Will washing be enough?

It’s a common practice for people to wash their food before consuming it. This is because it is believed that washing it will remove the dirty residues of the food. But rinsing is enough for other foods that are more prone to pesticides than others.?

From the moment it is grown to the moment you eat it, it may have dirt, germs, and pesticide residue. To ensure food safety, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) control how much pesticide residue is allowed on food. Complying with the regulations regarding pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables is critical. EPA sets tolerances for residues. Regarding pesticides in food, the EPA strives to ensure that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to infants, children, and adults.

Other than the tolerances given by EPA, you can take matters into your own hands. 

Research has shown that washing reduces pesticide residues loosely attached to the surface, whereas peeling removes even pesticides that have penetrated the cuticles of fruits and vegetables. However, you should be aware that not all pesticide residues can be removed by simply washing them off. It has been found that some pesticides become absorbed by plants called systemic pesticides.

No amount of washing will significantly reduce pesticide residues on produce treated with systemic pesticides. They are IN the food, not ON it. For non-systemic pesticides, washing reduces pesticide residues effectively. Peeling may also reduce pesticide residues absorbed by fruits and vegetables.

A study out of India examined pesticide residues left on eggplant, cauliflower, and okra after washing to determine whether or not washing will make much of a difference. When eggplant, cauliflower, and okra were washed, organophosphate residues (insecticide) were reduced by 77%, 74%, and 50%.

Ultimately, it will always depend on how food is produced and what kind of food it is. If you’re terrified of getting sick from the pesticides used in your food, especially vegetables, here are other ways you can remove pesticides:

Soak it in saltwater.

It has been shown in research that soaking fruits and vegetables in a 10 percent saltwater solution for 20 minutes will help remove most of the residues from the four most common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables.

Vinegar soak

The use of vinegar can also be used to remove pesticide residues from fruits and vegetables. A solution of 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar should do the trick for about 20 minutes. Others claim that full-strength vinegar is needed to eradicate pesticide residues. It is also possible to remove bacteria from food with vinegar. Do not soak porous fruits, such as berries, in this solution since it can affect the thin skin of those fruits.

Using Baking Soda and Water to clean it

Another way to remove pesticides is to soak produce in a baking soda solution that contains 100 ounces of water and soak it for 12-15 minutes before rinsing it with water.

Wash it With Just Cold Water.

In the study, researchers found that 9 out of 12 pesticides tested could be removed from the product by rinsing the produce under cold water.

Peel it

Buying local and seasonally grown produce and peeling the skins are other ways to reduce pesticide consumption.


  1. http://npic.orst.edu/faq/fruitwash.html#:~:text=As%20a%20rule%20of%20thumb,is%20better%20than%20dunking%20it
  2. Does Washing Produce Remove Pesticides? - Lily Nichols RDN
  3. 5 Super Simple Ways to Get Pesticides Off Your Produce - Goodnet