Best Fruit and Vegetable Washes

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

14 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
271 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best fruit and vegetable washes

Last Updated September 2020

Your mom taught you to rinse your apple before taking a bite — a practice you’ve faithfully carried into your own home. After all, you can’t have your family eating pesticides. But did you ever wonder how washing your apple in the sink removes contaminants that were impervious to water before the fruit was picked? Truthfully, it probably doesn’t. If you want to be sure you got it all off, you need a fruit and vegetable wash.  

Fruit and vegetable washes remove pesticides, fungicides, wax coatings, and bacteria from your produce that water often leaves behind. These formulas are strong enough to penetrate even food-grade wax without damaging the goodness below ... and they do it all without adding extra chemicals to your food.

Would a spray or a soak be the best choice for the produce you feed your family? Keep reading to learn more. When you’re ready to buy, check our recommendations for the best fruit and vegetable washes on the market.

Once they are harvested, many fruits and vegetables are coated with wax to ensure they still look appetizing when they arrive at the store.

Key considerations

Spray or soak

Spray bottles of fruit and vegetable wash are best for those who regularly consume individual pieces of raw fruit and vegetables. They’re practical for washing single items quickly, just before consumption. Note that fruit and veggie spray isn’t as concentrated as other types of wash, so you may use bottles up more frequently.

Other fruit and veggie wash formulas come in concentrated bottles. You add a few drops to a bowl of water before soaking your produce. Due to their higher concentration, these formulas often last longer than sprays. They provide a much more practical method for cleaning several pieces of fruit at once or for cleaning the vegetables you’ll serve at dinner. However, a soak is less convenient when you’re just looking for a snack.

Ingredients

You’re buying produce wash because you don’t want “extras” on your food. Therefore, the wash you choose shouldn’t leave anything behind. Some formulas leave a noticeable residue or scent on your food. Avoid these if you’re looking for an all-natural experience.

Many fruit and vegetable washes are made from natural or plant-based ingredients. This means that your food is safe, even if a drop or two remains. Some of these products may include the following.

  • Citrus oils from fruits like lemon and grapefruit can help cut through sticky residue and buildup on the surface of your fruit.
  • Ethyl alcohol, derived from corn, is used as an astringent in many beauty products to clean residue from your face and can also work its magic on peels and rinds.
  • Plant oils that come from sources like sunflower and coconut work as carriers to dilute strong ingredients and help deliver these components to the produce without separating.
  • Baking soda, when combined with water, breaks down dirt and grease. It also works as an abrasive cleaner when brushed or used with a cloth.
DID YOU KNOW?

At least 20 farm workers, shipping personnel, shelf stockers, and potential customers have usually handled your produce before you even take a bite.

Features

Certified organic

If you make it a point to buy organic produce, it’s unthinkable to use a vegetable wash formula that’s anything less. Some fruit and vegetable washes are made from certified organic ingredients — those that have met the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s standards for being classified as free from synthetic additives. Look for this seal on your bottle.

Gluten-free

You don’t want to jeopardize your health with risky chemicals. But those with gluten challenges shouldn’t take chances with other ingredients, either. Many fruit and veggie wash manufacturers use food-based ingredients to keep their formulas healthy. It’s unlikely that most blends directly involve gluten, but make sure your bottle isn’t cross-contaminated by choosing a bottle that’s certified to be gluten-free.

Other certifications

Not all certifications relate to health concerns; some are matters of conscience. If you observe a diet that’s kosher or halal, look for these guarantees on the bottle you choose.

DID YOU KNOW?

Even food-safe wax can trap pesticides on the peel of the produce you’re about to eat. It’s safest to wash it all off.

Accessories

Salad spinner: OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner
Once you wash your greens, you need a way to get the water out. This high-capacity tool makes it easy. One-handed operation lets you spin out all the veggie wash and water, leaving nothing but leafy goodness. The basket doubles as a colander if you need additional drainage, and the exterior makes an attractive serving bowl.

Apple peeler: Spiralizer Cast Magnesium Apple/Potato peeler
You know what an apple a day does. Work more into your diet with this heavy-duty apple peeler. A rubber vacuum seal base keeps this versatile tool on your counter, ready to go whenever you need apples, potatoes, tomatoes, and more.

