Does Washing Remove Pesticide Residue?

blueheron(z6 PA)November 11, 2006

I make applesauce and always wash the apples with dishwashing liquid and a vegetable brush before cooking them. Will this remove any pesticide residue? I don't peel the apples, just quarter them, put them in a pot, add a little water and cook them until soft. I then put them through a food mill. I use golden delicious apples and they are sweet enough so that I don't have to add sugar or anything else. The applesauce is delicious.

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There's probably myths on both sides of the argument. The only people who truely know work at labs and can test these things.
Although I'll admit I don't use soap and water... I understand that it is the way to go. I believe plain water isn't incredibly efficient though. I know some pesticides (round up as an example) are formulated to to wash off with plain water- some sort of bonding agent.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 12:14AM
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Um, mountainman, Round Up is not to used in the manner you speak of, if it was the spray would kill the tree.
Some pesticides will wash off with soap and water while others will not. It depends on what it is, when it is applied, and, sometimes, hoe often it is applied. Some pesticide residue clings tightly to that fruits skin and some is even absorbed by the fruit. Some systemics, not often used in commercial orchards, will be in the fruit and no amount of washing will remove them. The best thing you can do is try to locate an organic orchard.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 7:02AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day blueheron,

any spray applications that would be used on apples (over here i believe there is quiet a number) is going to systemic so no amount of washing will remove the residues. and as i further understand it most applications are systemic.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 1:44PM
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Sorry I said "to to wash off" rather than "to NOT wash off".... Oops.

Of course RU isn't used as a foliar spray in orchards, I was only using it as an example of a pesticide that would NOT wash off with plain water.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 11:29PM
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blueheron(z6 PA)

So it looks like I should buy organic apples, then? Makes sense.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 2:15PM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

Yes, do buy organic apples; washing does not remove pesticides. Consumer Reports investigated organically grown foods in its February 2006 issue and concluded,

"Buy these items organic as often as possible:
Apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries."

This is the "dirty dozen" list of fruits and vegetables developed by researchers at the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Apples are ranked number two on the list, after peaches, the most pesticide-laden crop. The full up-to-date list of 43 fruits and vegetables (varies slightly from the Feb. 06 version) is at
where you can also download a pdf wallet guide of the most and least pesticide-laden produce.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 1:43AM
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It's important to remember that "organic" doesn't mean the crop was raised without pesticides. It just means that the pesticides used were from an approved list of non-synthetically derived pesticides and some synthetic ones, which includes such quite toxic materials such as copper sulfate, pyrethrum, lime sulfur etc. IMHO of much greater concern than parts per million traces of pesticides is contamination with particularly nasty strains of microbes. Throrough rinsing of fruits and vegetables is always a good idea.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 9:50PM
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