The Best Way to Clean Fruit in the Kitchen – The Complete Guide

Maintaining good hygiene practices in the kitchen is important for ensuring your family’s health, especially when handling fresh fruits. Cleaning fruits properly will ensure no pesticides, dirt, or contaminants are consumed.

Different fruits need to be cleaned using different techniques. You won’t clean berries the same way you clean peaches. We are discussing how to clean different types of fruit, where you buy it matters, and which types of fruit you can skip cleaning.

Whether you prefer store-bought, a farmer’s market, or picking fruit straight from your garden, cleaning your fruits and vegetables before consumption is very important. Here’s a step-by-step detailed guide on how to clean fruit. So wash your hands, and let’s get to it.

1. Sort and Inspect

sorting and inspecting berries before cleaning
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Take inventory, sort, and inspect each piece of fruit, looking for any visible signs of damage, mold, or dirt. Remove any damaged or spoiled parts because some contaminants, like mold, could spread.

2. Rinse and Clean

Cleaning an apple and grapes under running water.
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Rinse them under cool, running water. The force of running water helps remove surface dirt and contaminants. Gently rub the surface with your fingers. We recommend using a soft brush for fruits with tough skins, like melon oranges. It’s a great, sustainable option for cleaning your fruits and veggies. Rinse again before eating, especially for berries.

3. Best Way to Clean Berries

Berries are rather delicate and can harbor mold, especially if not rinsed under water before being eaten. It’s best to pat them dry with a paper towel to avoid any moisture-related issues or potential mold growing.

4. Cleaning Grapes

hands cleaning grapes in a bowl
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Grapes may have pesticide residues, dirt, or mold in the clusters, so you must separate the grapes from their bunch to ensure effective cleaning.

5. How to Clean Peaches and Nectarines

hands cleaning peaches under running water
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Watch out for pesticides, dirt, or fuzz on the skin. We also recommend peeling or blanching them for a few seconds in hot water to remove the skin, especially if the fruit is not organic.

6. Cleaning Melons

hands holding a watermelon in the sink under a running water to clean it
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Their shell (or rind) isn’t quite as firm, so those contaminants are cause for concern without washing. Rinse the whole melon under running water before cutting, then use a brush on the rind’s surface since contaminants can be transferred when cutting through the thick skin.

7. Clean Store Bought Fruit

Fruit aisle in a grocery store.
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Most store-bought fruits aren’t cleaned well, especially when bought from a large grocery chain. Many commercially grown fruits are treated with pesticides to protect them from pests and diseases.

Residues from these harsh chemicals can linger on the surface of fruit. When sold by the truckload, they often don’t get a thorough cleaning, and pesticide residue can be present when you purchase them. 

8. Cleaning Organic Fruit

Organic fruit at a grocery store.
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Buying organic can help, but you may have a higher chance of insect exposure or bird droppings. Plus, you’ll always have to worry about cross-contamination, which is especially important for those of us with fruit allergies. Even when buying organic, it’s still important to clean fruit thoroughly.

9. Cleaning Fruit From the Garden

Fruit stand at a farmer's market.
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Fresh fruit from your garden or a farmer’s market can harbor soil, insects, or bird droppings. Proper cleaning ensures the safety and enjoyment of the best product. To properly wash produce, you should do the following:

  • Mix a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water in a mixing bowl or clean sink.
  • Soak the produce for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse under cold water.
  • Pat dry.

Whatever you do, avoid using soap to clean produce, as residues may linger and affect taste. Peeling certain fruits like apples and oranges is a common practice

10. Fruits Where Cleaning Is Optional

Collection of bananas.
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  • Pineapple is safe to eat once you cut off the hard exterior, but be careful as you’re cutting the interior to avoid dirt and debris from the shell. 
  • Avocados are safe, too, because we don’t eat the skin that protects the fruit. 
  • Bananas are usually safe, but even though their natural casing is a thick peel, they could come in contact with contaminants or pesticides that might transfer when handling. So this one is a ‘maybe’, and we say you should still clean it to be on the safe side. 

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removing filter from dishwasher to clean it
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Anika Gandhi is on a mission to declutter and organize all the things around her and is here to inspire and encourage you to do the same!

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