EWG’s 2021 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists

Published: April 15, 2021
Updated: May 4, 2022

Two open hands holding fresh strawberries

Nearly 70% of fresh, non-organic produce sold in the United States contains residues of pesticides…

That’s the main takeaway from the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2021 analysis of pesticides in produce. 

And it could have implications for your bone health.

That’s because pesticides can be pro-oxidant, which means they produce free radicals in your body. And free radicals can trigger low-grade, chronic inflammation –– an underlying cause of bone loss! 

That’s why we recommend buying organic produce when possible –– because the crops are grown using far fewer synthetic pesticides.

But we totally understand that organic options aren’t always available. Plus, they tend to be more expensive.

That’s where the “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” lists come in! They’ll make it easier for you to decide which conventionally grown foods are less likely to contain high levels of pesticides, and which are worth spending a little extra on to go organic.

The 2021 Dirty Dozen

The following 12 fruits and veggies ranked the worst in this year’s analysis.

2021 dirty dozen list infographic

The Dirty Dozen List at a Glance:

  • This year’s dirty dozen is very similar to last year’s. The only new addition to the list is bell & hot peppers, which bump potatoes off the list.
  • Over 90% of strawberry, apple, cherry, spinach, nectarines, and leafy green samples tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • Multiple samples of kale, collard, and mustard greens contained as many as 20 different pesticide residues.

The 2021 Clean Fifteen

The following 15 fruits and veggies contained the least amount and lowest concentration of pesticide residues.

2021 clean 15 list infographic

The Clean Fifteen List at a Glance:

  • The cleanest of all, for the fourth year in a row, is the healthy, fat-rich avocado! Fewer than 2% of avocado samples contained any detectable pesticide residues.
  • The rest of the Clean Fifteen list is largely the same as last year. The fruits and veggies on the list are the same, there were just a few position changes in the middle of the pack.

Want these lists for yourself?

Download the PDF here, print it out, and take it grocery shopping! 

Or if you’d rather have a pictureless version, click here for the picture-free PDF. (I like to stick my list to my kitchen cupboard as a reminder.)

How Are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Ranked?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test thousands of samples of produce sold in America. And the EWG analyzes the samples to determine which produce has the most pesticide residues (the Dirty Dozen) and which has the least pesticide residues (the Clean Fifteen.)

Then the EWG uses their findings to form the “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce.”

To compare pesticide contamination on each food, the EWG uses the following six measures:

  • The percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides.
  • The total number of pesticides found on the crop.
  • The percent of samples with two or more detectable pesticides.
  • The average number of pesticides found on a single sample.
  • The average amount of pesticides found, measured in parts per million.
  • The maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample.

If you’d like to delve a little further into clean and dirty produce, the EWG publishes a full version of their produce guide. It contains all 46 fruits and veggies involved in the pesticide tests. Check it out to see how produce like lettuce and bananas stack up against the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen.

Does Organic Produce Contain Pesticides?

You might think that if produce is labeled as organic, it’s grown completely free of pesticides. But that isn’t quite the case.

The USDA states that “produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest.”

Now, “prohibited substances” includes most synthetic pesticides. So it’s safe to say that organic produce will have far fewer potentially harmful synthetic pesticides compared to conventionally grown produce on average.

But it’s worth noting that organic growers can use certain synthetic substances on their crops. These are often exceptions to the general rule when there are no natural alternatives. You can see the full list of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production here.

The main takeaway here? No matter if your fruit and veggies are conventionally grown or organic, you should wash them thoroughly! Keep reading to discover the most effective way…

How to Wash Your Fruits and Veggies

The produce in the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists was peeled and rinsed in cold water before testing to mimic how people would prepare food for themselves at home. 

This shows that washing your produce doesn’t remove all pesticides. But the EWG states that unwashed produce will contain more pesticides than washed produce.

So, it’s important to wash your produce! While the Clean Fifteen boasts less pesticide residue than the Dirty Dozen list, you still need to wash your produce to ensure you’re consuming the least possible amount of dirt, dust, and pesticide residue.

But what’s the most effective way to wash your fruits and veggies? Here are a few tips from the FDA to help you out…

Don’t:

  • Wash fruit and veggies with soap or detergent
  • Use an abrasive brush on delicately skinned fruit

Do:

  1. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after preparing fruit and veggies.
  2. Rinse your produce under running water before you peel or cut it, to prevent any bacteria transfer from the knife to the produce.
  3. Soak produce with ridges and crevices (like broccoli and cauliflower) for a few minutes longer.
  4. For produce with thick skin, use a gentle vegetable brush to help lift away additional pesticides and microbes.
  5. Dry your fruit and veggies when you’ve finished washing!

