How to reduce pesticides from non-organic fruit and veggies - Little Étoile

How to reduce pesticides from non-organic fruit and veggies

If organic produce is simply not affordable, rest assured you can reduce a significant amount of pesticide residue by washing your veggies with bi-carb soda.

According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry (1)soaking produce for 12-15 minutes in a solution of 30g of baking soda and 3L of water was effective at reducing pesticide residue in non-organic produce. Salt and vinegar have also shown to be beneficial in reducing chemical residue, although vinegar may leave your produce tasting strange.

In the life of a busy mum, washing vegetables for 15 minutes may simply not be possible. Instead, here are some quick methods for washing produce.

For leafy greens

  • Fill a bowl with greens, then fill with water
  • Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and mix well
  • Soak your greens for a minute, swish, dump, then rinse, and pat leaves dry with a clean lint-free kitchen towel or paper towel
  • Storing leafy greens in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the fridge is the best way to keep them fresh

For mushrooms

  • Gently scrub mushrooms using a soft toothbrush
  • Rinse them quickly under running water
  • Blot the mushrooms dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel

For other veggies and smooth-skinned fruits

  • Fill a large bowl with water
  • Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Add the veggies then soak for a minute or two
  • Scrub with a brush (a new toothbrush works fine, or you could use a small cleaning brush)
  • Rinse off with plain water

For berries

  • Only wash berries right before you intend to eat them
  • Washing berries and then storing them increases microflora growth, resulting in moldy fruit often only a day after you purchase them


  1. Yang, T., et al., Effectiveness of Commercial and Homemade Washing Agents in Removing Pesticide Residues on and in Apples. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2017. 65(44): p. 9744-9752.