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How to Wash Vegetables Before Cooking or Eating

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How to Wash Vegetables Before Cooking or Eating

Wondering how to clean vegetables and fruits naturally? While organic vegetables do not contain pesticides or other harmful chemicals, they still need to be cleaned well before consuming raw or cooking.

It is only natural that they may have bugs, worms, or other parasites on them because they are grown outside and not sprayed with insecticides. Besides, there is always the chance of bird droppings landing on the produce as it grows.

You can never be too careful. Below we’ll discuss how to wash garden vegetables and fruits without heading for store-bought veggie washes.

Explore the different ways of cleaning and sanitizing fruits and vegetables naturally to get rid of worms, bugs, parasites, bacteria, and other contaminants.

These washes can be made using simple ingredients you find around your home. They are both safe and effective and very easy to use.

1. Rinse Them Under Running Water

For those wondering how to get bugs out of vegetables, this is the most old-fashioned way. I know it can be challenging to get bugs, dirt, and grime out of your leafy greens since there are many crevices and pockets that critters and dirt can hide in.

Running each leaf or group of leaves under running water might get some of it off, but it is not always the most effective way to wash all vegetables.

A more effective way to wash leafy vegetables like lettuce and kale would be to fill a large pot up with cool water and place the leaves in there. Swish them around a bit and allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes.

While the vegetables are sitting, the dirt and parasites will settle to the bottom. Some parasites might even float on top. You can then remove the leaves and run under water quickly to ensure all the grit is gone.

2. Vinegar Wash

You probably have some white vinegar lying around your kitchen. It is not only great for washing surfaces but can also be great for washing your organic vegetables.

Vinegar contains acetic acid that can kill viruses and bacteria, so its antibacterial properties can remove bacteria that might be present on vegetables and fruits. 

Cook’s Illustrated magazine found that using vinegar and water to wash your veggies kills about 98% of germs and bacteria.

Here’s how to wash vegetables with vinegar:

Use one part vinegar to every 3 parts water and pour into a large mixing bowl.

Allow your berries, fruits, and vegetables to soak for a few minutes then rinse them under cool running water to allow the vinegar to wash away.

3. Salt Water Wash

Salt is a natural substance that can get the critters (bugs, worms, etc.) off of your vegetables, and just about everyone has it in their kitchen.

Does soaking vegetables in salt water kill bacteria? It might kill some, but not all. Vinegar is more effective at handling that task.

Just use 1 teaspoon of table salt for each cup of water and allow your vegetables to soak. Pour the water into a large bowl — however big you need it to be for the vegetables you are washing.

Stir it up, so the salt dissolves before placing the vegetables into the saltwater.

After they soak for a few minutes, you can then rinse them off with water from the faucet. Now, you’re ready to eat or cook them.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide Wash

Who knew that hydrogen peroxide had more of a purpose than to clean out children’s scrapes and make them wince in pain?

You will need two spray bottles — one for vinegar, and the other for the hydrogen peroxide.

First, spray your produce with the vinegar, and then spray with the peroxide. Then, rinse the produce thoroughly with water.

Not only is this wash suitable for vegetables, but it can also be used to kill bacteria like E. Coli on meats, too.

5. Lemon Wash

Another great substance used for cleaning is lemon, and chances are, you have some lemon juice in your refrigerator. If not, it doesn’t hurt to buy a couple of lemons and keep them handy for washing your veggies.

In this wash, you can combine a tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 1 cup of cold water in a spray bottle.

Spray it onto your organic vegetables, and rinse thoroughly with water before eating or cooking.

6. Baking Soda Wash

Many people have been asking how to wash fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides, or whether or not you can use baking soda to remove pesticides.

The truth is, most pesticides cannot be washed off because they are applied systematically.

A study, however, carried out by the University of Massachusetts showed that baking soda and water can effectively remove two types of pesticides from the surface of apples.

Due to the findings, it was suggested that the solution can be used for other vegetables and fruits because baking soda helps to break up the molecules in pesticides, which can then be washed off.

Here’s how to remove worms from vegetables with baking soda:

Dissolve one tablespoon of baking soda in six cups of water. Soak your vegetables or fruits in the solution for about 20 minutes.

Drain and rinse. Use measurement as a guide — add baking soda according to the amount of water you’re using.

How to Wash Broccoli

Cleaning broccoli is not as hard as you think. All the veggie washes mentioned in this post can be utilized; however, here are three specific methods:

  • Wash in cool water. Washing in warm water may wilt the florets, so cool or room temperature water is best. Fill a sink or basin with water and swirl the broccoli around to loosen up and get off dirt residues.
  • Run it under the pipe. Soak broccoli to loosen up contaminants then run it under pipe water. You can place them in a colander while doing so.
  • Rub it lightly. While dipping intermediately in water, use your fingers to lightly scrub the florets and stem to get off the dirt and other contaminants.

Shake off excess water before storing it. With all these methods on how to wash broccoli, be careful not to bruise the florets too hard as they might break off.

How to Clean Asparagus

There is no hard-and-fast rule on cleaning asparagus. This simple technique is all there is to know.

Wash under running water. Hold the stalks under the pipe and let the water beat off grits. Lightly rub them with your fingers while doing so. If you have time, washing them stalk by stalk is best.

Finally, snap off tough ends of the stalks and lay your cleaned asparagus on the counter on clean kitchen towels; pat dry, and store.

How to Clean Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts aren’t difficult to clean. If you get them with stems, cut them off and throw them in your compost.

Next, peel off the outer layers of the sprouts as these are the dirtiest parts. Remove any discolored leaves as well.

Place your brussels sprouts in lukewarm water for 10 minutes before rinsing with clean water. You can also use any of the vegetable washes above instead of pure water.

How to Clean Mushrooms

Knowing how to prepare mushrooms properly is vital because they can be filled with mold and other contaminants. And because they grow from the soil, dirt splashes might also be on them.

So, how do you wash mushrooms? Rinse them under cool or room-temperature running water. They can be placed in a colander while doing so.

After doing that, you can dip them in the vinegar wash to kill mold and bacteria.

Shake off excess water and place on paper towels. Cut off parts that still have mold-looking residues or dirt on them.


While washing vegetables with running tap water might seem like it is enough since they are without pesticides, knowing other methods of cleaning vegetables is essential.

There are other things to watch out for before cooking or consuming raw produce, so a proper clean-up is vital.

Worms, bugs, bird droppings, mold, and contaminated dirt can affect your health and be very unsightly (and disgusting) on your dinner plate.

All vegetables and fruits can be cleaned using the methods above. Using these washes will help to ensure that your produce is fit for consumption.

Andre Campbell

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