Can You Actually Wash Pesticides Off Produce?

According to Consumer Reports, 85 percent of Americans are concerned about potential pesticide residue on their food. And with good reasonóthe average American has trace amounts of around 29 different pesticides inside her or himself at any given moment.

With organic food costing more than conventional, the temptation to just rinse off any sprayed pesticide residue is strong. Youíve probably seen produce washes in the grocery aisle or on the web, but do they actually work?

Since we canít see pesticides with our naked eye, using produce washes specifically marketed to rinse off pesticide residue is more for self-assurance than anything else. Who knows if theyíre actually working? At least the produce seems cleaner, right? Unfortunately, it appears that most washes are relatively ineffective at removing pesticides.

Wait, why are we so concerned about†removing†pesticides anyways? Oh yeah, theyíve been linked to: ADHD, Alzheimerís, birth defects, cancers, depression, infertility, immune dysfunction, Parkinsonís and respiratory issues, to name a few. So clean produce is pretty important.

According to a recent study, the most effective way to clean pesticide residue off of conventional apples is to rinse them in a solution of baking soda and waterÖ for 15 minutes. Raise of hands, who is actually going to wash their produce for 15 minutes? Virtually no one. Especially because the baking soda rinse only removed the pesticide residue on the outer layer of skin. Any pesticides that seeped into the inner skin or the flesh of the fruit still remained intact. Even with a 15 minute, effective cleansing, it proves almost impossible to eradicate the chemical residue that has seeped in throughout the plantís lifespan.

Why not peel the skin? While that might be more effective at removing pesticides, it would also result in significant nutritional loss. The edible skin of fruit and veggies harbors a lot of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that make produce so healthful. Itís one step away from suggesting, ďWhy not just stop eating produce?Ē. Itís a swing in the wrong direction.

Unfortunately, there is really no good way to clean conventional produce. Itís impossible to know how much pesticide residue is actually on there, no matter how much you dip and scrub. Thatís why it is so important to buy organic.

Got a tight wallet? The Environmental Working Group has your back. Always shop with the Dirty Dozen in mind. These 12 foods are generally the most highly contaminated with pesticides, meaning they are the 12 foods you should always buy organic. The Clean 15 on the other hand, generally have the lowest pesticide residue. If youíre on a budget and canít afford the whole gamut of organic produce (or simply think organic avocados taste like dirt), these 15 are your safest bet to buy conventional.

In the end, itís probably best to save your money and stop buying produce washes. Not only are they fairly ineffective, but the thick layers of edible wax that coat most market produce prove impenetrable to the majority of these food-safe washes, meaning they aren’t even effectively cleaning the†outer layer of residue†most of the time. Of course, keep rinsing your produce with water to remove dirt or bacteria. But forget about produce washes. Be a smart shopper and know when it is worth your money and wellness to just go organic.

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59 comments

heather g
heather g11 days ago

Info to keep, thanks

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Glennis W
Glennis W14 days ago

Very informative. Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W14 days ago

Great information and advice Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W14 days ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Anne F
Anne F15 days ago

keeping pesticides out of food supply needs a systemic response, not individual response. (I do wash dirt off the vegetables)

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Peggy B
Peggy B15 days ago

TYFS

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Ruth S
Ruth S15 days ago

Thanks.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

some countries worse than others

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

th

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Winn A
Winn A16 days ago

tks

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