The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid Of Pesticides from Your Fruits and Vegetables

Do you really think that washing your fruits and veggies by hand is enough to remove all the pesticides that are harmful to your health? 

- Nope, but this is what 43% of us think!

Today, organic farming has advanced, and the usage of chemicals such as pesticides to get a better yield has increased. However, pesticides and other chemicals used in organic farming have taken a toll on produce quality and eventually, the health of people.

  • Pesticides can interrupt the normal activity of our body’s immunity system. Also, they can be toxic enough to damage the reproductive and nervous system and also cause cancer.

  • Discover which fruits and greens have a higher level of exposure to pesticides! Indeed, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) classifies some of them as “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen”.

  • There are heaps of solutions to get rid of these evil pesticides: white vinegar, baking soda, ultrasonic cleaner…. Have a look at our table of comparison below!

Explore further to find out more about pesticides on farm produce and how to eliminate them.

How Do Pesticides contaminate fruits And Vegetable?

Pesticides are made up of inert and active ingredients, which help to mitigate, prevent, destroy, or repel pests, insect infestation, diseases, and also control weeds. Pesticides used in agriculture include fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, antimicrobials, algaecides, and more.

When farmers use these pesticides on fruits and vegetables, residues are left, and they contaminate the farm produce. The contamination is what makes most of the fruits and veggies unhealthy to consume without getting rid of the pesticides residue on them.

What are the Potential Health Problems That Are Caused by Pesticides on Veggies and Fruits?

Unfortunately, Pesticides are poisons and toxic. Do you know one surprising fact about them?

They can be more harmful than the pest which they are used for. When you are exposed to pesticides, they can result in some health issues. Scientist and health researchers have linked them to a range of diseases and serious illness in humans, from cancer to respiratory problems.

The effect of pesticides encountered when consuming fruits and vegetables can be acute or long-term.

What are the acute effects of pesticides found on veggies and fruits?

The acute health problems that may occur from consuming vegetables and fruits contaminated by pesticides are eye problems, vomiting, nausea, headaches, skin problems, dizziness, and abdominal pain. Also, because pesticides can be acutely toxic, especially at high-level exposure, the symptoms are evident within 48 hours of consumption. Some other acute effects they can present include:

  • Seizures, extreme weakness, and in some cases death
  • Loss of consciousness, and allergic sensitization
  • Respiratory tract irritation, cough, or/and sore throat

What are the long-term effects of pesticides found on veggies and fruits?

Long-term effects of pesticides consumed through fruits and vegetables can result from continuous or repeated exposure. Some of the long-term effects are cancer, congenital disabilities, impaired fertility in males, respiratory problems, dermatitis, neurotoxic effects, and more.

  • Cancer – exposure to pesticides has been associated with skin, lung, liver, pancreas, breast, kidney, lymphoma, leukaemia, and brain cancers in adult and children. This effect was found by many studies that examined the effect of pesticide exposure.
  • Negative effects on reproduction – this can include low birth weight, fetal growth, congenital disabilities, and developmental defects.
  • Negative effects on fertility – this can include a reduction in the amount of sperm count, sperm genetic alteration, reduction in male fertility, alteration in hormone function, and damage to the germinal epithelium. Level of Fruits and Vegetable Exposure to Pesticides

Level of Fruits and Vegetable Exposure to Pesticides

Vegetable Purifier

The list of the most and least contaminated products compiled by The Environmental Working Group is a helpful tool that can help determine the vegetables and fruits level of exposure to pesticides. The list is updated every year and categorized into two, and they are the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen.

 Clean Fifteen: The least contaminated vegetables and fruits Broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, pineapples, sweet corn, kiwi, eggplant, avocados, sweet peas, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, asparagus, and papayas.

Dirty Dozen:

The list of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables or produces

Potatoes, kale, pears, celery, tomatoes, cherries, apples, peaches, grapes, spinach, strawberries, and nectarines.

Now we assume that you already have an excellent knowledge of how pesticides contaminate vegetables and fruits.

