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How To Wash Pesticides Off Apples, According To Science

Some of you may have seen the video below a couple of years ago when it made the rounds on Facebook and been absolutely horrified (I know I was). And while making sure to get that disgusting and dangerous wax off your food is important (they don’t put it on organic apples!) it’s not the only thing you have to worry about being on your apples.

“Your best and safest bet is to buy organic. And if you can’t, use the baking soda solution.”

The dangerous pesticides they coat apples in are just as dangerous. Thankfully, science has now figured out the very best way to clean our food before we ingest it: your best bet is to soak your fruit in a baking soda solution for 12 to 15 minutes.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst tested a few different ways to wash chemical residue off of produce: the bleach solution that farmers dunk fruit in after harvest, a liquid slurry of baking soda, and plain old tap water. The baking soda was the best at removing the chemicals, they report this week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


Pesticides may help crops survive and keep dangerous molds or bugs at bay, but they’re not good to eat. While the exact effects depend on the type of pesticides and the amount you eat, the World Health Organization says that certain pesticides may harm the developing nervous systems of fetuses and children.”


Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst covered organic Gala apples in a fungicide or an insecticide and let the chemicals soak in for a few minutes or a full day. Next, they attempted cleaning the fruit with tap water, a bleach solution, or baking soda solutions- for up to 15 minutes.


After just 12 to 15 minutes the baking soda bath was able to totally eradicate the chemicals from the fruit’s surface. However, about 20 percent of the fungicide and 4 percent of the insecticide had soaked through the apple’s skin and couldn’t be washed off.2


Your best and safest bet is to buy organic. And if you can’t, use the baking soda solution.

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