According to this article it is better to use lemon essential oil when washing vegetables. It is said to add prepared mixture to spray bottle but nothing about if it is possible to store spray bottle and under which temperature.

This is why i ask this question here. Maybe somebody knows?

Also, is it critical to store mixture in a clean new spray bottle or i can use cleaned spray bottle from windows cleaning detergent?


  • 3
    I would strongly suggest not to do that. First, WikiHow and random YouTube videos are not such a great source of information, and this thing is just wacky. The idea that you can dissolve hydrophobic residue on fruit with oil may be OK, but it won't happen with a few drops of oil in water, you'll need to wash the fruit in pure oil (which leaves you with the problem to remove the oil from the fruit). Second, commercially sold essential oils are not food grade, a bottle I found in the cupboard is clearly marked as irritant and has some boilerplate about seeking medical help if ingested.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 19:08
  • Sites like wikiHow and eHow are widely considered to be content farms with unreliable content. For things that are already common knowledge, they'll probably be just one more highly SEOed copy of it on the internet, but then there are tons of articles like this. I'd suggest avoiding them altogether, since if you "learn" anything new, you have to go check somewhere else whether it's true or not anyway.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 5:16
  • @rumtscho What if i clean with lemon juice but not oil? What is the difference between both actually? I can also use lemon acid or lemon sauce?
    – Boris_yo
    Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 18:09
  • An essential oil is produced by distillation and/or steeping plant matter in a solvent (and the solvent can be toxic when ingested). It chemically extracts the aromatic compounds of the plant. A juice is produced by pressing, and contains the water-based fluid from the fruit, but no solvents. The video recommends using oil, because it fears that the fruit surface is contaminated with water insoluble pesticides. If we assume that there are such pesticides and there is sense in removing them, it is physically impossible for juice, citric acid, or drops of essential oil in water to remove them.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 0:24
  • 1
    But I doubt very much that there is any need to do it. There are laws against selling fruit covered in toxic pesticides (except fruit with inedible rind), and government inspections make sure that producers/importers comply. Washing fruit with pure water is enough to make it safe to eat. Until somebody publishes a peer-reviewed study that washing with something else makes it significantly safer (as opposed to somebody spreading untested ideas on YouTube), there is no need to wash with anything else. If you are still afraid of pesticides, buy organic fruit, it has none per definition.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


I don't see a point to doing this at all. The lemon oil may act as a mild surfactant in larger quantity. Use water and elbow-grease to clean your veggies -- you're primarily trying to remove dirt. Use of Scotch Brite-style scrubbing pads (so long as they're detergent-free) works nicely for heartier veggies like carrots and potatoes, and a vegetable brush or cloth for more delicate things.

If you're trying to kill germs, you may want to try soaking briefly in a VERY mild bleach solution. If you're trying to prevent browning via oxidation, particularly in cut vegetables, acidulated water should do the trick -- add some lemon juice or crushed vitamin C tablets to water and soak until needed.

  • "The lemon oil may act as a mild surfactant in larger quantity". Is that good or bad for effective cleaning?
    – Boris_yo
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 11:59
  • 1
    Surficants are good at cleaning. Citrus oils are added to soaps to help with this. But to use pure lemon oil in a quantity that would act as a soap, you'd be spending way too much money. You're better off just getting some sort of food-grade soap. Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 14:22

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