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When you buy fresh fruit and vegetables, one of the first steps you may take is to wash them under the faucet. While this may come down to habit or the prompting of your mother, father or loved one, real and legitimate reasons exist for washing your produce with more than just water before eating them. Produce can become contaminated at the farm from harmful substances in the soil or water supply, or fecal contamination from animals. In addition, contamination can occur when bacteria is transferred from a person’s hands or from contact with other contaminated foods and transferred to your produce. Just think of how many people handle your food before you buy it, which provides plenty of opportunities for contamination.


Washing your vegetables is an extra measure that prevents food-borne illnesses, including those caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli. In addition, washing fruits and vegetables can eliminate any residue left by harmful pesticides. Using terpenes and food-grade essential oils are a safe and natural way of ensuring your fruit and veggies are contaminant-free.


For smaller and more delicate produce like berries, grapes, cherries, and small tomatoes, it will be easier to use:


  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 12 drops lemon oil


Mix the ingredients into a large bowl and place the produce in to soak in the cleansing formula for a minute or two. Lemon oil is a disinfectant and has anti-fungal, antiseptic, and detoxifying properties.


For sturdier and larger produce, it will be easier to use the following:


  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • 5 drops lemon oil


Mix the following into a spray bottle. Spray and then wipe down your potatoes, apples, lettuce, etc. with a clean kitchen towel. Limonene is a non-toxic anti-bacterial terpene found in lemon oil which will clean your produce. This mixture is a safe way to ensure your food is rid of pesticide residue, bacteria, and dirt, while being safe to consume.