Should You Wash Fruit & Vegetables Before Eating?

An article regarding washing fruit & vegetables prior to eating.

I always wonder when people sample fruit in the supermarket and especially in regard to Woollies “free fruit for kids”.


I always rinse. It gets rid of additional dirt and might stop you from catching something unpleasant. I even give potatoes a second rinse after peeling. If I had any sense at all I would never get takeout food because you just have no idea whose hands have been doing what.


I wonder about mushrooms, which the pros say you should never wash, but perhaps wipe over if you feel the need?

My Gran used to peel every mushroom to perfection. Something about them being field collected and cows and birds and things. Although the underside (gills) were never touched. No stalks as they had been in the dirt (possibly also cow poo).

Cooked the risks are low, but then there are all those other salad dishes etc that use mushrooms raw, or perhaps not all that highly heated.


I always wash them. As a kid I would go collect them from the paddock across the road, for my Mum, and you never knew what had been on there, excrement from passing animals and birds was a real risk, and you wouldn’t necessarily know about it. Mushrooms from boxes still end up with bits of dirt and rubbish on them, and lots of pathogens hide in soil. its not sterile. So… I wash em. I don’t bother with peeling though. and I also don’t peel if they are going in a salad. I do cut off the bottom of the stalks, and sometimes remove the entire stalk. Depends on how it looks. It its a bit manky… gone.


They absorb water if you do. This may not be a problem if you subsequently add them to a stew or something with a sauce but not if they are to be fried. Mushrooms have a high water content and the flavour will concentrate when you fry them quickly as some water evaporates. If there is added water you lower the temperature and add volume and much of the flavour will end up in the juice in the pan as if you cooked them on a low heat. If you boil the juice away that flavour will tend to stick on the pan and if you pour it out it will be lost too. So if you want mushrooms on toast fried in butter to be the best don’t wash and do fry fairly quickly.


Agree with not washing mushrooms, just wipe dirt off with a towel. Cooking will remove pesticide residue and kill micro organisms, as the abc article explains…I would not have raw mushrooms, no amount of rinsing would do that.

I always wash salads myself, even those which the pack says it’s already washed.

I wash veggies that are to be cooked too. In this times of self service any food is handled a lot and by many.

And I agree with @SueW, I try not to think about food hygiene when I’m eating out!


The packaging mostly says to wash. Is this legal CYA from the supermarket / the supplier? Who can say.

This is a subject of ongoing debate in the Person household. :slight_smile:


I add white wine when pan-cooking mushrooms, it keeps them plump and white.
I also add a clove of garlic and a bit of parsley for flavour.
( BTW I don’t drink, but keep wine for cooking.)


That’s what we all say. Hic. :smile:


I wash leeks as otherwise it can be like eating gritty onion, just to wash any sand/grit out.

I never wash mushrooms that are store bought, they are grown in extremely clean conditions to ensure only the spores introduced actually grow, they are also harvested using gloves. At the most they are brushed off if they have obvious “dirt” on them.

Celery is harvested using gloves as the juice in sunlight turns quite acidic and leaves nasty burns, again only rinsed to remove grit


We wash vegetables which have soil residues on them such as leafy vegetables (coriander, lettuce, while baby spinach, Asian greens etc).

We also wash potatoes when peeled (we generally buy brushed potatoes and after peeling, soil residues are often left on the outside of the peeled potato.

We don’t wash mushrooms, but the end of the stork which would have sat in the compost is trimmed to remove any visible residues.

We don’t wash fruit which is peeled before consuming (bananas, pineapples etc), but will wash the skin of those whereby the skin or peel is consumed.

We lightly rinse other vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, beans etc.

to kill pathogens on food, one needs to heat foods to around 75°C.


In the case of fruits with peelable skins such as citrus and bananas, we don’t wash them.

Everything else gets thoroughly washed except mushrooms.

We remove the stem from mushrooms as it makes them easier to slice or to grill whole, and brush off anything sticking to the caps.


If you thought about it for too long, you’d never eat out. But I was specifically meaning fast food… which is a lot more risky, I reckon.


And then, you take the pan off the heat and add sour cream… voila, mushroom sauce.


That thought might be reinforced, or not, by knowing which of our children, nephews and nieces and their friends work in such outlets?

I tend to find the loose mushrooms on the top of the pile never look as good as the ones underneath. It can take a while to sort through and find a couple exactly the size I like! :wink:

We don’t wash either, but I like @Gaby tip to added a little white wine. Perfect for Sunday breakfasts? :smile:


I always wash my mushrooms even though its recommended to just wipe them. Who knows what is on the mushrooms and how many fingers have touched them?
I even wash the washed potatoes and always tomatoes. While in the UK just a few months ago it was recommended to wash bananas and hands after because they are sprayed. However I’m thinking that our bananas come from Australia and they are probably not sprayed.

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I always wash fruit and vegetables because of concerns regarding residue chemicals from spraying etc. still on the produce.


I think they probably are. They may also be dipped or powdered.


Thanks for your comment. I will take it on board.

They are washed before packaging in the boxes before they are sent to the ripeners. If you notice a powder on banana skins this is a natural occurence and is nothing to be concerned with. If a banana has been hand dipped it is only into a solution containing Ethephon, which degrades to Ehtylene naturally in the fruit. Commercial ripening uses either of, or a mix of, two gases and they are Ethylene gas and Acetylene. None of these leave residues you need to wash off.

We ran a banana farm and have had first hand experience with the bloom on fruit and the ripening process both manual and at commercial premises (Lamanna Premier Group). During growth at times some sprays are used to combat insects (only after flowering has finished) and fungal infections (though panama resists these treatments). A wash is a required step for producers.