We have offered this DIY solution for pesticide removal on produce for a number of years and now the effectiveness has been scientifically demonstrated: Scientists have now shown that baking soda is the most effective method for pesticide residue removal on apples–at least the residue on the surface of the fruit, that is.
A better way to wash pesticides off apples
Pesticide residue removal…Researchers now report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, that washing apples with a common household product — baking soda — could do the trick for residues on the surfaces of the fruit.
Lili He and colleagues wanted to find out which washing method can most effectively reduce pesticides.
The researchers applied two common pesticides — the fungicide thiabendazole, which past research has shown can penetrate apple peels, and the insecticide phosmet — to organic Gala apples. They then washed these apples with three different liquids: tap water, a 1 percent baking soda/water solution, and a U.S.-EPA-approved commercial bleach solution often used on produce.
Washing the produce with either plain tap water or the bleach solution for two minutes, per the industry standard, were far less effective.
The baking soda solution was the most effective at reducing pesticides. After 12 and 15 minutes, 80 percent of the thiabendazole was removed, and 96 percent of the phosmet was removed, respectively. The different percentages are likely due to thiabendezole’s greater absorption into the apple.
Journal Reference: Tianxi Yang, Jeffery Doherty, Bin Zhao, Amanda J. Kinchla, John M. Clark, Lili He. Effectiveness of Commercial and Homemade Washing Agents in Removing Pesticide Residues on and in Apples. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2017; DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03118