Many people are going organic these days, but it can be hard to afford an all-organic lifestyle when it comes to buying fruits and vegetables.  Additionally, the organic selection at traditional grocery stores can be limited, especially at certain times of the year, so you are forced to buy non-organic produce.  Either way, it is helpful to be able to remove some of the pesticides that coat the outsides of non-organic produce!

To learn more tips for going organic, and why you should consider it, check out Why You Need To Be Part Of The Organic Revolution!  We also love the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists that help point you in the right direction for the best foods to always buy organic.  There is even a handy iPhone app that you can pull up while searching the produce aisles!

Read on for our three favorite natural ways to remove pesticides from fruits & vegetables!

DIY Produce Wash

Did you know that removing pesticides can be as simple as vinegar and water?  That’s right, just two ingredients to healthier & cleaner food!

Fill up a large bowl or your kitchen sink (pre-cleaned, of course!) with 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water.  Let your fruits/vegetables soak in this mixture for up to an hour (non-organic apples can soak for an additional 30 minutes to an hour).  Remove the produce from the mixture, give them another quick rinse with water, and they are ready to eat!

Take a peek at the leftover “soaking water” after this process – you should be able to see all of the gunk that came off the produce!  This mixture also helps to extend the life of your fruits and vegetables so that they last longer without spoiling.

DIY Produce Spray

This pesticide-removing natural spray is super simple to make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen!

1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 cup water

Mix these ingredients until the baking soda has dissolved, and pour into a clean spray bottle.  Spritz the mixture onto your fruits and vegetables, and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Rinse the mixture off, and enjoy your produce!

Store-Bought Produce Wash Options

There are many commercial produce wash products available.  Be sure to read the ingredient labels and avoid washes that contain harsh chemicals as it defeats the purpose of removing the pesticides in the first place.  Some of our favorites are:

Environne Fruit & Vegetable Wash

Biokleen Produce Wash

Citrus Magic Veggie Wash

Interested in learning more tips for green & healthy living?  Check out our GREEN section!

Photo credit: Cookies For Breakfast


  1. This was very helpful. Now I can buy certain non-organic fruits without worrying about the pesticides my kids might ingest. Thank you!

  2. Since we cannot afford to buy all organic food, I am interested in the science basis behind the ingredients you mention, that clean the food. Please could you cite your sources for this? ie how do vinegar and baking soda remove or neutralize the pesticides so easily or thoroughly?

  3. It does not make sense to mix lemon juice with soda. The one is an acid and the other an alkali. They will simply neutralize each other. The active ingredient in lemon juice that may contribute to remove pesticides is limonene. Unfortunately it occurs in very low concentrations in lemon juice (it occurs in the oil that is mainly in the lemon skin).

    Either vinegar (4 parts water to one part vinegar) or baking soda will work (but never together!).

    To make either of the vinegar or baking soda work far more effective, a few drops of lemon essential oil extract (high in limonene!) can be added.

    The vinegar and soda above work on the principle of weakening the hydrophilic forces that make the pesticides cling to the fruit skin. In the case of apple (and some other fruits that receive a wax coating before reaching the shop shelf), the pesticides gets trapped by the wax and is very difficult to remove. The limonene is very effective for this, as it is a ‘cyclic terpene’ compound. It dissolves the wax coating so that the vinegar or soda can reach the pesticides to remove it.


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