top of page

Minimize Chemicals in your Produce!

Updated: Nov 15

Chemicals can wreak havoc on our endocrine system (the beautiful system that has to do with all things hormones).3 So while we can support our hormones through strong nutrition, it is also important to support our hormones by minimizing unnecessary chemicals where we can. One way to do this is by properly washing and sourcing our produce!

Not only does properly washing produce increase food safety and minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses, it can help take away pesticides and chemicals that may be lingering on your fruits and vegetables.2 In addition, choosing reputable sources for your fruits and vegetables can be a great way to support local business, minimize pesticide exposure, and enjoy fresher produce!1

Washing your fruits and vegetables:

Research suggests to not wash your produce with soaps, produce cleaner, and bleach. These products are not effective and your fruits and vegetables can actually absorb these products, which is not good for your health.6 Instead, check out some of these methods:

  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is becoming a more popular way to clean produce. The recommendation is 1 tsp of baking soda per 2 cups of water. Soak for 12-15 minutes right before you plan on using the produce as soaking too early can cause the food to spoil quicker and affect food safety. This method can be more difficult for delicate fruit like berries and softer-skin veggies. But with tougher-skin veggies feel free to give them a little scrub after they’re done soaking!2,4,7

  • Vinegar: Another popular method is using vinegar as it is cheap and easy! The recommendation for this method is 1 cup of vinegar per 4 cups of water. Submerge produce for 2-3 minutes and rinse fully.5,7

  • Plain old water: While vinegar and baking soda may be more effective at really targeting chemicals, rinsing produce properly in water can also get the job done. Rinse produce under cold water for around 20 seconds and scrub with light brush for tougher-skin produce.7

Re-think where you get your produce

A fruit and vegetable is better than no fruit and vegetable, so if grocery stores, corner markets, wherever you may get your produce, is the only option - please, please, please continue this! However, if you have some flexibility and know of farmer’s markets, venues, and farms that provide local produce, this can be a great way to get more bang for your buck, support local businesses, minimize chemicals, and increase the quality of your fruits and vegetables.1,6

The USDA has a tool called the “Local Food Portal” that allows you to search for produce, markets, food vendors, etc., in your area!

This is a great way to check out what fresh produce is accessible around you. A quick google search as well can help narrow down your results as well.

Happy Eating! - Emily LaBombard, MPH, RDN, LDN


  1. Benefits of Eating Local.

  2. ​​CDC. Steps to Safe and Healthy Fruits & Vegetables. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published February 12, 2020.

  3. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). Published January 23, 2022.

  4. How to Wash Fruits & Vegetables with Baking Soda | Arm & Hammer.

  5. How to Wash Fruit with Vinegar. Food Network.

  6. Nutrition C for FS and A. Selecting and Serving Produce Safely. FDA. Published online July 16, 2020.

  7. Smarter: Should You Wash Produce With Baking Soda? Consumer Reports.

45 views0 comments
bottom of page