To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat: Wash, Wash, Wash your veg, Wash them carefully

Unsplash: Bill Williams

Why the heck would I want to read a blog about washing my veggies?!

I know, right?! Why would I write a blog about washing veggies when there is so much going on in the world which is so much more important?!

Or is it?

From the Department of “How I Do One Thing Is How I Do Everything” come some thoughts on produce and produce washing.

Best: Let’s imagine our best case scenario first: fresh and local fruits and veggies grown with no pesticides, no herbicides—using regenerative methods which leave the soil healthier after harvest than before.

Pick those fruits and veggies and celebrate them with a rinse in clean water. Boom! Beautiful. Joyful.

Better: Next best is local and organic. Same response.

Good: Next would be conventional and local. Local is fresher. Fresher has more nutrients. Conventional means we potentially have pesticide residues to deal with, so this is where our washing tactics come in.

Our supplies?

As simple as we desire. Good, Better, Best is my motto for this post apparently!

Good is rubbing the apple on the sleeve or the pants’ leg. Friction will move residue out of the way of the wholesome goodness. Pesticides do penetrate into the actual fruit—through the skin—so if there is the option to buy apples and other thin-skinned produce without pesticides please do.

Environmental Working Group is a powerful organization which has listings of the types of produce which are most vulnerable to pesticide residues. Check out their Clean Fifteen/Dirty Dozen lists here.

Better: Rubbing the produce under running water will remove much of the pesticide residue as well as help with bacteria particles which may have attached themselves.

Best: Depending upon the type of produce we’re talking about here is the crème de la crème of “residue removal”:

Prepare a produce bath and soak the goodies in 1tsp baking soda per 2 cups of water.

The soda helps break down the pesticide. The water washes it away. Soaking for 15-20 minutes is advised.

Adding a skoosh of white vinegar can also be part of this primo treatment because it will take down the bacteria it comes into contact with.

The little kid in me likes this technique for the fizzing volcano potential of the vinegar

and baking soda.


The concentration recommended for the vinegar is 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water.


So, to recap, if you choose to buy conventionally-grown produce you can reduce your exposure to toxic pesticide residue and bacteria by soaking it—your apples, grapes, carrots and greens—for about 15 minutes in a wash of water mixed with baking soda and vinegar.

For 2 cups water: 1 tsp baking soda and ½ cup white vinegar. A good soak and then a nice cleansing rinse.

Word on the street is that the vinegar wash may also help the produce stay fresh longer. Be sure to thoroughly dry before storing the goodies if you want to try this out. Thanks to BR—you know who you are—for this tip!

My theory is that we’re killing off the bacteria which contribute to spoilage, so I’m trying it myself with some scallions—so far so good.

Let me know your experiences!

Bon appetite, y’all.

Resources: Baking soda plus water best for washing pesticides off apples | Reuters

Effectiveness of Commercial and Homemade Washing Agents in Removing Pesticide Residues on and in Apples - PubMed (

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