You may be thinking that commercial produce washes are missing from our Do list. But studies have shown that cold, distilled tap water is just as effective, if not more so, than costly veggie rinses.

Researchers at the University of Maine tested the following three commercial wash treatments:

  • J0-4 Multi-Functional Food Sterilizer
  • Fit®
  • Ozone Water Purifier XT-301

All three products were tested according to package directions. The researchers tested them on low-bush blueberries.

As well as the three commercial washes, a water wash was also tested. The blueberries were put in distilled water for one to two minutes.

Here are the results:

  • Fit® wash was able to get rid of the same amount of microbes as distilled water. Both reduced the level of pesticide residue compared to unwashed samples.
  • The J0-4 Multi-Functional Food Sterilizer and The Ozone Water Purifier XT-301 removed microbes from the blueberries. But the distilled water was more effective than both of the ozone washes.

Simple water for the win!

But why distilled water? Distilled water has been purified and filtered to remove contaminants. If you don’t have distilled water available, you can use cold tap water instead.

I hope you found this post useful 🙂 Let me know what surprised you most in the comments section below!

Article Comments

Add New Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Barb Stefl

    March 18, 2017 , 11:44 am

    A small 2017 “dirty/clean” list on 1 page or less (no pictures) would be appreciated, as it could easily be posted on a kitchen cupboard inside door. Thanks

  2. Monica

    March 20, 2017 , 2:05 pm

    Thanks for the feedback, Barb!

    Much appreciated,

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  3. nathan fama

    March 18, 2017 , 3:08 pm

    good info……thanks!

    I scrubbed apples in soapy water, but will do the distilled water for all from now on. Makes sense since distilled water is known to absorb/assimilate toxins and good for many purposes.

  4. Monica

    March 20, 2017 , 2:07 pm

    Hi Nathan,
    Thanks for taking the time to comment! Yeah, I used to use a bit of vinegar (cut with water) but found it still left a bit of a taste, which I didn’t love.
    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  5. Penny

    March 22, 2017 , 11:04 am

    You’re recommending distilled water, what about reverse osmosis (RO) water?

    Would also appreciate a downloadable list option.

  6. Monica

    March 23, 2017 , 9:09 am

    Hi Penny,
    I believe reverse osmosis water would do the trick as well, although I’m not too familiar with it.
    There is a downloadable PDF list in the post already – but you can also download it here: https://blog.algaecal.com/wp-content/uploads/Dirty-Dozen-Clean-Fifteen.pdf?_ga=1.169021926.677986803.1422920958
    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  7. Ellen

    March 24, 2017 , 7:48 am

    Can you send out a one page list without pictures for easy posting on refrig or tucking in wallet?

  8. Monica

    March 27, 2017 , 9:21 am

    Hi Ellen,
    Absolutely – I have created a picture-less version here: https://blog.algaecal.com/wp-content/uploads/EWGs2017.pdf

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  9. Wanda

    June 18, 2017 , 5:53 pm

    On their product’s package, Arm & Hammer suggests to use their baking soda as a cleaner for fruits & vegetables, either by manually washing or by soaking. It claims it removes debris & wax. Is this a safe solution? Afterall, baking soda is ingestible.

  10. Monica

    June 20, 2017 , 8:40 am

    Hi Wanda,
    I’ve heard of using baking soda to wash fruits and veggies, although I haven’t done it myself. If it’s recommended as a use of Arm & Hammer, then it should be safe.
    – Monica

  11. Joyce Schulte

    January 15, 2018 , 11:17 am

    I use your materials for my Health Psychology class at college.

  12. Shawn

    April 14, 2018 , 7:10 am

    Monica – can you make a pictureless version of the 2018 list (like the 2017 list you made). Thank you! I’d love it emailed to me.

  13. Monica AlgaeCal

    April 17, 2018 , 9:00 am

    Hi Shawn,

    Absolutely! Here is the link to download a pictureless version: https://blog.algaecal.com/wp-content/uploads/Dirty-Dozen-Clean-Fifteen-2018-text.pdf

    I’ll also send you an email as well 🙂

    – Monica

  14. Dagmar

    April 14, 2018 , 8:11 am

    Sending many thanks to all of you at algaecal and all of you who are adding to the conversation! I always find the info here very valuable…♥️

  15. Monica AlgaeCal

    April 15, 2018 , 12:41 am

    Thank you, Dagmar! Glad you’re finding the info valuable 🙂

    – Monica

  16. doris v wilson

    April 14, 2018 , 12:32 pm

    do you still need to wash apples if you peel them and any other peelable fruit?

