Should You Use Fruit and Veggie Wash?

Leslie Garrett by Leslie Garrett | February 4th, 2010 | 1 Comment
topic: Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

Get good-looking strawberries like this with a homemade fruit and veggie wash

It’s not that my mind isn’t teeming with important thoughts. It is. I read literature. I watch documentaries. I bandy about intellectual ideas with my Ph.D.-waving friends.

But that doesn’t seem to stop my mind from obsessing about the little things.

For example, just this morning I was picking up a few things at the market. I noticed a bottle – from an eco-conscious company – of fruit and veggie wash.

“H’mmm,” I wondered, interrupting my mental analysis of whether Dante’s Inferno was an indictment of Catholicism or an endorsement, “Do I need a fruit and veggie wash?”

I turned the bottle over and read the ingredients and, though the label assures me that they’re biodegradable within 28 days, contain no animal products and are perfectly safe for humans and septic systems, I nonetheless make it a point to steer clear of ingredients I can’t pronounce. And these ingredients definitely fall into the “huh?” category.

Still, I wonder, if such a thing as fruit and veggie wash exists, perhaps my own washing isn’t sufficient. Of course, at that moment, I forget about Chia Pets. And all other evidence of things whose very existence belies a need, except perhaps a need for a company to make a profit. However, I digress… Back to the wash and my mother’s guilt over whether I’ve been feeding my children dirty produce.

Of course, I know about the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, which I avoid like the pesticide-soaked plague. I buy most of my produce from a local farmer who grows organically. I try to reassure myself that a fruit and veggie wash is surely overkill. But then I remember the strawberries: the gorgeous, luscious but conventionally-grown strawberries that my six-year-old daughter begged for during a recent trip to our local market.

Talk of “buy local, buy organic” is lost on a Canadian child courting scurvy because she’s still months away from fruit in-season. So, I have on my counter the forbidden fruit…saturated with 65 (yep, you read that number right) pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. I’d probably do better to set my child up with a Twinkie and a Diet Coke. But no, it’s strawberries she wants.

Perhaps a fruit and veggie wash would be prudent. But do I need to buy one packaged in plastic and selling for $5? As it turns out, no.

All I need is equal parts white vinegar and water (which, incidentally, is also all I need to wash my windows, clean my cutting boards and deodorize my house). If I’m so inclined, I can add a tablespoon of baking soda (which, incidentally, I use to clean my bathtubs, toilet bowls, kitchen sink and deodorize the kitty litter) and about 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract or lemon juice. I’m told to simply soak the fruit in this concoction to remove the chemicals and/or wax.

One to two minutes later, out emerges red, luscious, pesticide-free (or at least pesticide-reduced) strawberries. That, to me, taste like…well…not like strawberries. To my daughter, however, they taste like Nirvana.


  1. This is a good example of an entrepreneur who tries to take advantage of “weaknesses” of people with a specific agenda. There is no use of misleading the public but a certain exploitation of weakness .

    Vegetarian | September 19th, 2010 | Comment Permalink

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