Does rinsing an apple before eating it have much affect?

Does it really wash off much chemicals when you rinse an apple under the tap before eating it?

I always wondered. I don’t see how merely rinsing produce under cold water can do much to sanitize it, which is probably why those produce liquid cleansers were invented (well, assuming they’re any good). When I wash apples, I always dry and sort of buff them with a paper towel. It removes some of the wax, and hopefully pesticides and other unwanted chemicals as well.

But, hey, I’m no Cecil!

The word you’re looking for is “effect” not “affect”.

Rainbowtheif, I don’t think anyone promoted apple rinsing as a means of sanitizing fruit. Such rinsing will clean, not sanitize.

Rinsing removes surface dirt, bacteria, fungi, and yes, some chemicals. Buff-drying will remove more, along with the surface wax. Will it remove all traces of the above? Nope. Neither will the “produce cleansers” although they will help do the job.

If you’re that concerned, peel your fruit. Removing the outermost bit will certainly remove the vast majority of nastiness.

In truth, though, our bodies can handle small amounts of all of the above. That’s what your liver and kidneys are for, to deal with toxins in the environment. Most folks feel the nutritional goodness of a fresh apple (or other fruit) outwieighs the teeny tiny amount of stuff you pick up from the outside of the fruit. Certain individuals such as the immune-suppressed may need to be more careful than most, but assuming you’re a fairly healthy and normal human being, rinse+buff should be all you need.

I usually get that one right but I remember struggling to work it out when I was typing the post! Must be cos it’s morning…

Check this site out:

I use a similar product. It’s amazing what’s left behind when you pull your produce out of the rinse.

Hmm, I dont really want to start getting anal with cleaning products, i was just wondering if rinsing had much effect compared to just eating the damn thing straight and not giving a shit.

Most pesticides (or all maybe) are water soluble, so rinsing should get them off. BTW Fit is NOT FDA approved. We used to use it at our store. But when the health department saw a “We proudly use Fit” sticker during one of thier routine inspections, they asked us to go back to bleach. What the health department likes is a 100-150ppm bleach solution, that we dip all the produce in before we slice it (if it is a higher concentration it has to be rinsed afterwords). If you don’t want to buy a kit to test it, it works out to approx. filling a kitchen sink with water and adding maybe a (I’m kinda guessing here, I don’t usually make fruit salad at work) 3 tablespoons or so of bleach into it. It might be more, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t take much.

I’ve never used Fit either. I’m not at home now, so I’m not sure what product it is I use.

What about the wax and the stuff trapped under it? Does the bleach solution clean that off or do you just use hot water?

Any idea why those products aren’t FDA approved?

According to one apple producer, it’s a good idea to rinse the apple before eating it, not because of what it may have on it from the orchard, but because of what it might have picked up since then (ever seen someone in the grocery store sneeze while they’re standing in front of a bin of loose fruit?). They recommend against using detergent or bleach, however - just rinse with clean water (probably on the theory that a real cleaning fetishist would use way too much detergent or bleach, rendering the apple damn near inedible).

All apples are washed in the packing house, and I suspect more thoroughly than you would wash them at home. In fact, according to that site, the washing removes the apples’ natural waxy coating, so they’re re-coated to protect them in shipping and storage.

Being the website of an apple producer, it’s not a totally unbiased source, but it doesn’t sound like industry glurge.

I autoclave all my produce before eating it. Makes the bananas a bit mushy, though.

I kinda figure if the pesticides are water-soluble, then I’ll just excrete them at the end of the day anyway. Whereas any non-water-soluble ones that might bio-accumulate in my body and kill me wouldn’t be removed by rinsing. So I don’t bother, and I’m not dead yet…

I do sometimes kinda buff an apple on a corner of a T-shirt, but this probably has exactly the opposite effect to that intended, as the t-shirt is likely dirtier than the apple…

Weird that some pediatricians here at work wee just discussing this very thing!

I always said, what the hell, God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt right? I am going to rinse my fruit from now on.

The docs were discussing a case of a child with e.coli and progressing HUS due to eating unwashed fruit due to the farm animal fecal matter found on the surface of the fruit he had eaten.

Aren’t there laws about just how dirty produce can be anyways - at least in this part of the world? If there’s enough crap on the outside to have any effect on you I’d try suing the … whoever is in charge of such standards… rather than washing the contamination off - might be more profitable ;).