Also, you now know their effects on your health as human and the level of exposure of your produce. So, what do you think you should do next?

The next step is to find a way to eliminate pesticides from your fruits and vegetables.

How Do You Get Rid Of Pesticides From Your Fruits And Vegetables?

There are some effective and proven tips and ways to remove pesticides from veggies and fruits. They include the use of running water, salt water, vinegar, blanching, baking soda, commercial fruits, and vegetable cleaners, peeling, and most effectively a portable ultrasonic machine called Sonic Soak.

Quick comparison table to show the difference between the methods of removing pesticides

 Method Effectiveness
Using Sonic Soak
This is by far the most effective method as it removes 99.9% of pesticide residues and other contaminants from fruits and vegetables
Using baking soda It is more effective than running water method as it removes about 90% of pesticide residues.
Using vinegar
This well-known method removes between 80% and 90% of pesticide residues

Washing under cold running water

It is effective. The method removes about 80% of pesticide residues.

Blanching
It can remove between 70% and 80% of pesticides from farm produce

For an excellent understanding of the different methods mentioned above, let’s take a look at them one by one:

1. How to use Sonic Soak to get rid of pesticides from fruits and vegetables

    Vegetable Purifier

    Of all the methods of eradicating pesticide residues from veggies and fruits mentioned above, using Sonic Soak is the most effective, safest, easier, and most economical method. The portable ultrasonic washing machine uses ultrasonic technology to wash and clean produce at a microscopic level. Traditionally washing vegetables and fruits may fail when it comes to washing off up to 67 different chemicals, including pesticides found on farm produce.

    But Sonic Soak doesn’t find it difficult. The portable ultrasonic cleaner destroys pesticide residues and other foreign contaminants present in all organically and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables at the cellular level. Unlike other methods, the Sonic Soak gets rid of the pesticide residues from all hidden areas of the farm produce. Do you know what this means?

    It means every area or pore that cannot be reached, washed, and cleaned by washing with water and scrubbing with a brush or rubbing with the hand can be reached through Sonic Soak. It gives 99.9 percent of cleaning, which is a deeper cleaning than anything else.

    The steps to use this method are:

    • Fill your sink or container with water
    • Plug the Sonic Soak in the wall unit and put it in the container or sink filled with water
    • Put your vegetables and fruits in the sink or container
    • Set the timer, press start, and wash the portable ultrasonic cleaner do it job
    • Once the cycle is complete, remove the veggies or fruits and allow them to dry or wipe them with a clean, soft cloth.

    Furthermore, some other methods you can use to get rid of pesticides from your fruits and vegetables are:

    • Peeling – wash your fruits or vegetables before peeling. This method works great with peaches, pears, and apples
    • Home-made cleaners – Home-made spray for fruits and vegetables are the next best thing for times when you are in a hurry. Pour one cup of water, two tablespoons of white vinegar or baking soda, and one tablespoon of lemon juice in a spray bottle. Ensure it mixes well my shaking vigorously before you spray it on your veggies or fruit. Use your hand to rub it or your vegetable brush to scrub it for 30 minutes. After that, rinse in cold water and allow them to dry.

    2. How to get rid of pesticides from your veggies and fruits using baking soda

    Ultrasonic Cleaners

    Even though running water can be effective, using baking soda plus water is better! A recent study by Lili He, a food scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, found that washing apples with baking soda mix are a sure way to get rid of pesticides. The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, and in the study, apples were exposed to specific pesticide residues for 24 hours. The apples were suggested to different methods of washing. Baking soda and water were found more effective because apples washed in the solution had the least amount of pesticides.

    Now that you know that this method of getting rid of pesticides from fruits and veggies are effective and scientifically backed, how do you go about it?

    • Look for a bowl that can accommodate the fruits and vegetables you want to wash and fill it with water.
    • Add baking soda to the water in the bowl and mix thoroughly and evenly. As a general rule of thumb, you can mix one ounce of baking soda with 100 ounces of water. Alternatively, you can add two tablespoons of baking soda to one cup of water. Also, one tablespoon of lemon juice can be added to give a more effective wash.
    • Pour or put the vegetables and fruits inside the mixed solution and allow it to soak for about 15 minutes.
    • Then rinse the produce under running water and pat to dry.

    Take note that you should not use excess baking soda.

    3. How to get rid of pesticides from your fruits and veggies using vinegar

    Vegetable Purifier

    According to the experts from The Environmental Working Group, white vinegar comes with acetic acid, which can dissolve chemicals such as pesticides present on the skin of fruits and veggies. The acid can also kill about 98 percent of bacteria on your produce.

    Below are the simple steps to follow if you want to use this method:

    • Get a large bowl and fill it with water. You can also make use of your sink 
    • Pour about one to two tablespoons of vinegar in the water and stir, so it mixes well. As a general rule of thumb, you should use one part vinegar to three parts water. Just like the baking soda method, you can also add a teaspoon of lemon juice. 
    • Add the vegetables and fruits into the solution and allow them to soak for 15 minutes.
    • After 15 minutes, remove the veggies or fruits and give them an extra rinse with running water
    • Use a soft cloth or fresh towel to wipe them dry. Also, you can air dry them

    4. How to use running water to get rid of pesticides from veggies and fruits

    According to the Scientists at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiments Station, 9 of the 12 tested pesticides were removed by running water. This means washing your fruits and vegetables under running water, especially cold water can reduce the number of pesticide residues on your produce. This method removes between 75 percent and 80 percent of pesticide residues.

    How do you utilize this method?

    • Firstly, wash your hand with water or soap. This ensures that microbes on your hands are not transferred to the fruits and vegetables
    • Soak the vegetables and fruits in water for up to five minutes
    • Look for a sieve or a container with mesh to expel the water coming from the tap immediately. Then pour your fruits or vegetables in the container and put it in the sink.
    • Open the tap and allow water to run on the fruits and vegetables.
    • While water is running, use your hand to rub the vegetables and fruits briskly, especially for produce with delicate skin. But if the veggies and fruits have firm skin or hard rind, you can use a vegetable brush to scrub the surface. Rubbing or scrubbing the surface will remove surface microorganisms and dirt.

    Take note that you should not use hot water to wash the produce. It can allow microorganisms to enter the blossom end or stem of fruits and veggies.

      5. How to remove pesticides from veggies and fruits by blanching 

      Cleaning tool

      This method involves the short treatment of fruits and vegetables in hot water. Blanching can effectively remove some residues of pesticides from the skin of produce.

      This method works basically for people who want to consume fruits and veggies immediately. The steps to follow are:

      • Place all the veggies and fruits in a large bowl or sink and pre-wash them using the first method (wash under cold running water)
      • Pour water in a pot or kettle and add salt. Generally, half teaspoon of salt should be enough for eight cups of water. Allow the water to boil to about 100oC
      • Pour the boiled water on the fruits inside the bowl with the produce. Remember that this should be a short treatment. Allow the fruits and vegetables to stay in hot water for 30 seconds before you remove them
      • Transfer the fruits and vegetables into a bowl of water and add ice for an ice bath.

      Take note that blanching does not only reduce the pesticide residues, but it also helps cook vegetable quickly, and also remove their skin quickly.

      cleaning tool

          What Is The Best Method To Get Rid Of Pesticides From Your Fruits And Vegetables?

          All the methods mentioned and discussed above are effective when it comes to getting rid of pesticides from veggies and fruits so you can eat healthily. However, most of them are known to remove about 80 percent of the pesticide residues present on your produce. But there is one that removes 99.9 percent of pesticide residues from your vegetables and fruit. It is the Sonic Soak.

          The method also cleans every hidden area of the produce without leaving out any part. Interestingly, this method does more than cleaning farm produce; it also washes and cleans your clothes, jewelry, baby products, kitchenware, and more. To cut the story short, using Sonic Soak is the best method to get rid of pesticides from fruits and vegetables.