Love Those Fruits and Veggies – When They’re Safe to Eat

Organic fruits and vegetables don't have pesticides, but they still need washing. Photo: © Tomo Jesenicnik - Fotolia.com

Hungry? How about a juicy peach? Imported grapes are sooo delicious. Apples are yummy. And cherries are a snack straight from Paradise.

Or not.

Watch Out for the Dirty Dozen

Fact is, every one of those conventionally raised, scrumptious food choices is laden with pesticides — dozens of different pesticide chemicals. According to an article on About.com, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled information about pesticides “from approximately 96,000 studies by the USDA and FDA of the 49 fruits and vegetables listed between 2000 and 2008.” EWG then created a handy Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which lists the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”

When I first read EWG‘s list last year, I was more than a little chagrined to see many of my favorite foods listed in the Dirty Dozen. I truly love 11 of the 12 foods: “peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes.” (I’m not so crazy about celery.) These are many of the foods I most enjoy. And being almost-entirely a vegetarian, they’re foods I depend on for their nutrient value — especially kale.

If, like me, you love eating foods from the Dirty Dozen list, there’s a solution: Eat organic. Foods raised using organic methods don’t have pesticide residues to worry about. Yes, there’s the occasional bug. (I’m very selective when choosing kale at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Bugs are hard to see without pulling back each leaf and taking a good, long look.) But I’d rather work around a bug or two that I can see than try to fight against invisible pesticide residues. Wouldn’t you?

You can download the EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, print it, and take it shopping with you. Or, you can insist on organic produce. It’s an easy choice for our family most of the time, though our selection can be somewhat limited at the grocery store. Farmers’ markets and CSAs are more likely to provide more organic options.

If avoiding pesticides in your foods is important to you, too, then ask for organic selections. Consumers won’t get more options if we don’t create a demand for them. Farmers have to make a living, too, and there’s more work and more spoilage when raising organic produce. Our willingness to pay a little more and to purchase organic foods helps support farmers in their efforts to bring us more healthy choices.

Wash Your Fruits and Veggies

When I started writing this post, I had intended to focus on Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash as way to clean produce of “soil, dirt, and wax” (their words). That’s all good. And it’s important to clean produce before you eat it. But then I started wondering if this product could wash away the biggest problem of all: pesticides.

According to the Earth Friendly Products website, their Fruit & Vegetable Spray is “especially ideal for cleaning off oily pesticides, waxes and chemicals that are designed to be water resistant.” Wow. I didn’t expect that.

And, as for cleaning produce — organic or conventionally grown — it seems to do the job as well as similar products I’ve tried. But what I like best about Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash is that it’s made from all natural ingredients — no artificial chemicals that I can’t pronounce, let alone comprehend.

What’s in it? “Purified water, 100% natural amphoteric coconut based surfactant, citric acid.” No sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which some other products contain. (SLS is a skin irritant for many people.)

Using it is simple. Spray it on every exterior surface of the fruit or vegetable. Then wash it off with warm water. Frankly, I expected the directions to include scrubbing or waiting for the spray to take effect. In fact, when I washed grapes just before writing this post, I waited a couple of minutes before washing it off. When I’ve used the Earth Friendly Products spray to clean apples and oranges, I’ve rubbed it on the skin of the fruit, rather than just giving it a quick spritz. (I’m apparently a creature of habit.)

Once the Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash has been washed off, there’s no aftertaste or residue left behind. Does it completely clean the fruits or vegetables? I don’t honestly know, but they look and feel clean. Does it do better than using distilled water, which is preferred by the Extension Office at the University of Maine over other fruit and vegetable sprays? I don’t know that, either;  I haven’t done any scientific tests. But distilled water doesn’t contain any surfactants, and this product does. The plant-derived surfactant in Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash should loosen anything attached to the skin of the produce.

You might be interested in the features of the product, according to the Earth Friendly Products website:

  • pH 3.0-3.5, but gentle on hands and skin
  • Non-polluting/100% biodegradable/non-toxic/natural.
  • Made of replenishable/sustainable ingredients
  • Plant-based surfactants we use do not harm the item being cleaned, your body or the environment
  • Helps remove pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, dirt, wax and bacteria.
  • 100% tasteless
  • Odorless
  • Rinses away completely; leaves no residue or aftertaste
  • No lengthy cleaning process required: sprays on and rinses off; works quickly and easily; no need to scrub or soak; no waiting period
  • Free of alcohol, bleach, DEA or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Easy to recycle: #1 PETE HDPE plastic container

Did you notice the words, “Helps remove pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, dirt, wax and bacteria”? They give me confidence that Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash is much more powerful than distilled water.

And then they list the benefits:

  • Doesn’t irritate skin.
  • Fruit and vegetables grown inorganically can be cleansed of surface pesticides, chemicals and waxes without depositing other harmful chemicals or adversely effecting taste.
  • It really works
  • Safe for you and the environment
  • Non-toxic/non-polluting


One thing I do know is that Earth Friendly Products has a long-standing reputation as an environmental company making eco-friendly products that live up to their advertising. With each Earth Friendly Products item I’ve tried so far, I’ve been pleased with the results and confident in their safety. But check out the company for yourself. I think you’ll like what you learn.

You can purchase Earth Friendly Products Fruit & Vegetable Wash from the company’s website (though I’m having trouble getting it to work on my Mac as I write this). You can also find local retailers by entering your zip code into their store finder. Or, you can purchase the product through Amazon, though Amazon doesn’t seem to offer individual bottles. Current offerings on Amazon range from $18.00 for a 6-pack of 17-oz. bottles to $32 for a 6-pack of 32-oz. bottles to $49.57 for a 12-pack of 22-oz. bottles. As always, please try your local stores first.

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received a free sample of  the product described in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Blue Planet Green Living’s policy is to only review those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product, we do not review it. We are not influenced by complimentary products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

Blue Planet Green Living has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com. If you purchase this product or any other products through Amazon by clicking on our affiliate link, Blue Planet Green Living will receive a small financial compensation from Amazon, which we gratefully use to sustain this website.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

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