl these fruits around gently in the cleaning solution, rather than scrubbing or rubbing them.
  • Keep your clean, dry produce in the fridge, stored in airtight sealed containers or in cloth produce bags. If you’re an omnivore, be sure to store your fruit & veg separately from meats, poultry & seafood, to avoid cross contamination.

Wash Your Fruit & Vegetables Naturally With These Easy Recipes:


Recipe for Natural Fruit & Veg Cleaning Spray

This solution cleans away dirt, germs & bacteria; the addition of grapefruit extract gives it added antimicrobial properties. It can be used as a spray but also as a 5-minute soak.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cold filtered water
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp grapefruit juice or extract

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients together in a clean spray bottle & shake well.
  • Spritz the solution all over each piece of produce you want to clean; leave the fruit & veggies to sit for 2-3 minutes.
  • Rinse well & pat dry.

Recipe for Natural Fruit & Veg Soak

This mixture is quite concentrated & is ideal as a 30-minute soak.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cold filtered water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 4Tbsp salt

Method:

  • Combine the ingredients in a clean bowl or clean kitchen sink.
  • Immerse the produce you want to wash & leave to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse well & pat dry.

If you prefer to get your natural fruit and vegetable wash ready-made, check out our earth-friendly products:

Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet – so make sure every bite gives you maximum nutrition and no nasties!