We eat many fruits and veggies at home and I am concerned about the amount pesticides on fruits like strawberries. Is washing the fruit effective enough? Does a thorough wash vs. a quick rinse make any difference?

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A long term answer would be to grow your own if possible. That way you have complete control over your food. Or at least purchase from a local farmer that is willing to let you see how he/she grows their produce.

Even organics need to be washed. Most all commercial organics use a form of pest control (most likely diatomaceous earth), they also use natural fertilizers like manure and compost. None of those things are items you need to directly ingest.

The best advice I have is to wash then soak fruits and vegetables in lukewarm water. After a soak wash again. For foods with pitted surfaces, strawberries, potatoes, etc, use a soft bristled brush to gently scrub the food. That will get most anything off the outside.

Of course there will be trace amounts of anything that was sprayed on the item inside of the item.

Hope this helps.

  • +1 for the advice of purchasing from local farmers and growing your own. – MissesBrown Dec 18 '11 at 11:59
  • Diatomaceous earth is edible. They sell it in food-grade. – Chloe Oct 2 '16 at 21:08

Since you don't know which pesticide (or herbicide) was applied to your produce/fruits, you should opt for both a regular wash, and a wash with acetic acid (vinegar).

Many pesticides are non-polar - meaning they're not soluble in water; therefore washing with plain water won't do much good for you.

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    I do sometimes use vinegar as well for row-eaten ones; after washing them I put a few drops of vinegar in a water full bowl and leave them in water a few minutes and then use/eat without washing them again. – MissesBrown Dec 18 '11 at 11:46

This might be very dependent on where you live and how 'good' the environment/pesticide guidelines are where you live.

Most fruits with a hard 'skin' won't let any pesticides leak through choose those when in doubt.


A lot of pesticides are applied while the fruits is in bloom meaning it becomes embedded, as far as I'm concerned. We only buy organic vegis and fruits for this reason now. My father had a huge orchard and he sprayed everything himself ... back in the day. Got emphysema from the spraying so I'm afraid of chemicals.

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