Answered by ZLiving Expert: Beth Greer
Q: Does washing fruits and vegetables with water and vinegar really help remove pesticides?
A: First, I always advocate eating organic. The chemicals in pesticides are invisible, odorless and tasteless, so the only way to know for sure that there were no pesticides used is if you buy organic, but just because something looks OK, it may actually not be so healthy for you to eat.
For example, don’t be fooled by those juicy non-organic strawberries displayed in the market. They may look luscious, but they have a dark side. Their red color has been enhanced by a fungicide and they have been infused with methyl bromide, a gas that is injected by tractor into their growing soil. These substances then become part of fruits’ flesh, and can’t be washed off.
Washing fruits and vegetables with a vinegar rinse might leave a vinegar residue and is unnecessary. There have been studies done about the best way to remove pesticides. In one, scientists compared pesticide removal methods on 196 samples of lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes. Some were rinsed under tap water for a minute; others were treated with either a 1 percent solution of Palmolive or a fruit and vegetable wash. Tap water “significantly reduced” residues of 9 of 12 pesticides, and it worked as well as soap and wash products, the studies found. The full report can be found here.