Credit: © Satakorn / Fotolia

Credit: © Satakorn / Fotolia

American Chemical Society: The best way to wash pesticides from apples

The American Chemical Society (ACS) recently released a new study on the best way to wash pesticides from apples.

Apples produce a natural wax to protect their high water content. When apples are processed, they lose these natural waxes, so artificial waxes are sometimes added.

These waxes can be petroleum based and very toxic.

The best way to avoid the toxic wax is by shopping organic and at farmers markets where they actually grow the produce that they sell.

In addition to the added toxic wax, apples are often grown with pesticides. In fact, they are number four on EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list, which identifies the produce with the most pesticides.

According to the new ACS study, a common household produce — baking soda — may be the solution to getting rid of unwanted chemicals on apples.

Science Daily reported:

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. 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. Mapping images showed that thiabendazole had penetrated up to 80 micrometers deep into the apples; phosmet was detected at a depth of only 20 micrometers. Washing the produce with either plain tap water or the bleach solution for two minutes, per the industry standard, were far less effective.

Using baking soda to wash your apples is very simple! Here is our favorite procedure.

What you need: 

1 veggie brush
Baking soda
Lemon juice


• Fill your sink with 5 inches of lukewarm water
• Add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice & 1 tbsp. of baking soda
• Place your apples in the water
• Brush the outside of the apples with a veggie brush
• Then, watch and you will see the wax disappear and the water become cloudy

The study showing the best way to wash pesticides from apples was published in the Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only. 

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Homemade apple wax remover.
Dirty Dozen: Top 12 produce with the most pesticides.
Go organic: Kale in California contains illegal pesticides. 

1. “A Better Way to Wash Pesticides off Apples.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 25 Oct. 2017,

2. “Effectiveness of Commercial and Homemade Washing Agents in Removing Pesticide Residues on and in Apples.” Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 25 Oct. 2017,
3. “EWG’s 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.” EWG, Environmental Working Group, – .WfFNEkzMzGI.
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