How To Wash Fruits With Baking Soda

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washing fruits with baking soda is actually a way to save water. Baking soda can be used to clean dirty fruits because it has strong cleaning properties and eliminates most dirt and germs easily. Washing fruits and vegetables before eating, is important for removing chemicals, dust, and any bacteria on the surface. Most of us simply wash fruits with water and ignore everything else. It’s a good practice to wash fruits with a solution of vinegar, soap and baking soda for an effective cleaning.

How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Eating a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables provides important health benefits and nutrients. Considering the nutritional benefits fruits and vegetables provide, it is important to select, clean, and prepare them safely.

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The Best Way to Wash Fruits and Vegetables

While purchasing ready-made sprays and cleaners from your local grocery stores may seem ideal, research has found that a simple solution of either vinegar or baking soda will do the trick to having clean produce.

Food preparation and sanitization can be made easy by using these two basic everyday household items commonly used to clean produce.

So which one should you use? Here are a few major reasons why these are the easiest and effective ways to wash your produce.

Should I Wash My Fresh Produce in Vinegar?

Whether it’s to clean or sanitize a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, vinegar is a safe choice to use as a great at-home cleaning remedy.

Lingering on the surface of fruits and vegetables are many different fungi and bacteria, which can be effectively removed by using vinegar.

Depending on the type of bacteria, the type of fruit or vegetable, the concentration of the vinegar, and how long you intend to soak your produce, vinegar’s effectiveness can vastly differ.

Although vinegar is a great way to clean your produce, it can be quite expensive over time and sometimes leaves foods with an unpleasant vinegary taste. If you run into problems like this, don’t panic; there is another alternative solution, baking soda!

Although vinegar is a great way to clean your produce, it may not be the most cost efficient option over time and sometimes leaves foods with an unpleasant vinegary scent. If you run into problems like this, don’t panic; there is another alternative solution, baking soda!

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Why Baking Soda?

Baking soda is best for removing pesticides and residues both on the surface and beneath the skin of most produce. A ratio of 1 teaspoon of baking soda per 2 cups of water is recommended.

Here are Some Quick and Easy Ways to Wash Fruits and Vegetables using Baking Soda:

Washing Vegetables 

For leafy greens 
  • Fill a medium to large-sized bowl with the greens, cover with cold water 
  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda, mix well 
  • Allow your greens to soak 1-2 minutes, gently stirring them every few seconds
  • Drain vegetables in a strainer, thoroughly rinse any residue off, then towel dry the leaves
For vegetables with firm peels
  • Fill a medium to large-sized bowl with cold water 
  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda and then add vegetables 
  • Soak the vegetables in the solution, between 1-2 minutes 
  • Grab a scrubbing brush for veggies and gently scrub the surface 
  • Finally, rinse the vegetables off with fresh water and store or prepare to your liking

Washing Fruits

Smooth-skinned fruits, for example, apples, grapes, nectarines, and plums, can be washed in a baking soda bath through the same process as vegetables. 

For berries, avoid soaking them; instead, rinse them under cold water in a strainer. To clean with baking soda, sprinkle a small amount directly on the fruit and gently rub the baking soda in over running water.

Although the thought of leaving your fresh haul of berries from the grocery store unwashed can be troublesome, immediately rinsing your berries increases the amount of moisture inside of them, which produces mold and spoils fruit quicker. So, if you’re washing your berries, it’s important to do so just before you intend to eat them. 

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Does water alone effectively clean produce?

When it comes to buying fresh fruits and vegetables, we all understand the importance of healthy and safe eating. 

Washing with water reduces bacteria and residues left by pesticides on the surface of fruits and vegetables. Research shows that when used to rinse or soak produce water can remove 98 percent of bacteria from surfaces, more so than cleaning products bought off the shelf. 

Water alone is effective at removing some surface residues, but going the extra mile by giving your produce a vinegar or baking soda wash can help to remove any lingering bacteria and also give you peace of mind that you’re consuming safe and clean produce.

