Try these tips for cleaning with water first
1. Before you wash or soak your food, wash your hands with antibacterial soap. You don’t want the soap to actually touch your food (that’s a bad idea), but your hands carry loads of bacteria that can easily transfer to your food.
2. Don’t use any soap, detergent, bleach, or other toxic chemicals to clean your food. They will leave a residue of their own on the surface.
3. Consider cleaning your fruits and veggies with distilled water or a diluted vinegar solution of one part vinegar and three parts water. Keep it in a spray bottle for convenience. If you’re just using the water from your kitchen faucet to clean produce, let it run for a few minutes beforehand and always use cold water.
Different Strokes for Different ‘Chokes
Because fruits and vegetables aren’t all alike, each type demands a different method of cleaning.
Fruits with stems (apples, pears, peaches): Since bacteria and dirt are usually trapped at the blossom and stem ends of fruit, it’s best to cut off both ends after rinsing.
Fruits with rinds (oranges, avocados): Even though you’re not going to eat the rind, wash the skin and rub it gently with a brush. Again, bacteria gets stuck in the crevices and can transfer to your (hopefully) clean hands, or maybe to the knife you’re using to cut, which then transfers to the edible parts of the fruit.
Berries: Wash thoroughly with cold water in a colander.
Leafy greens: These should get a two-minute cold-water soak, followed by a drain in a colander. Repeat if necessary. Even if the packaging claims that your greens are prewashed, play it safe and wash them again. For whole heads of lettuce, remove the outer layer first before soaking.
Root vegetables (potatoes, carrots): Soak these for a couple of minutes, too. Even if you’re going to peel off the skin, brush it under running water before peeling. It may be possible that the knife or peeler you’re using can transfer bacteria to the edible parts.
Vegetables with lots of crevices (broccoli, cauliflower): Soak for two minutes before cutting, then rinse in a colander.
Vegetables with a thick skin (squash, zucchini): Brush skin under running water and rinse again before cutting.
Mushrooms (even fancy ones, like chanterelles): Despite the invention of the mushroom brush, mushrooms should still get a quick cold-water rinse, followed by a pat-down dry with paper towels. Clean out the gills in the cap with a fork and remove the stems.