The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen list from The Environmental Working Group rate the most toxic and least toxic produce items when purchased conventional growing produce. The Dirty Dozen are the most pesticide laden and purchasing organic is the best choice for items on this list. Download EWG.org shopping guide for quick reference at the grocery store. In order to safely clean your fruits & veggies, we have 4 DIY fruit & veggie wash recipes to eat cleaner and reduce toxin exposure.
Ideally purchasing organic is the best option, but it’s not always the cheapest or even readily available and even then, you’ll still want to wash organic produce. Conventional produced is waxed and covered in pesticide and contaminates. Giving your produce a good scrub and rinse will break down the wax and help reduce pesticides and toxic exposure on the body.
Here’s a ranking of the worst to the best fruits and veggies with pesticide residue:
Apple, Strawberry, Grape, Celery , Peaches, Spinach, Sweet Bell Peppers, Nectarines – Imported, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Snap Peas, Potato, Hot Peppers, Blueberries, Lettuce, Kale/Collard Greens, Plum, Cherries, Nectarine – Domestic, Pear, Tangerine, Carrots, Blueberries, Green Beans, Winter Squash, Summer Squash, Raspberries, Broccoli, Snap Peas – Domestic, Green Onions, Oranges, Banana, Tomato, Watermelon, Honeydew Melon, Mushroom, Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Eggplant, Kiwi, Mango, Papaya, Asparagus, Onion, Sweet Peas – Frozen, Cabbage, Pineapple, Sweet Corn, Avocado
Why Wash Produce Thoroughly: Produce Journey, Pesticides and Waxes
Produce travels on average 1500 miles and can be touched by 30 hands before it reaches your home. Think about all the contaminates just in the checkout process and what has been on the check out belt, from cleaning products, meat contaminates etc.
To preserve produce, maintain moisture, produce is waxed. The wax traps in the pesticide residue, bacterial and pathogens. There are many types of waxes use to preserve fruits and veggies and even some organic produce is waxed. The World’s Healthiest Foods states the following about produce wax: “When purchasing non-organic fruits and vegetables, you should ask your grocer about the kind of wax used on their surface even if you are going to peel it; carnauba wax (from the carnauba palm tree), beeswax, and shellac (from the lac beetle) are preferable to petroleum-based waxes, which contain solvent residues or wood rosins. Yet, it is not just the wax itself that may be of concern but the other compounds often added to it – ethyl alcohol or ethanol for consistency, milk casein (a protein linked to milk allergy) as a film former or soap as a flowing agent.”
Organic fruits and veggies can also be waxed under natural wax standards. Most common waxed organics include, eggplant, cucumber, apples, lemon, lime, orange and bell peppers.
4 DIY Fruit and Veggie Washes
Supplies needed: Spray bottle, lemon, vinegar or salt, baking soda, grapefruit seed extract and marker to label spray bottle.
White Vinegar Wash
White vinegar is inexpensive and making a wash is simple. The acidic nature of vinegar will break down the wax and kill bacteria.
1 part vinegar to the spray bottle.
3 parts purified water to spray bottle.
Spray the fruit and veggies and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Scrub with a produce brush to remove residue and wax.
1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Organic Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
1 Cup of Water
Add to spray bottle and shake well to mix
Essential Oil Lemon Wash
3-4 Drops of Lemon Essential Oils (Use a high quality grade, from doTerra, Forever Green or Young Living) Grocery store essential oils typically have fillers.
Add produce to a bowl with water, add the Lemon essential oil. Allow to stand for 15 minutes in the water.
Grapefruit Seed Extract Wash
20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract
1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda
1 Cup of Vinegar
1 Cup of water
Remember, vinegar and baking soda foam, go slow when combining.