  17. Monica AlgaeCal

    April 15, 2018 , 12:59 am

    That’s a great question, Doris. I searched EWG to try and find an answer and unfortunately came up short – I couldn’t find anything definitive for you.

    Personally, I still wash everything with a ‘thinner’ peel like kiwis and apples even if they are eventually going to be peeled because pesticides and residue may get transferred to the inside when peeled. But bananas and avocados I don’t. This isn’t the science-backed answer you were looking for, but I hope it helps in any case. I’ll follow up with a reply if I ever do come across this information though!

    – Monica

  18. Tuti Budiman

    April 14, 2018 , 3:35 pm

    Usually I soak my fruits and veggies in water with added baking soda for few minutes. Then rainse themnwith clean drinking water. What do you think?

  19. Monica AlgaeCal

    April 15, 2018 , 12:40 am

    Hi Tuti,

    I’ve used baking soda and water before myself. I think it’s a good, natural alternative for sure!

    – Monica

  20. Jan Richard

    March 31, 2019 , 6:05 am

    Foodrevolution.org tested salt, vinegar and baking soda . Baking soda removed the most pesticides. I buy it in bulk, very cheap.

  21. Beth

    April 14, 2018 , 5:15 pm

    I find it rather incredible that soaking in distilled water alone would remove pesticides. Are pesticides removed from produce when it rains? I clean my produce with a mixture of water, vinegar, grapefruit seed extract with baking soda added to the moistened produce (I learned on the Oprah show years ago). Thank you for this article.

  22. Monica AlgaeCal

    April 15, 2018 , 12:38 am

    Hi Beth,

    That mixture sounds really great, I’ll have to try it! Right now I am using a produce brush in addition to distilled water when I’m washing my produce and am liking it.

    – Monica

  23. Deb

    June 29, 2019 , 4:53 am

    Hi Beth. Will you please give more info on the amount of each item you use. Thank you.

  24. Carol

    October 26, 2019 , 9:36 am

    Baking soda cancels out the vinegar when used together so the mixture won’t work.

  25. Stacy

    April 14, 2018 , 7:30 pm

    Distilled water works great because it is acidic and has no after taste like vinegar.

  26. Monica AlgaeCal

    April 15, 2018 , 12:43 am

    Hi Stacy,

    Agreed! I always found my produce had a vinegar aftertaste with the natural washes that use vinegar. It wasn’t until I switched to distilled water and a gentle produce brush that I found, personally my favorite way, to wash my produce.

    – Monica

  27. Clara

    April 14, 2018 , 8:12 pm

    I’m still trying to understand why no soap if it’s a natural soap without all the chemicals, like Bronner’s.

  28. Monica AlgaeCal

    April 15, 2018 , 12:45 am

    Hi Clara,

    If you still prefer to use a natural soap to wash your produce, please continue to do so! This is just one study comparing the effects of commercial produce washes and water. It did find that distilled water was just as, if not more effective, but that doesn’t mean you have to use distilled water. We are just providing you with some information so you can make an informed decision.

    – Monica

  29. Janet Johnson

    June 5, 2018 , 9:52 pm

    I greatly appreciate this information and the handy printables. My brain doesn’t hold onto things like it used to, and this is going on my fridge! We can’t afford organic much of the time. I sadly just quit eating strawberries. But fortunately organic apples are doable. If you have an Aldi, they are always a good price there.

  30. Roberta

    June 9, 2018 , 12:28 pm

    Thanks for all.the great info and all very usable and doable!! Please add me to any lists you send your messages on. Thanks again

  31. Sherry Rasmussen

    August 19, 2018 , 11:29 am

    Thanks for the valuable information. So I am wondering though what about fruits and vegetables that you get from a stand like Untiedt–there fruits and vegetables are so good but am wondering if they would have pesticides also. Thanks for the info.

  32. Jenna AlgaeCal

    August 20, 2018 , 3:57 pm

    Good question, Sherry.

    In that case, it’s best to speak with the stand attendant to determine the farms growing practices – as they may or may not use pesticides! And always be sure to wash your fruits and veggies using the guidelines above 🙂

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  33. Leah Corcoran

    August 24, 2018 , 8:19 am

    Thank you for sharing this valuable info! I have the lists posted for our patients in the office that I work in. As a nurse, one thing that came to mind as I read the article is that it would be important to remind people to thoroughly clean and rinse their kitchen sinks before filling them and and soaking produce, as sinks are generally one of the dirtiest, most bacteria-laden places in our homes. This is especially true if you’re soaking produce that will be eaten raw. Had to throw my two cents in!

