Science Says This Is the Best Way to Wash an Apple

Chances are you've been doing it all wrong.

Science Says This Is the Best Way to Wash an Apple

Even if your skill set is hopelessly low, one would imagine that washing an apple is a fairly basic task that everyone knows how to do, right?


On Wednesday, Lili He, a food scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, published a study that compared the best ways to remove the harmful pesticides present in American apples, using bleach, tap water, and baking soda. Most of us probably rinse an apple under the tap for a few minutes, or go old school and just rub it against our shirt, but the survey found that tap water was not enough to get rid of phosmet and thiabendazole, two moderately toxic pesticides that are often used on apples to protect them from insects and fungi.

The winner of the study was baking soda, which physically degrades the pesticides the fastest, making them easier to remove. Peeling the apple was the most effective way to get rid of the toxins, but doing that negates some of the nutritional benefits of eating the skin. It’s worth nothing that there is no way of 100% removing the pesticides, since thiabendazole actually penetrates the surface of the apple. Still, having succeeded at removing 80% of thiabendazole, and 95% of phosmet, baking soda is your best bet in avoiding these pesticides, which could be toxic to humans in high concentrations.

At home, He recommends washing apples by mixing roughly one tablespoon of baking soda with two cups of water to get the best results.

The study is somewhat limited in that it did not test out other popular cleaning solutions (such as vinegar), nor did it include other pesticides that are found in apples. But, as Halloween approaches, with all of its caramel apple and apple cider fun, it’s still a good thing to keep in mind!

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