A recent reader question submitted to The New York Times’ wellness section highlights an issue about which countless people have undoubtedly wondered: Is washing fruit effective in reducing exposure to pesticides?
It turns out that yes, your standard household tap water will reduce the amount of pesticide residue on your produce, but “getting it down to zero is not feasible, ever,” toxicologist Dr. Dave Stone told the Times. Running your fruits and vegetables through water will indeed reduce residues on the surface of the produce, but will not get rid of the pesticides that have already been absorbed into the tissue of the plant through its roots.
That being said, there are a few things you can do to reduce pesticide residue more effectively, short of buying organic.
For starters, Dr. Stone says, you can use a vegetable brush to scrub your produce, but vegetable washes might actually backfire, “because detergent residue could be added to fruits with porous outer layers.”
Finally, use running water to wash your produce, because according to Dr. Stone, “The force of the running water will drive off residues.”