Well For Life

Well For Life

The ‘Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen’

Rinsing vegetables and fruit with water does not eliminate pesticides.

Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients are lost. Some people may wash their produce using a baking soda solution (1oz of baking soda mixed with 100 oz of water). They soak the vegetables or fruit for 12-15 minutes in this solution to remove surface pesticide residues.

While I try my best to eat mostly organic fruit and vegetables, it’s just about impossible to purchase all organic produce. However, over the last 5 years, I have noticed an increase in the number of organic produce in shops.  The more we request organic foods from our supermarkets the more they will facilitate this demand.

I am lucky to have space in my garden to grow my own vegetables. It’s a hobby that can be time-consuming but very enjoyable.  The obvious benefit of eating organic is taste, there is just no comparison.


There are so many other beneficial factors to purchasing organic:  

  • It reduces your exposure to toxic chemicals. Organic is the most heavily regulated food system, it guarantees no toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers.
  • Buying organic ensures your food is GMO-free
  • There is mounting evidence that organic fruits and vegetables are richer in polyphenols and antioxidants when compared to conventionally grown products. Studies have linked this increased nutritional intake to protecting our body against chronic diseases including cancer.
  • Organically grown crops have also been shown to have lower levels of nitrate. High nitrate levels are linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer
  • Good for nature, good for you

Not many people have the space, time, or interest in growing their own vegetables.  Yes, it is usually more expensive to switch to an organic diet, but the health benefits are worth the effort and expense.

Purchase from the local farmers market

It may be worth getting to know your local farmer or visit your local farmers’ market and ask the vendors about their farm’s practices.  Some smaller farms haven’t gone through the full organic certification process as it can be an expensive process but many use all organic practices.

Check out ‘Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen’ list



Pesticide Action Network Uk created The ‘Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen’. This list can help you to work out which vegetables and fruit to prioritise when purchasing organic. The top 15 foods with the least pesticides are called the Clean 15. While the 12 foods with the most pesticides are called the Dirty Dozen.

You can see from this list that grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and strawberries have the highest amount of pesticide residue.  Beetroot, mushroom, corn, and figs have the least pesticide on them. If purchasing organic is not an option, at least you will know that the vegetables on the ‘Clean Fifteen’ have a minimum amount of pesticides on them.


These lists are fantastic to take with you on your shopping trips, you will know when to buy organic and when it’s ok to buy conventional.  Keep a copy of this list on your phone!