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Grapefruit Seed Extract for Disinfectant

When we shared an article on dandelions for food, tea and medicine, GardensAll Facebook community member, Olive Bolivar shared this great information on grapefruit seed extract or oil as a natural and safe disinfectant. The main difference between the grapefruit seed extract versus grapefruit seed oil is that the extract is concentrated and the oil is the extract added to—and diluted by—oil.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

By Contributor, Olive Bolivar

I LOVE dandelions. Always have. We make wine and use the leaves in salad. Our yard is a highway for all kinds of wildlife so I soak my greens for about 15 minutes in a solution using grapefruit seed oil to cleanse them.

Great idea to soak wild edibles first! We have loads of chickweed in our yard but most of it goes unharvested because we also have dogs. However, this tip from Olive on using grapefruit seed oil as a disinfectant is a great solution, so we’ve already ordered some grapefruit seed oil and grapefruit seed extract (often called GSE) from Amazon.

We also have some grapefruit on hand, so just today, my daughter, Devani, made a blended grapefruit drink out of every part of the grapefruit except the skin. Now when we eat or juice the grapefruit, we will consume the seeds as well, though definitely in moderation as they are extraordinarily potent.

Grapefruit Seed Extract Disinfectant

Olive Bolivar continues:

Grapefruit seed oil (GSE) is sold on several online sites and you can usually find it in natural food stores.

It’s not a well known disinfectant, but a good one. We lived in several countries where fresh produce wasn’t safe until disinfected, so we always soaked it before it went on the table.

Over the past several years, we’ve had numerous epidemic poisonings in the USA that originated from unclean produce. Now I follow the same food safety practices we used in other countries when we get produce from commercial sources, I’m not so much worried with local organically grown produce.

Olive went on to say:

I had trouble finding out the best way to disinfect produce in the beginning, but after a lot of research came across grapefruit seed oil. People also use a (VERY) weak Clorox solution—something I wouldn’t do because Clorox is toxic; and others use vinegar disinfecting. Don’t use salt because it will draw nutrients out of your fresh vegetables.

Editor’s Note: Vinegar is not proven to actually disinfect.

Grapefruit Seed Extract Ratio for Cleansing Produce

  • 10 drops GSE to 1 gallon of water
  • Soak vegetables 15-30 minutes

The solution can be used again, but I only use it about 3 times before making fresh.

Don’t rinse your produce after soaking. Lay it out on the counter on top of a thick towel and let the moisture evaporate, then store in refrigerator as usual.

Editor’s Note: Other sources say to rinse produce in water afterwards. Our take is that it depends where in the world you are. If you’re in a country where you cannot drink the water such as India or Mexico, then let it dry without rinsing it again, as Olive indicates.

GSE will help destroy Salmonella and E.Coli bacteria.

We love using natural home remedies whenever possible, so after reading Olive’s comments about GSE we dove into some of the research on it. Indeed, Olive is right, it’s known to be very good at cleaning produce, amongst many other uses. Here is some more of what we found.

GSE Benefits Include Killing Candida and Treating Digestive Symptoms
Grapefruit seed extract is perhaps best known for its ability to treat digestive disturbances and kill pathogens, especially fungal pathogens like Candida albicans, in the gastrointestinal tract. One preliminary human trial investigated the effectiveness of grapefruit seed extract in people with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and eczema. Subjects received either 2 drops of a 0.5% liquid concentrate twice a day or 150 mg of encapsulated grapefruit seed extract (ParaMicrocidin®) three times a day.

After a month, all of the subjects taking capsules experienced significant improvements in constipation, flatulence, and abdominal discomfort, as well as night rest, while 20% of the subjects taking the liquid experienced significant improvements in their IBS symptoms. Results found that there were no major grape seed extract side effects. The fact that these patients’ digestive symptoms improved with grapefruit extract suggests that they actually had an infection in the gastrointestinal tract that was causing their symptoms rather than IBS. And in fact, the researchers tested the extract against different intestinal pathogens and found it was most effective against Candida species, a type of fungal infection, and some types of parasites.


Benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract kills all kinds of infectious microbes—bacterial, viral, and fungal. GSE kills antibiotic-resistant UTIs, remedies fungal infections, relieves athletes foot and nail fungus, and treats digestive disturbances associated with

  • Antibacterial
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antiviral
  • Antifungal
  • kills antibiotic-resistant UTIs,
  • UTIs – Urinary Tract Infections
  • Digestive issues
  • Candida1)
  • Flu/cold preventative
  • IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome2)

GSE can also be used for ailments, infections and viruses:

  • Throat gargle
  • Mouth wash
  • Nasal/sinus wash
  • Ear drops
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Skin wounds

And… of course for gardeners, foragers, wildcrafters (and anyone concerned about store-bought produce), as a fruit and veggie wash.

GSE is also a disinfectant and powerful germ killer. In addition it is an effective antifungal and has been found to be as effective at getting rid of candida as any of the prescriptions medications for that common ailment.

Pet Remedy

GSE is an excellent remedy for your pet’s ailments such as:

  • Skin disease
  • External injuries
  • Fungal infections
  • Parasites
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Bad breath when added to drinking water
    • use 1 drop of liquid, per 10 pounds of body weight
    • frequency of dosage can be increased 2-3x without side effects

GSE is extremely potent, so be sure to use safely diluted ratios and follow product or health professional’s dosage instructions.3)


How to Take Grapefruit Seed Extract

IMPORTANT: Check with your physician if you’re on any kind of medication, as there is contraindications that GSE can interfere with the absorption of medicine. Also, do NOT give GSE to children without a doctor’s approval and supervision.

Grapefruit Seed Extract Dosage

10 drops GSE in a glass of water 1-3 x daily, with or without meals.

Naturally, the GSE is extremely bitter. If you find this too intolerable, you can take GSE capsules instead, according to the manufacturer’s—or your physician’s—instructions.

As with any antibiotic, grapefruit extract can deplete your good gut bacteria if taken long term. So if you plan to take GSE for 3 days or more, it’s important to consume a probiotic supplement two hours before taking your GSE dose.4)


Grapefruit seed extract is extraordinarily potent.
Be safe and follow instructions.

Forms of GSE

Grapefruit seed comes in numerous forms:

  • Grapefruit seed oil
  • Liquid extracts
  • Capsules
  • Throat sprays
  • Nasal sprays
  • Ear drop
  • Mouthwashes and gargles
  • Toothpastes
  • Shower gels
  • Wound disinfectant sprays
  • Other personal care products

We’ve just ordered one of the more popular forms of grapefruit seed extract, Citicidal. We’ll update here when we have more to add from our own experience. Meanwhile, we’ll definitely use it for washing edibles from our yard, such as some of the dandelion and chickweed that’s everywhere, yummy and oh so healthy!

Here’s a great article on grapefruit seed extract if you want to go even deeper.


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