COVID-19: Food Safety And What You Should Be Doing

The goal of properly washing is to prevent and reduce the ingestion of harmful bacteria that can cause illness.

Here are some helpful tips from the CDC about shopping, selecting, and bringing home fresh produce:

At the Grocery stores or Markets: 

  • Select produce that’s not damaged or bruised
  • Keep pre-cut fruits and vegetables cold by selecting produce that is already refrigerated or kept cooled on ice cubes. 
  • Separate both fruits and vegetables from raw meat, poultry, and seafood in shopping carts and grocery bags. 

At home: 

  • Before and after preparing fresh produce, make sure to wash your hands, kitchen utensils, food preparation surfaces, and surrounding areas;
  • Before cutting, eating, or cooking, wash or scrub fruits and vegetables under running water;  
  • Do not use bleach to cleanse fruits or vegetables. Deter from using any type of disinfecting products on food;
  • Keep fruits and vegetables separate from any type of raw foods when storing; and
  • Refrigerate fruits and vegetables within a 2-hour timeframe after you cut, peel, or cook them.

Whether we are caught in the middle of a global pandemic or not, make practicing these simple and easy food safety measures a habit.

What Are The Key Takeaways?

An important health habit to have in your back pocket is food hygiene. With the surrounding concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping and selecting products in grocery stores and markets is just as important as properly washing your fresh produce.

Most produce can be sufficiently and thoroughly washed using cold water, but if you’re looking for a cleaning solution that is a little more effective, a vinegar or baking soda solution can do just the trick.


Don’t make cleaning your fruits and vegetables an after-thought or a COVID-19 only task; instead, incorporate it into your weekly or monthly shopping habits. Being and staying healthy comes with implementing efficient and safe precautionary measures.

Incorporating these cleansing tips will help keep your fruits and vegetables clean lessening toxic chemicals:

  • Purchase Organic Apple Cider Vinegar for cleansing quality;
  • Use clean forms of Baking Soda that are sustainable such as Thrive Market’s brand;
  • Allow for soaking for at least 5-15 minutes;
  • Use a flexible vegetable brush for better cleansing;
  • After grocery shopping wash fruits and vegetables immediately;
  • Use sustainable storage containers or green bags for longer storage time; and
  • Don’t overdo do adding baking soda and apple cider vinegar, avoid waste.

How to Wash Vegetables and Fruits to Remove Pesticides

We all know how important it is to eat our fruit and vegetables; it’s necessary for good health.

The problem is that many farms still spray their crops with pesticides to avoid bugs eating them.

These pesticides cause problems with our health. You can read more about the risks associated with consuming pesticides and other Common Water Contaminants and Their Risks.

Some of the risks associated with pesticides include damage to the endocrine system, nervous system and hormones.

What’s the best way to avoid consuming pesticides?

Choose organic food when you can.

If that isn’t an option, then wash fruits and veggies thoroughly before eating or cooking with them.

organic-produce

How To Wash Fruit and Vegetables to Remove Pesticides

Washing your produce with plain water does remove some of the pesticides, but not all of them.

Studies show that most commercial produce cleaners are just as effective as tap water.

However, the most effective way to wash your fruit and veggies to remove pesticides includes saltwater, vinegar water, or baking soda water.

Salt Water

Saltwater is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to remove certain pesticides.

Scientists discovered that a 10% saltwater solution is the most effective way to remove pesticides from your produce.

Vinegar

100% vinegar is just as effective, but there are some drawbacks.

Vinegar costs money, leaving an unpleasant flavour in your food.

washing-fruit

Baking Soda

Baking soda proves to be the most effective way to remove pesticides from the surface of your produce and even beneath the surface.

The baking soda used in these studies was very weak too, and it only takes 12 – 15 mins to remove pesticides from your food completely.

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How To Use Baking Soda to Wash Fruit and Vegetables

The general idea is to fill a large bowl or container with water, add a teaspoon of baking soda, insert your fruit or veggies, allow to soak for a few minutes and then scrub with a brush.