  34. Jenna AlgaeCal

    August 28, 2018 , 2:30 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it, Leah. And that’s an excellent point! Thanks for taking the time to share 🙂

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  35. Susanne Lee

    September 11, 2018 , 11:05 am

    Hydrogen peroxide in a bowl of tap water is AWESOME for a fruit/veggie soak, too!

  36. lori

    September 25, 2018 , 4:13 pm

    The article says to use distilled water. Will tap water also work or is the ph too high?

  37. Jenna AlgaeCal

    September 26, 2018 , 9:56 am

    Hi Lori,

    Yes it will! If you don’t have distilled water, you can use very clean, cold tap water instead.

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  38. Nina Purcell

    November 7, 2018 , 4:59 am

    Is it okay to eat apples, for instance, if you take off the skin?

  39. Jenna AlgaeCal

    November 12, 2018 , 3:25 pm

    Hi Nina,

    Apples have consistently topped the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list and contain an average of 4.4 pesticide residues. So while removing the skin will eliminate some pesticides, it may not effectively remove them all (some pesticides can penetrate the skin of the fruit).

    To be safe, it’s best to purchase organic apples whenever possible!

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  40. Julia Holland

    September 8, 2019 , 1:28 pm

    Are the organic berries & apples pesticide free? I thought it said they tested them also.

  41. Megan AlgaeCal

    September 11, 2019 , 7:51 am

    Good question, Julia!

    Organic produce may still contain pesticides, but natural pesticides rather than synthetic ones. 🙂 Hope this helps!

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  42. Kris Charbs

    June 23, 2019 , 9:11 pm

    The skin of the apple is where a ton of the nutrition is, so removing the skin is really not the best idea. You’ll find this to be true with lots of fruits and vegetables. Think of all the skins you already eat! I scrub carrots but don’t peel them. The white part of an orange (the pith) has more vitamin C than the actual orange does, so eat up! The green leaves on a strawberry are similar to eating any greens. So if you’re making a smoothie, leave the leaves!

  43. Sunny Drohan

    January 17, 2019 , 1:06 pm

    Just last week, I heard that now they want you to wash the outside skins of avocados.

  44. STYLIANOS GEORGAKAKIS

    January 20, 2019 , 2:07 am

    Hi Monica,
    Excellent information.
    Thank you,

    stelioscdn
    Toronto, Canada

  45. Jim Presant

    February 6, 2019 , 6:28 am

    Thanks. But I would want much better data on AMOUNT of pesticide removal by alternate washing methods. Farmers don’t want expensive pesticides to wash away in rain, so they’re oil-based rather than water-based. A few drops of dish detergent (like Dawn) plus rinsing, in ten seconds will remove MUCH pesticide, whereas just cold water will remove ALMOST NONE!

  46. Joani

    April 8, 2019 , 6:40 pm

    Dawn is toxic! I don’t even use it to wash dishes! I use vinegar and water. I soak fruit or veggies for a few minutes. The dirt in the bottom of the bowl is shocking, but my grapes sure are squeaky clean!

  47. Bill Mengers

    April 11, 2020 , 11:16 pm

    I agree with Jim above about test data from different cleaning methods, including test data on any residue left after using dish soap, which I have always wondered about, but generally thought did not leave a residue if rinsed well, especially with hot water. I know it says above not to use soap and water, but it doesn’t mention test data. If pesticides are mixed with oils (?), Soap works well in dissolving grease and oil.

  48. Audrwy

    February 9, 2019 , 5:50 am

    This is excellent information. Thank you! So how do you pre wash raspberries and leafy greens without them getting mushy in the fridge? And do you store them in containers?

  49. Jenna AlgaeCal

    February 12, 2019 , 3:01 pm

    Oh good question, Audrwy! I find it helps to pat dry soft fruits and leafy greens then store them in a container lined with paper towel (with berries I reuse the original container).

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  50. [email protected]

    January 8, 2020 , 8:32 am

    When I buy (organic) boxed salad mix I always shake the container every time I pull out the greens. When the greens are smashed together in the box they are wet and deteriorate faster. I find that by shaking the box the greens pull away from each, and they keep longer.

