Easy Homemade Produce Spray

06/27/2012. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy.

Washing the strawberries in a sieve

I mentioned the Dirty Dozen list for 2013 with the produce items that tend to have the most pesticide residue.

If you are concerned about this you can make a very fast little produce spray right at home with items you probably already have on hand.

These are the only things you need- you probably already have these on hand anyway!

Spray this on your non-organic produce items before you are ready to wash.  Let it sit for 5 minutes or so and then rinse as usual!

Very easy!

To make the spray you simply need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • 1 tbl baking soda

You simply mix those ingredients together in a bowl (note the baking soda will fizz when it mixes with vinegar) and place into a spray bottle.

Total cost is probably less then $2.00.

If you have strawberries specifically, one thing you can do is place them in a bowl with one part vinegar to ten parts water.  That will not only have a similar effect but it will also keep them fresher longer.  You don’t need to rinse and they won’t have a vinegar-y flavor.  Just pop in the fridge and eat when you are ready!

(Source: Dr Oz)


And here is a quick and easy tip to keep berries fresh for much longer.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth June 27, 2012 at 5:13 PM

A question about the strawberries…Do I immerse them in the solution & refrigerate them?

Thanks for all the great tips!

momto3 June 27, 2012 at 8:08 PM

GSE is great too–its a little bit up front but it has so many natural disinfectant uses and it goes a long way. HTH!

Charlene June 27, 2012 at 8:47 PM


Take them out of the water and let dry on a towel or in a colander and then pop in the fridge :)

kit June 28, 2012 at 6:12 AM

Thanks for the recipe for the diy spray. Do you know how long the spray will keep?

Charlene June 28, 2012 at 8:25 AM


I think a few weeks.. I judge by how it smells. If I still smell lemon I figure it is good but if that scent starts to disappear, I will make a fresh batch. I usually have those 3 things on hand anyhow so I can freshen it up every few weeks.

chris m June 28, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Thanks so much for diy spray recipe. I read somewhere to use white vinegar and water just like your strawberry recommendation, which is what I have been doing. Can you please explain, why the other solution includes baking soda and lemon? Also if you are washing it off wouldn’t you then have to do the 10 part 10 part water vinegar rinse to help it stay fresh? Just trying to understand. Thank you …huge fan of your blog.

Charlene June 28, 2012 at 3:40 PM


I was thinking you could do one or the other. The strawberries will stay fresher by immersing them in the solution so you can probably do a few squirts if you really want to be safe and then immerse in water and then let dry.

The lemon is a natural disinfectant and it can help extend the life of produce as well as create a more pleasant smell. I have heard of people using Grapefruit extract instead but lemon is like .20 so that is what I would suggest.

I am not sure what the baking soda does exactly and I have seen recipes that just use vinegar and water. If you prefer to skip the baking soda you can do that.

L July 14, 2012 at 8:13 AM

Baking soda and vinegar together are a natural, foamy cleaner. It’s probably slightly abrasive to really scrub the fruit of any surface pesticides. Though it probably won’t do anything to any chemical fertilizers soaked up into the fruit itself while it was growing. Sorry!

The lemon is a natural cleaner too and just makes it smell nicer than vinegar.

Charlene July 14, 2012 at 8:40 AM


I don’t think anyone is going to scrub berries and such :) This is a spray so much more gentle. I do believe these will help remove some of the pesticides and the wax on produce. I don’t think it is quite as good as selecting organic but if that is not an option, this is a great little extra step to take to clean produce.

As Dr Oz says:

“The vinegar in this spray has natural anti-bacterial properties, while the lemon juice is a natural astringent. The solution works to both breakdown and clean off pesticides.”

So I would have to disagree with you that this is not going to do anything at all.

Rose Z. July 14, 2012 at 9:37 PM

LOL, Dr. Oz always has something different to say. He had grapes one day and said just rinse them and let them soak in water for about 2 min. A few days later, a lady asked him about washing grapes, and he said to let them soak in water about 30 seconds. I’ve heard him contradict himself many times.

Charlene July 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Well if you don’t want to use a produce spray, I would say don’t use it ;). I did some research before I posted this and I can’t find any information that says this is not worthwhile. In fact, it appears the spray can also extend the life of produce.

If you are not comfortable with Dr Oz, here are several other sources that all offer very similar recipes and similar information:







Louise July 16, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Thanks for all the great suggestions that you have had over the years and the research you have done in order to get the information to us. It sure has saved me alot of aggravation and money. Keep up the good work as it is much appreciated.

Anne April 23, 2014 at 8:57 PM

The baking soda and vinegar or citric acid in the lemon juice produce carbon dioxide, water and sodium acetate or sodium citrate, respectively. None of the above products of the reaction make pesticides any more soluble in water. For a more detailed study of removal of trace pesticides see this site by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station at http://www.ct.gov/caes/cwp/view.asp?a=2815&q=376676
The results from the study above concluded that running produce under water worked equally as well as commercial washes.
However, vinegar or lemon juice do have mild antibacterial and anti fungal effects that can help prolong the freshness of produce.

Charlene April 23, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Anne- this study was conducted fourteen years ago. That is a lifetime ago when you consider the advancements in technology and agriculture. In the year 2000 we also thought every computer would crash and people were panicked about Y2K. Do you have anything that is more current?

Daisy May 11, 2014 at 8:14 PM

As a great natural room deodorizer after a “fishy” dinner or something else smelly, I will put out a small bowl (custard cup) of vinegar and by the next morning all smells are G-O-N-E! I then pour down the sink.
Thank You for all your hard work and great idea’s.

Charlene May 12, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Great tip Daisy!

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