Finally, rinse your veggies with fresh, clean water again.

The only challenge then is that if you aren’t using a water filter, your fruit and veggies will still be contaminated by the many pollutants that lie in our everyday tap water.

For leafy vegetables, using a salad spinner can be a great help.

 How to clean fruits and vegetables at home

Should you wash your fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or is there a better, natural way to protect what you eat from possible pathogens

Fruits vegetables wash

Washing fruits and vegetables has always been an important habit to be followed at all times. In the current coronavirus pandemic, it has gained even more importance and it is essential to now take extra care while doing so. Some people are now even switching to vegetable washes, disinfecting liquids and detergents for fruits and vegetables rather than just washing in plain water. While many food scientists advise against the use of chemical based products due to the potential risk of residues and chemical buildup, some suggest that a diluted mild detergent solution can be used with proper rinsing of fruits and vegetables with clean water, especially when chances of viral contamination are higher. For food safety during coronavirus, we have come up with a few tips on how to reduce microbial contamination of raw fruits and vegetables without any strong chemical based products.

1. Keep the kitchen clean and safe

Clean the countertop, cutting boards, and utensils after peeling produce and before cutting and chopping. This is to prevent contaminants from the raw produce from being transferred inside during cutting or peeling. Also wash kitchen surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water after cleaning vegetables.

Clean wooden chopping boards with vinegar or baking soda to prevent microbial contamination of the same. If consuming non-vegetarian food, ensure that a different set of chopping boards, knives etc. are used in and that they are thoroughly washed with hot water and soap after use.

2. Segregate fruits and vegetables this way

Class 1: Hard-skinned fruits and vegetables: Such as oranges, banana, pumpkin, yams, potato where skin is removed before consumption. Normally we thoroughly rinse these with water and process/consume but under the current circumstances, these items need special rinsing/cleaning procedures.

Class 2: Tender-skinned items: Such as grapes, tomatoes, radish, carrots etc. These are mostly consumed raw.

Class 3: Leafy vegetables: Such as lettuce, spinach, methi and coriander.

Leave aside the plastic bags/paper bags/carry bags etc. for at least 30 minutes after purchase. Avoid bringing the purchase directly on the kitchen top. The goods require further processing before storage and consumption. Keep out of reach of children prior to processing.

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3. Further treatment

Class 1 products

Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling raw fruits and vegetables.

Scrub the fruits and vegetables with a brush. Additionally, use baking soda for scrubbing. Then rinse with clean water. In addition to germs, fruits like apples may have a waxy coat introduced to enhance lustre. Make sure to get rid of such additional chemicals from fruit surfaces.

Use mild detergent for washing and soaking Class 1 vegetables only – Use one table spoon of mild detergent in a bucket of water. Soak the fruits and vegetables prior to touching. Rinse thoroughly with cold water several times. While rinsing, keep soaking in tubs to avoid wasting water. Residual detergent can be harmful hence please take precautions.

Class 2 and 3 products

Use one part vinegar in three parts water for washing and then rinse with clean water. Vinegar is also known to reduce the microbes on vegetables and fruits. It works well for produce with smooth skin and for leafy greens.

Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli that have nooks and crannies can also be soaked in the vinegar solution for at least five minutes and then rinsed with clean water.

Squeeze one large lemon in five litres of water and soak tender vegetables for 15-20 minutes
Or
Prepare a solution of 1/2 cup table salt and three tablespoon baking soda and soak vegetables for 15-20 minutes.

Rinse in plenty of fresh water.

Food grade sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) solution (100 ppm) can be used to soak vegetables like cabbage for two to five minutes before rinsing with clean water.

The Best Way To Wash Fruits and Vegetables to Remove Pesticides

Eating fruit and vegetables is a key element in leading a healthy lifestyle. However, many fruit and vegetables are grown using pesticides. After picking, these pesticides remain on the skin of fresh produce. Meanwhile, some pesticides can penetrate into the flesh of fruit and vegetables.

