Do you know the best way to clean your produce? Find out how to wash vegetables and fruit to remove pesticides and other harmful substances.

When you hear the phrase “clean eating,” you probably think of a diet based on eating whole foods. But have you ever thought about how clean those foods are?


It turns out, they’re not very clean!


Everything from dirt, to pesticides and even bacteria may be hiding in the produce aisle.


Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure they won’t end up on your plate or make you sick.



Washing your fruits and vegetables may seem like common sense. In fact, it’s probably something you already do by default. But just in case you’re thinking “What’s the harm in eating this apple without washing it?” Let me explain…


According to the FDA, “nearly 48 million people are sickened by food contaminated with harmful germs each year.” From the growing process to delivering it to the grocery store, fresh produce can be contaminated in many ways. This includes bacteria and foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria, which can cause serious health issues.


Remember the romaine lettuce recall of 2018? More than 210 illnesses and 5 deaths were a result of animal waste seeping into the farm’s irrigation system. Yuck.


Most of the bacteria is in the soil attached to the produce. So washing your fruits and veggies not only helps remove dirt, but it also keeps you from getting sick.


Another contaminant you may be ingesting if you don’t wash your fruits and vegetables: pesticides. Unlike dirt, you can’t see pesticide residue on your foods, which means some people may be unaware of what’s going into their body.


While there are a variety of pesticides used, the most widely used around the world is glyphosate. Produced by Monsanto (who was bought by Bayer in 2019), glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, an herbicide that kills weeds on crops and plants.


Just how dangerous is this herbicide? In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a possible carcinogen. Studies have found those exposed to glyphosate increase their risk of cancer risk by 41%! And research led by the University of Washington concluded that glyphosate significantly increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.


Even if glyphosate wasn’t used on the produce you bought, there’s a really good chance other pesticides were. And exposing yourself to these chemicals can be harmful to your health. Multiple studies have linked pesticide exposure to asthma, cancer, diabetes and even neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and ALS.

When it comes to pesticides, children and pregnant women are most vulnerable. Luckily, there are ways you can reduce your exposure, as well as your family’s exposure, to pesticides — including glyphosate!


One of the best ways to reduce your exposure to pesticides is to buy organic.


By definition, organic foods are grown without GMOs and without synthetic pesticides or herbicides. (Your Super products are USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO verified and Glyphosate-Free. Click here to learn more about our transparent supply chain.)


If organic isn’t an option for you, don’t worry! This is why we turn to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.


Every year the Environmental Working Group analyzes the Pesticide Data report released by the U.S. government to create the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.


The Dirty Dozen are the twelve fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue. If you can, buy these organic.


The Dirty Dozen


  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

Unlike the Dirty Dozen, the Clean Fifteen are the fruits and veggies with the least amount of pesticide residue.


The Clean 15


  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Sweet peas
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbage
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew


So what’s the best way to wash your vegetables and fruit?


Simply running produce under water for 30 seconds is fairly effective when it comes to removing pesticides and dirt. An even better and cost-effective way is soaking fruits and vegetables for 20 minutes in a saltwater solution. However, research has found the best way is with baking soda.

In a 2017 study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” researchers compared the effectiveness of water, a baking soda solution and a Clorox bleach solution on an apple. The result? Soaking apples for 12-15 minutes in the baking soda solution was most effective at removing pesticides both on the surface and beneath the skin.


If you’re able to give your fruits and veggies a bath for 15 minutes, go for it! But if you don't have a lot of time on your hands, don’t worry! Using the baking soda method can still be effective — or just rinse thoroughly rinse under tap water for 30 seconds.

Before washing your produce, wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. This ensures you aren’t passing any germs or bacteria onto the produce.


Leafy Greens:


  1. Add the greens, water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a large bowl.
  2. Soak for 1 minute.
  3. Drain in a strainer, then rise.
  4. Gently pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Veggies and (most) fruits:


  1. Add the veggies, water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a large bowl.
  2. Soak for 1 minute.
  3. Scrub with a veggie brush.
  4. Rinse.



  1. Scrub with a veggie brush.
  2. Rinse quickly under cool water.
  3. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.



  1. Before eating, rinse under cool water in a mesh strainer.
  2. Gently pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.



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