The Best Way to Remove Pesticides From Apples

You have all the natural ingredients to make an effective pesticide wash to make you apples less toxic. (Photo: Audrey_Kuzmin/Shutterstock)

If the only use you have for baking soda is to make baked goods rise, you're missing out. There are so many uses for baking soda in every room in the house. The latest revelation about this super inexpensive powerhouse is that it's effective in removing some of the pesticides from apple skins.

Soak apples in water and baking soda

baking soda, water
A little baking soda in water is an effective cleaning solution . (Photo: Geo-grafika/Shutterstock)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that apples sprayed with synthetic insecticides be washed for two minutes in a bleach solution. That gets rid of bacteria and dirt, but not pesticides. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, led by Lili He, Ph.D., set out to find out the best way to remove the residual pesticides in your home kitchen, according to Consumer Reports.

They treated organic Gala apples — which meant they hadn't been treated with synthetic pesticides — with two pesticides that are commonly used on non-organic apples. Then they submerged the treated apples three separate ways: in bleach and water, in baking soda and water, and in just water.

The baking soda and water combination was the most effective. After two minutes, the solution had washed away more of the pesticides than the other two washes.

A good, long soak

Researchers found it took a good 12 to 15 minute submersion in the baking soda and water combination — at a ratio of one teaspoon of baking soda to two cups of water — to completely get rid of the pesticides. After soaking, rinse under tap water to remove the taste of the baking soda.

They also recommend cleaning all of the apples as soon as you bring them home because the longer the pesticides sit on the apples, the deeper they will be absorbed. This method can help to minimize the pesticide on other produce, too. Produce that shouldn't be washed right before you eat it — like berries or mushrooms — can benefit from the baking soda and water solution, too, but they may not be able to handle a full 12 to 15 minutes of soaking.

Cranberries are another example of produce that benefits from the soak. Try this trick before you make your cranberry creation for the holidays. (Photo: bitt24/Shutterstock)