How to Clean Fruits & Vegetables


Dirt and bacteria on the outside of fruits and vegetables can be transferred to the inside when the food is cut or peeled. Properly cleaning your food prior to preparing will prevent illness and the ingestion of harmful bacteria, dirt or chemicals. Although there are several commercial produce washes on the market today, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that you clean fruits and vegetables under clean, running water prior to consuming.

Step 1

Remove the outer leaves from leafy fruits and vegetables prior to washing. Rinse under cool, running tap water to remove external debris, dirt and bacteria.

Step 2

Scrub firm fruits and vegetables, such as squash and potatoes, with a soft-bristled brush to remove microorganisms and dirt.

Step 3

Use your hands to gently rub softer fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes and plums, to prevent damaging the outer skin during cleaning.

Step 4

Wash bunched fruits and vegetables, such as grapes and blueberries, by placing them into a colander and spraying them gently with a kitchen sink sprayer.

Step 5

Dry fruits and vegetables thoroughly after cleaning, as any moisture left behind could promote the growth of bacteria. Use a paper towel or clean, cotton cloth to blot away excess water.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never use soap, bleach or detergents to clean vegetables and fruits. They can change the taste of the food or even cause illness when consumed.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Colander
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton cloth


  • United States Food and Drug Administration: How Does the FDA Recommend Washing Fruits and Vegetables?
  • Texas A&M University Cooperative Extension: Safe Handling of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
  • University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension: Washing Fruits and Vegetables
Keywords: clean fruits and vegetables, clean vegetables, clean fruits

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including