How Should We Wash Fruit and Vegetables?

How should we wash fruit and vegetables?


Almost no food is 100% free of pesticides and even organic fruit and vegetables may contain traces of pesticide residues.


It is important to wash food to reduce exposure to foodborne illness and pesticides substantially. According to washing produce with water removes 9 of the 12 tested pesticides. However you can also use a little salt, vinegar or baking soda diluted in the water – with a 10% salt solution found to be as effective as full strength vinegar. Surprisingly baking soda came out tops. For most fruit and vegetables soaking for a short while in a relatively weak solution of baking soda is sufficient to clean prior to eating. (1ml per 100ml / 10ml per litre / 1 tablespoon per litre water).


Some items, like mushrooms, can be wiped clean of debris with a damp cloth and don’t need to be washed. Although, there seems to be some debate around this – we would love to hear your thoughts!


Produce high in pesticides according to Food Revolution include:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
Least pesticide contaminated produce includes:
  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Sweet peas, frozen
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms


The water used to rinse your fruit and veggies can either be re-used in the garden or to flush toilets. If you boil any produce the water, once cooled, can also be re-used – as long as there are no oils or fats added.


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