Can You Clean Fruit with Vinegar? (Is it a Myth?)

People who have their own garden with fruits, or they get them from a store, and end up washing them in water. The news about Mississippi’s water left me thinking if there was another way to clean fruit. I have heard people say that you can use vinegar to clean your fruits. So, I decided to do a little digging to find out if this was true or not, can you clean fruit with vinegar?

Yes, you can wash your fruit in vinegar, but it must be diluted with water first. Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, that way it will not be too strong for the fruit.

But that doesn’t mean that you can wash every fruit with vinegar. You will need to be careful with the ones that are porous and could absorb the taste of the vinegar. While it is okay to eat a little vinegar, it is not recommended in large amounts and it may alter the taste. So, you want to be careful on how much vinegar to use and on what fruits you use it on.

Now you may be wondering if it will clean fruits and how to do so. That is what I am going to explain as we go along. This will be your guide to understanding how to properly clean fruit using vinegar.

Does Vinegar Actually Disinfect Your Fruit?

There are people who use vinegar to clean surfaces to disinfect the area. Vinegar is used as a multipurpose cleaner. This means vinegar can kill bacteria off of fruit. This is a perfect solution for when you get the fruits at a store. You never know who has touched the fruit that you got and what dirt may be on them.

Vinegar will also get rid of the pesky mold spores, which could help prolong the fruit’s life. Whereas strawberries usually last a week, you could end up with two week. This is not set in stone it is a way to help your fruit have the best shelf life possible.

Be aware that the vinegar could change the texture and taste of the fruit.

You also need to be aware to not use detergent or bleach solutions when washing your fruits. You don’t want the possibility of the taste and safety to be compromised. If you are going to clean your fruit in the sink, you will need to be sure to clean it first.

Does Vinegar Help Remove Pesticides from Fruit?

Vinegar can help in removing pesticides because according to the Environmental Working Group it is an acetic acid. It would need to be diluted with water to make sure it is not too strong for the fruit.

This does not mean that it will get every bit of pesticide out of the fruit. It will get most of it off so it can be safe to eat. If you are uncomfortable about pesticides on the fruit, you can always peel the skin off the fruit. Peeling the fruit will not take away all the pesticides as some could have soaked into the fruit.

For example, you could peel a cucumber and be fine. Yes, a cucumber is classified as a fruit.

Is Cleaning Fruits with Vinegar a Myth?

There are some people and organizations who say cleaning fruits is a myth and using water is the best like AARP. They say that water is the best, but if you are in a situation like Mississippi is then using water out of a faucet is not the best idea.

Now you could use bottled water or boil the water from the sink to clean the fruit. You will find out that is a longer process, whereas you can use vinegar and mix in some bottled water to dilute it.

Cleaning fruits with vinegar can be a myth to some people, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t clean fruits with vinegar. Everyone has their preferences and may taste the vinegar more than what others would. It is up to the person on whether to use the vinegar method or choose another method.

How to Wash Fruit with Vinegar (Step-by-Step)

Let’s get into the step-by-step process that it takes:

1. Prepare a Clean Area

This will depend on what you are going to wash the fruit in. If you are going to be washing the fruit in the sink, you will need to clean the sink thoroughly first. If you are going to use a bowl just make sure it is also clean.

2. Mix Vinegar and Water into Bowl

Now that you have the cleaning area ready for the fruit, you will need to fill up the sink or bowl with room temperature water. This can be bottled water if you have contaminated tap water. Be sure for every three-parts water that you have one-part vinegar. Ensuring the ratio is correct prevents you from causing damage to your fruit, plus if your vinegar was watered down too much you take away its cleaning strength.

So, if you have 1 cup of vinegar you can add 3 cups of water.

3. Add in Your Fruit to the Vinegar Solution

Add your fruit into the vinegar solution. Before adding the fruit just make sure you remove any stickers on the fruit just to clean under the stickers too. You will need to let them soak for 5 to 20 minutes.

The time depends on the size and also the delicacy of the fruit. Some fruits like apples that have a durable peel layer can soak for longer like 20 minutes, but softer fruit like berries can soak for 5 to 10 minutes. These may soak up more vinegar, so soaking for less time prevents them from changing taste.

4. Rinse off the Fruit

Take the fruit out and rinse them off well, then you are done! If you feel like you need to repeat the process, you can do so but only wash them in the solution for 5 minutes.

For the delicate fruits, substitute the soaking by using a spray bottle for fruits. You can leave them for about twenty minutes then rinse them off.

How Long to Soak Fruit in Vinegar?

You do not want to leave the fruits soaking in vinegar too long. Depending on the size and delicacy of the fruit you need about five to twenty minutes to soak. For fruits like grapes, it would be best to spray them as they can soak up the vinegar and the taste will change.

What Strength Vinegar Should You Use to Wash Fruit?

You should use a distilled vinegar that is 5% acidity. Going with any percentage beyond 5% is going to be stronger than what you need to use. Unless you dilute it more than you would with a 5% acidity. You might as well go with the 5% acidity strength.

Can You Use Cleaning Vinegar to Clean Fruit?

Cleaning vinegar would not be the best for cleaning fruit. Even though most cleaning vinegars are one percent above white vinegar at 6% acidity it is too strong for them. This can end up tearing the fruit up and messing up the taste.

Furthermore, cleaning vinegars may have more than just vinegar as the ingredients. Many cleaning vinegars have scents infused and they are not always edible products. This would basically be similar to using a cleaning product to wash your fruits.

Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Clean Fruit?

Most information out there praises white vinegar., but you can also use apple cider vinegar to clean fruit. The process of cleaning the fruit with apple cider vinegar is pretty similar to the steps above.

You can soak the fruit in three tablespoons of the vinegar and 8 cups of water. Soak them for about ten minutes then rinse them off with water.

Can Washing a Fruit with Vinegar Prolong the Life of the Fruit?

There is a chance that washing fruit with vinegar can prolong its life. Like with strawberries, they are the dirtiest fruits and last a few days to a week after you get them from a store. If you use vinegar with them, you could get another week at the most out of them.

The reason vinegar prolongs the life of strawberries and also other fruits is that it removes the mold spores and bacteria on the surface, preventing it to spread. This helps the fruit stay fresh for a longer duration.

What Are Some Alternative Fruit Cleaning and Disinfecting Methods?

There are alternatives to cleaning fruit and disinfecting them besides just using vinegar. You can use a mixture of salt, baking soda, lime juice, and vinegar. You just add it to a spray bottle and after the washing you can spray them. Then after twenty minutes go by you can wash them again.

You can also let them soak in just salt water and rinse them once you complete the soak.

Honestly, water is the most popular way to clean fruits. It may not be the best way to remove all the possible dirt but often does the job to keep it safe too eat. Pesticides are water-soluble and will rinse off and other dirt should rinse off too. Adding vinegar to your cleaning methods just increases the strength of your cleaning to really clean the surface free from most anything.  

Final Thoughts

Now that you know that you can clean fruit with vinegar you can make sure that your fruits are good to eat. While there are other ways to wash fruit, you will know that you have a sound way of disinfecting your fruit.

I hope by reading this article that you have learned enough to be able to go straight to cleaning your fruits.

Remember to be careful with delicate fruits and use 5% vinegar. Also, keep in mind it is okay if you eat a little vinegar. It won’t hurt you!