  51. Blaire AlgaeCal

    January 8, 2020 , 8:59 am

    Awesome tip, Heather! 🙂

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  52. Rita

    March 4, 2019 , 12:18 am

    Thanks for all the information I personally use clean tap water and soak all my fruit and veggies in diluted vinegar for at least 10 minutes

  53. Resurreccion Alolod

    March 4, 2019 , 5:20 pm

    Thanks for the info. I always wash my fruits and veggies with water & vinegar. Even in some of the ready to be eaten pack pre-cut veggies, I still wash them to be sure. You can tell the difference if it is organic or non-organic fruit if you always eat it. The info is very helpful.

  54. Lou

    March 31, 2019 , 4:36 pm

    The vinegar mixture sounds like it would clean better than water. However, what would kill the OTHER gross things on the veggies–for instance, human waste? I clean my veggies with soap and water because I am afraid of these other germs. Does the vinegar kill these germs, too?

  55. Sissybugs

    April 13, 2019 , 7:48 pm

    Yes, the acid in the vinegar basically kills anything bad. I do a clean rinse after.

  56. Sandra

    April 1, 2019 , 5:48 am

    I like to do this as well!

  57. Laura

    April 2, 2019 , 7:50 am

    This is good info! And who knew it was such a hot topic? 🙂 I’m glad to know I don’t have to spend money on useless cleaning products. I have used vinegar in the water myself and done a rinse after. The baking soda sounds like an interesting one to try. The point is using science to break down the pesticide residue chemically so it is removed. (Man speak) Distilled water, or just water at a cold temperature, has the right state to break down the residue. Throwing gas on it won’t work.

  58. Janet

    May 5, 2019 , 9:02 am

    I’ve never done anything more than a quick rinse under running water, after buying organic, unless it’s from our garden and has aphids, then it gets soaked in salted water. Sometimes I pack greens in plastic bags or clamshells lined with paper towels, but I hear paper towels aren’t the healthiest thing to be nestled next to our produce either. We do our best and then we pray over our food and leave the rest to God.

  59. Maria

    June 2, 2019 , 10:05 am

    One thing to be aware of is that baking soda (Arm & Hammer seems to be the most popular) contains ALUMINUM! In order to avoid this toxin, you would have to purchase baking soda in a Health Food Store where they sell brands that do not add aluminum. Of course this is more expensive but our health is definitely worth it!

  60. Jenna AlgaeCal

    June 4, 2019 , 11:18 am

    Great tip! Thanks for sharing, Maria.

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  61. Diane

    June 30, 2019 , 3:22 pm

    I buy Bob’s red mill aluminum free baking soda online so no special trip needed. Not too expensive. Arm and Hammer is best used for cleaning IMO.

  62. Kathleen

    September 7, 2019 , 4:15 pm

    Baking soda does NOT contain aluminum. It is 100% sodium bicarbonate. Check your facts.
    https://bambuearth.com/blogs/news/baking-soda-contains-aluminum-myth

  63. Megan AlgaeCal

    September 10, 2019 , 3:41 pm

    Hi Kathleen, thank you for clarifying!

    It turns out it’s baking powder that may contain aluminum, not baking soda! 🙂

    -Megan @ AlgaeCAl

  64. D hollander

    October 12, 2019 , 1:07 pm

    Combine two part baking soda and one part cream of tartar to make your own baking powder.

  65. Blaire AlgaeCal

    October 12, 2019 , 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the tip, D! ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  66. TL

    December 18, 2019 , 11:03 pm

    What about vinegar water – i personally use 1/2 vinegar 1/2 filtered water & a drop of lemon grass essential oil – any thoughts or research on that???

  67. Blaire AlgaeCal

    December 19, 2019 , 10:12 am

    Good question, TL! Some people find vinegar leaves a bit of an aftertaste, but if this hasn’t been an issue for you, then feel free to carry on – it is undoubtedly an effective way to wash your produce ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  68. Kim Bewick

    January 7, 2020 , 7:55 pm

    Arm & Hammer baking soda DOES NOT contain aluminum. It is 100% sodium bicarbonate.

  69. Janet

    July 11, 2019 , 12:50 pm

    Where do we get the distilled water to wash the fruit? Do you want us to buy plastic containers of distilled water?

  70. Blaire AlgaeCal

    July 12, 2019 , 11:57 am

    Hi Janet,

    Good question! You can actually make distilled water at home if you prefer – find out how here. It can also be bought at stores ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  71. Carole

    September 12, 2019 , 4:43 pm

    I buy distilled water at my local pharmacy.

  72. Megan AlgaeCal

    September 13, 2019 , 11:31 am

    Great idea, Carole!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share ❤️

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  73. Janie Minten

    May 16, 2020 , 7:59 pm

    I agree. Distilled water is expensive. We buy it to use in our coffee maker and in my CPAP machine!

