Does Baking Soda Clean Fruit?

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A healthy diet that involves more fruits offers many health benefits and nutrients. However, fruits can easily pick up dirt, wax, and chemicals. So how do you clean fruit to ensure they are safe to eat? Is water enough? Or does baking soda clean fruit?

It has long been advised that fruits must be rinsed well with water before eating them. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, experts suggest more abrasive ways to clean fruits, such as baking soda. Baking soda helps remove dirt, residue, and chemicals from your fresh produce.

This article will tackle the many ways baking soda cleans fruit. But first, let’s discuss the importance of washing your fresh produce.

Why Should You Clean Fruit?

Regardless of the global pandemic, washing or cleaning fruit is vital to ensure they are clean and safe to eat. It is a good habit to clean fruit to minimize or prevent germs and harmful residue ingestion.

Many people handle or touch the fruits before they put them into your pantry, fridge, or on the table. It is best to assume that not all hands that touch fruits are clean. Thus, cleaning fruits before you eat them can reduce the residue that is probably left on them before they are harvested or sold in the market.

What is the Best Way to Clean Fruit?

Many people clean their fruit with water alone. However, did you know baking soda is one of the best ways to clean fruit? Baking soda is an effective solution to prevent fungi, bacteria, and other viruses from developing on your fresh fruit.

The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) agrees that cold water and baking soda are the most effective way to clean fruit. It cleanses away dirt and unwanted materials on fruit.

How Does Baking Soda Work to Clean Fruit?

How does baking soda work to clean fruit, you ask? According to a study, baking soda is the most effective way of cleaning fruit, especially in removing pesticides. The alkalinity of baking soda neutralizes the acidic pesticides on fruit. It works well in breaking apart pesticide molecules. 

In the same study, Dr. Lili used one teaspoon of baking soda per two cups of water to clean apples for his research. However, there’s no hard and fast rule for this cleaning procedure; hence, the measurement does not need to be precise. After all, having too much baking soda will remove the nutrient rich-skin of the fruit.

How to Clean Fruit with Baking Soda?

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You should wash fruit before and after peeling them. This ensures the fruit is free from chemicals, dirt, and bacteria. Here are easy steps to clean them:

Things you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Cold water
  • Sink or Bowl


  1. Wash your hands before touching the fruit. Your hands may be dirty or have germs, so it’s best to clean your hands first before you start the cleaning process.
  2. If you wash bags of fruits, use the kitchen sink. But for a small number of fruits, you can use a bowl.
  3. Fill the sink or bowl 2/3 full with cold water into the sink or bowl to ensure that the water will not spill once you put the fruit in it. If you use the sink, add 3 or 4 tablespoons of baking soda and distribute it to the water. If you’re using a bowl, add one teaspoon of baking soda.
  4. Submerge all the fruit into the sink or bowl.
  5. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub firmer fruits like melons, apples, or oranges. Rub the fruit with your fingers to clean fragile fruit such as grapes or berries.
  6. Remove the fruit from the water and let them dry before eating or cooking them.

Can Baking Soda and Vinegar Clean Fruit?

Still curious how baking soda cleans fruit? Mixing baking soda and vinegar can make a more effective cleaning solution. Here’s a step-by-step guide to washing fruit with baking soda and vinegar.

Things you’ll need

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Bowl
  • Colander


  1. Mix water, baking soda, and vinegar
  2. Soak the fruits in the mixture for about 20 to 30 minutes before draining them with a colander. Soak soft fruit for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Drain the fruits using a colander. Rinse them again with water before eating or cooking them.

Can Baking Soda and Lemon Juice Clean Fruit?

Mixing baking soda with lemon juice is one of the many ways to make it a more effective cleaning agent. Here’s a guide on using baking soda and lemon juice to clean fruit.

Things you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Half lemon
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Spray bottle
  1. Combine all ingredients (baking soda, lemon, water) in a bowl. Put the mixture in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the mixture on your fruits. Let it sit for about 5 minutes
  3. Rinse the fruits and leave them to dry before eating or cooking them.

Best Tips to Clean Fruits with Baking Soda

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How you clean fruit is essential to removing dirt and microbes.  Just soaking the fruits with baking soda is not enough to clean them. Follow these steps to clean fruits with baking soda properly:

Wash Your Hands

Make sure to wash your hands with soapy water for 20 seconds before cleaning the fruit. This is to ensure that your hands are not the reason why the fruit you are about to eat or cook is dirty or has germs.

Cut Damaged or Bruised Areas of the Fruit

If there’s a damaged or bruised part of the fruit, cut it. Removing damaged areas before washing the fruit is best.

Rub or Scrub the Fruit 

Rub the fruit gently while holding it under the baking soda mixture, especially if it’s soft or fragile produce. You can use a clean fruit scrub on your fresh, firm produce. 

Allow the Fruit to Dry

Let the baking soda mixture work by allowing the fruit to dry. You can also dry your fresh produce with a paper towel or clean cloth to further remove germs or bacteria that may be present.

List of Fruits You Can Clean with Baking Soda

Now that you’ve learned how baking soda cleans fruits, it’s time to know which type of fruits you can clean with baking soda. 

Dirty Dozen

According to the Environment Working Group (EWG), the fruits from the Dirty Dozen contain many pesticides and must be cleaned thoroughly. These fruits are:

  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Strawberry
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Nectarines

Clean Fruits

Meanwhile, the following fruits are usually clean and don’t contain many pesticides. However, you still need to clean these fruits before you eat them.

  • Avocado
  • Pineapple
  • Cucumber
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Papaya
  • Mangoes
  • Kiwi


When cleaning fruit, cleaning products aren’t necessary. Health professionals don’t recommend these products to consumers because they may make you sick.

Cleaning fruits should not be more complex than it must be. With a pinch of baking soda and proper cleaning methods, you can rid it of bacteria or dirt on your fruit. 

Since you already know how baking soda cleans fruit, you can now enjoy your fresh produce without fear of getting sick.

If you’re interested in learning what else baking soda can clean in your home, check out our post – Does Baking Soda Clean Grout?