Some fruit and vegetables have a higher pesticide load than others. While buying organic is one of the best ways to reduce the number of pesticides on the produce we buy, it can be cost-prohibitive to shop organically. This is particularly so with the cost of living crisis impacting household budgets across the country. Thankfully, there are ways to remove pesticides from the skin of fruits and vegetables easily, effectively and cheaply, and backed up by science.

Scientists Say This Is The Best Way to Wash Fruits and Vegetables to Remove Pesticides

A 2017 scientific study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, and published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry carried out research into washing fresh produce. Here they investigated the effectiveness of commercial and homemade washing agents in removing surface and internal pesticide residues from apples.

Interestingly this study established that pesticides that were found on the surface of the apples were most effectively removed by a common household ingredient. That ingredient being bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda). This was in comparison to using just tap water or bleach.

How To Wash Fruit and Vegetables To Remove Pesticides

According to this research, here are the best ways to wash your fruit and vegetables to remove pesticides. I’ve provided different methods, depending on how much produce you have to wash.

In each case, it’s best to wash your fruit and vegetables right before you plan to cook or eat them. This is because in many cases, moisture on your produce can cause it to go bad faster.

In The Sink

  1. First, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any dirt and germs from your hands.
  2. Next, clean your sink using a natural cleaning product to remove anything untoward in your sink.
  3. Now, fill your sink with cold water – approximately half full.
  4. Add three tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to the water, and agitate the water to dissolve the powder.
  5. Place your fruit and vegetables in the water to wash them. Follow the instructions below for washing specific fruits and vegetables, before leaving them to soak for 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Finally, remove your fruit and vegetables from the water, and let them dry thoroughly before prepping or eating.

In A Bowl

  1. First, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any dirt and germs from your hands.
  2. Using a measuring jug, fill a clean bowl around half full with cold water. Make a note of how much water your bowl holds.
  3. Next, add 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda for approximately every 450 ml of cold water you added to the bowl, and stir to dissolve.
  4. Place your fruit and vegetables in the water to wash them. Follow the instructions below for washing specific fruits and vegetables, before leaving them to soak for 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Finally, remove your fruit and vegetables from the water, and let them dry thoroughly before prepping or eating.

Notes For Washing Specific Fruits and Vegetables

Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce or cabbage should be separated into their individual leaves before washing. This allows the bicarbonate of soda to get into all the nooks and crannies to remove surface pesticides.

Soft fruits and vegetables – such as strawberries, grapes or tomatoes – should be rubbed lightly with your fingers. This helps to gently loosen any chemical residue, dirt or wax – without damaging your produce.

Firm fruit and vegetables – think carrots, apples, potatoes, melon, or cucumber – can generally tolerate being scrubbed with a soft-bristle vegetable brush. This scrubbing action helps remove anything untoward on their surface.

Want About Pesticides That Penetrate The Skin Of Produce?

The researchers of the study note that washing apples with bicarbonate of soda reduce pesticide levels mostly from the surface. They advised that peeling the apples is more effective to remove the penetrated pesticides. However, they do note that many beneficial nutrients found in the apple peel will be lost. Apple peels contain 72% of the total amount of vitamin E and vitamin K contained within the apple. It also contains around half the total iron content, as well as all of the apple’s vitamin B9 content. Vitamin B9 is also known as folic acid.  

With this information in mind, I would say that washing your fruit and vegetables to remove surface dirt and pesticides is sufficient.

What If Soaking Produce For 12 -15 Minutes Isn’t Practical?

I’ll admit, soaking every single piece of fruit or vegetable for 12 to 15 minutes before you go to eat or cook with it isn’t always so practical. Putting barriers up to eating healthy food isn’t something I want to do either.

Simply soaking your fruit or veg for a minute or two in a little bicarbonate of soda, and giving it a scrub, admittedly may not be as effective as the longer soak time prescribed. However, it will remove some pesticides and dirt, and be clean enough to eat.

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