How to Wash Fruits & Vegetables With Vinegar

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Clean produce spreads less harmful bacteria.
Clean produce spreads less harmful bacteria. (Image: Basket of Produce image by Mary Beth Granger from Fotolia.com)

Fruits and vegetables, whether from the garden or from the store, may have bacteria and other illness-causing pathogens on their surface. Many stores sell expensive sprays meant to disinfect the produce safely, but you can use plain white vinegar instead. The acids in vinegar kills up to 98 percent of bacteria, according to a test performed by Cook's Illustrated. Washing the produce properly also prevents the vinegar from leaving behind a sour taste.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Vegetable brush

Fill a spray bottle with three parts water and one part white distilled vinegar. Combine thoroughly then screw the spray bottle top back on the bottle.

Rinse any visible soil off the fruit or vegetable before disinfecting. Use vegetable scrub brush if necessary. Pat dry.

Spray the produce down with the vinegar solution, completely coating it. Allow the vinegar solution to sit on the produce's skin for one to two minutes.

Rinse the fruit or vegetable under cool, running water to remove any vinegar flavor. Serve immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sprays may not work well on textured vegetables like broccoli. Instead, fill a bowl with the vinegar solution and soak the vegetable for three to five minutes.

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