  74. Marie

    September 10, 2019 , 6:10 am

    I keep a basin just to wash my fruit & vegetables. To the clean cold water I add two or three drops of lugul’s iodine & soak my produce for about ten minutes. Iodine kills bacteria & is needed for a healthy thyroid.

  75. Megan AlgaeCal

    September 11, 2019 , 8:03 am

    Great tip, Marie!

    Thanks for taking the time to share ?

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  76. Angie O’Dell

    February 19, 2020 , 8:01 am

    Yes so glad you mentioned Iodine!

  77. Angelina Gonzales

    September 10, 2019 , 10:02 am

    I love all the information I read on here. I use vinegar and cold tap water or filtered water and soaked the veggies and fruits. Does it matter how long you soaked it? I don’t mind the taste, we used vinegar with crushed garlic, hotpepper and salt. Thank you

  78. Megan AlgaeCal

    September 11, 2019 , 8:05 am

    Hi Angelina, so glad you enjoy the information!

    It seems like 10-15 minutes of soaking does the trick! Your mix sounds delicious by the way 😀

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  79. Mildred djordjevich

    September 11, 2019 , 7:26 pm

    We grow our own produce so we don’t ingest any pesticides,herbicides or artificial manures.

  80. Megan AlgaeCal

    September 13, 2019 , 11:28 am

    Amazing, Mildred!!

    Thanks for sharing and we hope you keep up the awesome work! ?

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  81. Neila Dalzell

    November 6, 2019 , 5:29 am

    A garden of your own is a great option. Growing up there was always a garden and canning for the winter. I live in a condo now with no ground space. Community gardens are not available where I live. Do I have any options?

  82. Blaire AlgaeCal

    November 6, 2019 , 3:38 pm

    Hi Neila,

    That’s a good question. Believe it or not, there are ways to grow a small garden inside your condo! You might find this link helpful.

    Happy gardening! 🙂

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  83. R Mac

    February 13, 2020 , 10:35 am

    You can try bag gardening, especially if you have a patio or balcony. I’ve used recyclable bags bought from grocers, & had g’luck with tomato and potatoes I also use vinegar sprays and/or rubbing alcohol as pesticides You can google any of that to see if any are good for you G’luck! Have fun and enjoy your fruits!

  84. Chris

    October 23, 2019 , 4:23 pm

    My eyes have opened. The only veggies I wash are lettuce and spinach. I will be washing with distilled water from now on. Thank you so much for all this great info.
    Chris

  85. Blaire AlgaeCal

    October 25, 2019 , 11:46 am

    So glad you found this information useful, Chris! ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  86. Susan Andresen

    July 11, 2021 , 10:20 am

    Is iit safe to eat boxed organic spring mix and spinach without rinsing or cleaning the produce? If not how would you clean boxed organic fresh spinach?

  87. Megan AlgaeCal

    July 13, 2021 , 8:34 am

    Hi Susan!

    While these often come pre-washed, some individuals choose to give these a rinse again before eating. This is up to your personal preference. If you do want to give these another rinse, you can do so in a colander and dry them off with towels or a salad spinner.

    Hope this helps!

    – Megan @ AlgaeCal

  88. Nadine

    November 13, 2019 , 2:45 am

    If it is organic, wont washing remove the surface probiotics?

  89. Blaire AlgaeCal

    November 13, 2019 , 11:47 am

    Hi Nadine,

    Great question! Not to worry, washing your fruits/veggies won’t remove all of the good bacteria – and it will make them safer for you to eat ?

    – Blaire

  90. [email protected]

    January 8, 2020 , 8:23 am

    I wash my fruits and veggies by soaking with in mild vinegar water. I’ve found that they keep longer. Thoughts?

  91. [email protected]

    January 8, 2020 , 8:33 am

    never mind…found my answer in discussions below

  92. Blaire AlgaeCal

    January 8, 2020 , 8:58 am

    Happy to hear, Heather! Feel free to reach out should you have any other questions.

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  93. Patty Critchlow

    April 12, 2020 , 4:24 am

    For cleaning fruits and vegetables in a big bowl of tap water, how much vinegar do you use?

  94. Blaire AlgaeCal

    April 13, 2020 , 1:47 pm

    Hi Patty,

    That’s a great question! It’s recommended to use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water ?

    Let us know if you have further questions!

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  95. Nellie

    April 30, 2020 , 2:27 am

    I use distilled water from Waterwise 4000. I mix 3 parts distilled water to 1 part white vinegar. Wash and dry. Leaves no taste. Leave in water about 5 minutes.
    Something that packages I spray outside of package with 1/4 teaspoon Clorox to quart of distilled water. Use on cutting boards.

