Scientists reveal the best tool for cleaning fresh apples could be right in your pantry.

Don't get me started on how awesome apples are because, seriously, they're delicious. But there's a major problem with this tasty fruit: They're dirty.

Conventional (nonorganic) apples often have residue inside and outside the apple from dozens of pesticides used in the production process. These pesticides can improve yield, but they can also have a devastating effect on groundwater and the environment, and they might affect the people who spread and consume them.

And while the apples found at the grocery store have already been washed or rinsed in a bleach solution to remove dirt and harmful microbes, the pesticide residue can still remain. Cleaning or washing conventional apples is a must, but with what?


These apples are off to become cider. Lucky apples. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, put together a study to develop a useful solution (pun intended).

The team purchased organic gala apples and treated them with common pesticides (thiabendazole and phosmet, the latter of which penetrates the skin of the fruit). Then they compared the effectiveness of rinsing the apples in running tap water, soaking them in a bleach for two minutes, or soaking them in a baking soda solution for two minutes. (After the bleach or baking soda soaks, they rinsed them in tap water to remove the solutions.)

Is there anything more fun than washing apples by the barrel-full? I think not. Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/GettyImages.

The baking soda and water solution performed better than a both the bleach solution and the plain running tap water — but it's still not without concerns.

One teaspoon of baking soda in two cups of water broke down the pesticides, which made it easier to wash them away. However, it didn't completely remove the pesticides that had already gotten deeper into the fruit. And while each method was only tested for two minutes, it took 12-15 minutes to completely get rid of the two pesticides used in this study.

How long would it take to rid an apple of the dozens of pesticides used to grow it? Probably longer than most people are willing to wait for a piece of hand fruit, albeit a delicious one.

A photo of a person about to have the best day of their life. Photo by Remy Gabald/AFP/GettyImages.

While baking soda is an affordable, accessible solution for removing pesticides from apples, the research team says peeling them is probably the best bet.

Or, if your budget allows and you have access, consider trying organic.

Just don't let anything keep you from apples. Because, seriously, they don't get nearly enough credit for their awesomeness.

Come on, have you ever had apple brown betty? Game over. Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images.

Most Shared
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular