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Water Bath for Vegetables & Fruit – Is it Necessary?

If you grow vegetables in your garden, it’s probably second nature to give them a wash when you bring them inside. After all, they are growing in the dirt and those that grow on vines often have dust and other particles on them.

Is a water bath necessary for produce that you buy at the store? Take the poll here: what about the fruit and veggies that you purchase in a store.  Should these be washed?

Methods of washing vegetables and fruits

According to the FDA,  fruits and vegetables should be washed under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking them. Colorado State University also states that fresh produce can harbor bacteria, fungi, and other microbes along with trace amounts of chemicals.

Because of this, it makes sense to at least give the veggies a rinse under water even if they look clean before consuming them to be safe.  I’ve seen recommendations for also using baking soda, vinegar or food grade hydrogen peroxide in a water bath to clean veggies and fruit of any unsafe residue.

All of these are non toxic, so they are safe to use with foods. Here is how to use them.

Hydrogen Peroxide Wash:

  • Place 1/4 cup of food grade hydrogen peroxide in a sink (affiliate link)
  • Fill the sink with cold water
  • Soak the vegetables or fruit for 20-30 minutes (longer for thicker skinned produce)
  • Rinse and dry. Store as you normally would

Vinegar and Water Wash: (two methods)

Spray :

  • Combine 3 parts water to 1 part white (or apple cider) vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Spray this on fruits and veggies.
  • Rinse with water after spraying, dry and store normally

Soak Wash:

  • Fill a sink with cold water and add 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Place your fruits and veggies in the sink
  • Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.  (once again, thicker produce soaks longer)
  • Rinse with water. Dry and Store

Baking Soda Bath:

  • Add six cups of cold water to a large bowl.
  • Mix in 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
  • Submerge your fruit and vegetables in the water.
  • Soak for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Rinse and store properly.

Since baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are all known to be good general cleaners, it makes sense to me to add a bit to the water if you are going to wash them anyway.  It certainly can’t hurt and may just help to kill more bacteria than normal washing will.

What do you think? Do you wash your vegetables before eating?  Please leave your comments below.

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Friday 24th of April 2020

worked like a charm on loquats. And I love loquat pie.


Monday 18th of March 2019

This was very helpful; thanks so much for sharing!


Saturday 21st of April 2018

I do use peroxide to soak my veggies & fruit...but why do i have to rinse them afterwards?


Saturday 21st of April 2018

Hi Rose, Even though food grade peroxide is fairly safe, the recommended dosage for consumption is only a few drops in an 8 ounce glass of water. 35% concentration is quite high, so I would err on the side of caution and rinse after using it on foods. Carol

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."