    I use no tap water in my area for cooking or drinking for 35 years.
    Special shower head filters.

  96. Deni

    May 20, 2020 , 12:04 pm

    Yea I never use tap water for cooking.

  97. Patricia murphy

    April 30, 2020 , 6:14 am

    Bananas! Clean or dirty?

  98. Megan AlgaeCal

    April 30, 2020 , 11:36 am

    Hi Patricia!

    They make it onto the clean list ? You can view the full list here.

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  99. Guenevere Neufeld

    July 24, 2020 , 12:46 pm

    Even though bananas are on the clean list, I still buy organic because of the low life-expectancy of workers who spray the pesticides. These workers have little protective equipment to prevent long-term exposure. I know we can’t do *everything,* but we can do some things to create the kind of world we want to live in!

  100. Megan AlgaeCal

    July 24, 2020 , 2:24 pm

    Love hearing this, Guenevere!

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring others to do every bit that they can ❤️

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  101. Jeanne Cirillo

    May 12, 2020 , 4:25 pm

    So does this mean that I shouldn’t eat apples or strawberries if they aren’t organic or if I soak them for 15 minutes in distilled water will they be safe??

  102. Megan AlgaeCal

    May 13, 2020 , 2:08 pm

    Good question, Jeanne!

    We encourage you to buy organic when possible, but you can also put them in distilled water to remove some pesticide residue. A few minutes should do the trick! 🙂

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  103. Maria Lopez

    May 14, 2020 , 5:52 am

    How about soaking produce with a mix of baking soda and water and rinsing well with clean tap water?

  104. Blaire AlgaeCal

    May 14, 2020 , 9:31 am

    You can absolutely do that, Maria! ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  105. Llabra

    May 17, 2020 , 5:25 am

    I know my neighbor would spray his Apple trees before there were apples and then quite often. So I would assume that the pesticide is not juston the skin of the apples, but rather through out.

  106. Deni

    May 20, 2020 , 12:01 pm

    I soak my fruits in white vinegar and purified water.

  107. Joan

    August 16, 2020 , 10:49 am

    I use vinegar in cold tap water. Soak couple minutes, wash if grapes, then rinse.
    Any more useful than plain water?

  108. Blaire AlgaeCal

    August 18, 2020 , 3:58 pm

    Hi Joan,

    Yes, vinegar is a great way to clean your produce – as long as you don’t mind any potential aftertaste!

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  109. MB

    September 27, 2020 , 6:22 am

    As I understand it, vinegar is great for any dirt or bacteria, but baking soda works better on pesticides.

  110. Mickey Vermillion

    May 13, 2020 , 4:42 pm

    I do not understand why washing fruit and vegies with dish soap is considered dangerous. We wash our dishes; then rinse off the dish soap and let them air dry. If that is considered safe, shouldn’t it be safe to wash our fruits and vegies with it?

  111. Blaire AlgaeCal

    May 14, 2020 , 9:26 am

    We hear you, Mickey! Monica responded to a similar comment and I will share her response with you below 🙂

    “If you still prefer to use a natural soap to wash your produce, please continue to do so! This is just one study comparing the effects of commercial produce washes and water. It did find that distilled water was just as, if not more effective, but that doesn’t mean you have to use distilled water. We are just providing you with some information so you can make an informed decision.”

    Hope that helps!

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  112. Ann

    May 17, 2020 , 2:26 pm

    If you must use soap, I would use pure hand soap like Ivory.

    Also, I have heard baking soda in water makes a great soak…

  113. steph

    September 29, 2021 , 1:54 pm

    my guess is that dishes are not porous – the dish soap stays on the surface of the dishes and doesn’t get into the dishes, it can be completely rinsed off. Although, certain things like pizza stones etc are porous and if you use soap, the soap can get into the stone and not completely wash out.
    I would imagine that fruits and veggies are possibly more porous than dishes, that is why I would use dish soap, but, I could be wrong, I would use lemon juice or vinegar which are sometimes used in natural cleaning products and they are edible.

  114. Anxious Angie

    June 5, 2020 , 7:47 am

    Very informative content. Fyi, there’s a typo on the b&w PDF under Dirty Dozen: “The fruits and veggies with the LEAST pesticide residues” should be MOST.

  115. Megan AlgaeCal

    June 5, 2020 , 9:54 am

    Glad you enjoyed the information, Angie!

    Thanks so much for pointing this out – we’ll get this fixed as soon as we can! 🙂

    Feel free to check out more of our blog posts here.

