When eating or preparing fruit and vegetables, you should wash them beforehand to get rid of pesticides, bacterias, fertilizers, etc. However, I notice that I (and others I know), just put the thing for a few seconds under cold running water while rubbing it softly.

Is this quick rinse enough to remove those unwanted things or at least some of them? What big of a proportion are washed away by this?

I've found this question, but I'm not satisfied with it.

2 Answers 2


Pesticide reduction by simply rinsing with tap water is significant, but doesn't remove everything. Of those tested 75% were removed with plain tap water. http://www.ct.gov/caes/cwp/view.asp?a=2815&q=376676

You can quickly blanch your fruit or vegetables to sanitize the outer skin. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/blanching.html

A mild vinegar solution can help fruits and vegetables last longer in the fridge. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14540742


People generally wash fruit and vegetables to remove dirt. Most of the dangerous "dirt" is post cropping

The rain washes away pesticides and fertilizers. In many growing operations pesticides and fertilizers are not used after the crop has significantly sprouted anyway

The main hard to remove dirt from the growing cycle is bird crap, and I an not convinced this is a major health hazard anyway once it has been sun dried

Accumulated dirt from the distribution and sales process is the big unknown. If you buy fruit and vegetables from you local farmers market this may not be such a big issue. Big city auction and supermarket sold fruit and vegetables will have gone through many hands and shipping processes, and should be washed to removed unintentional contamination

If you are concerned; wash as you would hand wash dishes. Agitate and soak in warm water and a little dish soap, brush hard surfaced fruit and vegetables, and then rinse fully in running water

Do not use strong solvents as these may actually draw contaminants into the fruit and vegetables.e.g. Ethanol dissolves heavy metal oxides which will be absorb-able by the fruit and vegetable skin

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