Pesticides help farmers to fight off a wide range of insects, including scale bugs, moths, fruitworms, leafrollers and aphids. By the time an apple is picked it has been sprayed with pesticides every two weeks from the time that it was a bud, according to the University of Maryland. While the FDA and USDA maintains that pesticide residue will not harm anyone if it is eaten, they do recommend that all fruit be washed to remove pesticide residue.
Wash fruit or vegetables just before eating. Washing fruit before storing it in your refrigerator can promote bacteria growth on fruit while it is being stored.
Wash your hands with soapy water to remove any bacteria from your hands that may contaminate food.
Remove the outer layers of vegetables such as lettuce, celery and cabbage and discard them. Peel vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots and bananas. These layers will be the ones that contain pesticide residue.
Rinse fruits and vegetables under clean, cool water. Do not use detergents on vegetables and fruit. According to the FDA, detergents are not approved for washing vegetables and can leave additional chemicals on the vegetables.
Scrub firm vegetables and fruits, or ones with a hard rind, with a plastic-bristled vegetable scrubber.