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  116. Spencer Aske

    October 10, 2020 , 9:54 am

    How about a baking soda wash then a rinse with a little bit of citric acid added. the acid will help release any alkaline residuals plus shouldn’t have bad taste. also the acid is used in EPA reg. disinfectant products.

  117. Megan AlgaeCal

    October 13, 2020 , 9:49 am

    Hi Spencer, thanks for sharing!

    You may want to stick with either the baking soda or citric acid rather than combining the two. This article explains why.

    Hope this helps! 🙂

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  118. Sharon

    November 10, 2020 , 6:41 am

    Should you still purchase organic fruits and veggies from the 15 clean list?
    I try to always buy organic, but if the 15 clean list is OK to purchase it would be less expensive.
    Thanks

  119. Megan AlgaeCal

    November 10, 2020 , 3:24 pm

    Hi Sharon, good question!

    The decision is up to you. As noted in the Clean Fifteen List, almost 70% of these samples had no pesticide residues. If you’re looking to balance your budget, then focusing on the Dirty Dozen List can definitely help! ❤️

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  120. Lois

    January 25, 2021 , 11:32 am

    Conventional Domestic wild blueberries (Wyman’s- vs Organic Cultivated from out of country? Suggestions? Thanks!

  121. Megan AlgaeCal

    January 25, 2021 , 2:17 pm

    Hi Lois, this is a great question!

    There are definitely benefits to purchasing as local as possible. It looks like the EWG has actually analyzed Wyman’s Wild Blueberries and has found that there’s low concern for food additives, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and contaminants. You can see this here.

    Looks like a great choice for blueberries 🙂 Hope this helps!

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  122. Tina

    June 8, 2021 , 5:52 pm

    How do I wash my strawberries so that there clean and all my other veggies

  123. Megan AlgaeCal

    June 11, 2021 , 3:54 pm

    Hi Tina!

    We provide some tips in the last section of this article, titled “How to Wash Your Fruits and Veggies.” Feel free to follow these guidelines when washing your produce 🙂

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  124. mary L schultz

    July 26, 2021 , 2:22 am

    I always wash my fruits but I never was aware of the severity of the pesticides. Thanks for the article and the insight.

  125. Megan AlgaeCal

    July 29, 2021 , 10:50 am

    Glad you enjoyed the information and learned something new, Mary!

    Feel free to check out more of our articles here. 🙂

    – Megan @ AlgaeCal

  126. Carol

    August 3, 2021 , 10:33 am

    For the last 5 -10 yrs I stopped using dish detergent except in situations like oils. Instead I use distilled white vinegar for household cleaning, including dishes. I use it to clean (organic) veggies like celery, carrots, avocado skin, etc. with light scrub & rinse. Never had any issues. Since it’s an acid I presume it also cleans & destroys any possible pesticide or residue and wondering if there are any studies or confirmation? Thank you for this article!

  127. Megan AlgaeCal

    August 4, 2021 , 9:21 am

    Hi Carol!

    Here’s a study showing that soaking in an acetic acid solution (the active ingredient in white vinegar) helped to reduce pesticide content, though salt water was effective as well. 🙂

    – Megan @ AlgaeCal

  128. Nicole Champoux

    September 6, 2021 , 10:25 am

    I now buy organic babanas since they taste just like I remember growing up. To me the banas have more taste. Am i wrong about this?

  129. Jeanette Williams

    October 7, 2021 , 8:11 am

    Wow, cold water cleans fruit and vegetables, I’ve always used water but warm to almost hot! Thank you for the info. Jeanette W.

  130. Kirby Johnson

    October 7, 2021 , 3:16 pm

    Hi Jeanette,

    You’re so welcome ? We were as surprised as you were! Happy to be of help!

    – Kirby @ AlgaeCal

  131. Harriet Carlo

    February 21, 2022 , 4:10 pm

    I am a believer of organic grown fruit and vegetables now.
    Thank You for this article

  132. Kirby Johnson

    February 22, 2022 , 3:07 pm

    Harriet,

    Happy to hear it! So glad you enjoyed the article 🙂

    – Kirby @ AlgaeCal

  133. Pamela Panetta

    May 10, 2022 , 10:44 am

    Great article! I keep a photo of the Dirty Dozen on my phone so when I’m out shopping I have easy access!

  134. Dianna henry

    June 9, 2022 , 7:10 am

    Thank you for this very through article….we are in some very interesting times.

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,
Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, PhD - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Dr. Carole McArthur
MD, PhD - Professor of Immunology, Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City; Director of Residency Research in Pathology, Truman Medical Center.,