Vegan cookbook: The Oh She Glows Cookbook
You’ve made one investment in your health — now consider another with the first step toward going vegan. This well-known cookbook includes more than 100 vegan recipes that have passed the tests of taste and time. 

Fruit and vegetable wash prices

Prices for fruit and vegetable washes are like most other liquid solutions: the more you buy, the less you spend. You’ll find spray bottles and concentrated formulas in all price tiers, although concentrated formulas usually go further, since you mix them with water during use.

Inexpensive: The most budget-friendly fruit and vegetable washes start at .25 to .30 per ounce. They may have both natural and artificial ingredients and probably won’t be certified as organic.

Mid-range: The next tier of fruit and vegetable washes costs between .35 and .40 per ounce. Most will be made from all-natural ingredients, and some may be certified organic or have other special designations.

Expensive: The highest-priced of these formulas cost .45 to .50 per ounce. If you’re paying this much for a bottle, it should be certified organic, kosher, halal, and gluten-free. Its ingredients should be totally natural and take everything off your produce, leaving nothing behind that you don’t want.

DID YOU KNOW?

Consuming pesticide residue can be harmful to your health, but so is skipping the recommended amount of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Fruits and vegetables are chock full of these dietary necessities.

Tips

  • Some washes come with both a sprayer and a concentrated refill bottle, giving you the best of both worlds. Look for this option if both eating individual fruit pieces and washing in bulk happen regularly in your home.
  • Never use a cleaning brush to wipe dirt from soft fruits or vegetables; it can force bacteria through the delicate barrier into your food.
  • Refrain from rinsing your bagged, pre-washed veggies. Most are far more sanitary than the average kitchen sink. 

Other products we considered

A handful of other produce wash products narrowly missed our shortlist. We’re intrigued by the versatility of eatCleaner’s Fruit and Veggie Wash bundle. It comes with a spray bottle and two powder packets for washing large quantities of produce at once. The combo pack claims to clean up to 60 pounds of produce overall.

If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to check out this wallet-friendly Fruit and Vegetable Wash from Earth Friendly Products. Though it’s not organic, its formula uses plant-based ingredients to remove wax, pesticides, dirt, and other contaminants.

Some fruit and vegetable washes leave a slight aftertaste. It may take a bit of experimentation to find the one that best suits your palate.

FAQ

Q. Which fruits and vegetables must be cleaned before consuming?
A.
It’s a good habit to wash every piece. But if a fruit or vegetable appears on the Dirty Dozen list, washing it is a necessity. The American nonprofit known as the Environmental Working Group has released its unofficial “dirty dozen” list annually since 2004, collecting thousands of samples of 47 varities of produce to determine which harbored the most pesticide residue. Though rankings vary by year, favorites like kale, strawberries, apples, spinach, nectarines, grapes, and peaches usually fill the top slots. 
 

Q. Should I wash produce I’m going to peel?
A.
Yes. When you peel a fruit or vegetable, it’s easy to drag bacteria from the peel onto its flesh. Listeria, E. coli, and other nasties can stick to the surface of your peeler and transfer to the inside of the veggie as you remove the rind. This is doubly risky if you use the same knife to peel and slice items you’ll be consuming raw.
 

Q. Why do companies put wax on produce?
A.
There are two reasons, both of which contribute to the grower’s bottom line. First, it just looks prettier. A glossy, smooth apple looks much more attractive to buyers than one with a dull peel. You might pass on a bag of bumpy, matte pears but assume the bag of bright, shiny fruit next to it is a good purchase.

The second reason is related: wax helps seal in the produce’s natural water content so it stays plump and attractive in transit to the store and to your home. Most of the wax is food-safe, but it may have fungicides added to prevent mold formation.
 

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
See more
The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera Pasturel
    Ciera Pasturel
    Digital Content Producer
  • Kristin Yarbrough
    Kristin Yarbrough
    Writer
  • Kyle Schurman
    Kyle Schurman
    Writer
  • Melinda Snowden
    Melinda Snowden
    Web Producer
  • Melissa Nott
    Melissa Nott
    Senior Editor

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