How to clean fruits and vegetables to avoid contamination with coronavirus?

In this time of a coronavirus pandemic, governments and health systems are insisting on security measures that aim to prevent the spread of the virus. Doubts can then arise when shopping, storing and cooking food. We are trying here to dispel doubts on the subject.


The way we clean fruits and vegetables is an important point, because it is about eliminating the contaminants that may be present on these foods. This is why we invite you here to find out what are the right actions to take when washing fruits and vegetables in order to minimize the risk of any infection .


In this time of pandemic, the concern to wash fruits and vegetables well occupies the minds more. However, the steps that we will present here are steps that we should always follow, especially if we do not peel these foods.


Properly cleaning fruits and vegetables not only removes soil and dirt, but also removes possible residues of pesticides, bacteria and other pathogens that can cause poisoning or health problems.

Can food transmit coronavirus?


Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been monitoring the situation comprehensively. According to this organization, “at present, there is no scientific evidence indicating that food can constitute a vector for contamination of the virus”.




These are the words of EFSA’s scientific chief, Marta Hugas. This organization came to this conclusion after the experience acquired following previous coronavirus epidemics (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV).


The virus responsible for COVID-19 spreads between people via the droplets of respiratory secretions that we expel when we sneeze, cough, or talk.

How to properly clean fruits and vegetables?


Although it is unlikely that food can transmit the coronavirus , applying general hygiene standards allows us to minimize any risk:

  • Before washing fruits and vegetables, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • In addition, it is not necessary to use soap or detergent to clean the food , especially since, if you rinse poorly, there will be residues of these products on your food. So how do you go about it properly? We give you some recommendations below

Some recommendations for cleaning different types of vegetables


  • For leafy vegetables like salad or chard, separate the leaves and clean them one by one . This will eliminate the remains of soil and pesticides that may be on the less visible parts
  • For vegetables with a harder consistency, such as cucumbers, squash or peppers, you can use a brush specifically designed to clean vegetables . Clean these foods under a stream of water while rubbing their surface well
  • When it comes to cauliflower and broccoli, it’s best to start by cutting these vegetables into many small bunches . Then put all these small bouquets in a colander which you will pass under a jet of water. You will be sure to wash the innermost parts of these vegetables well
  • As for root vegetables such as potatoes, beets , carrots or turnips, they should also be washed before peeling. You can first soak them to soften any remaining dirt. Then rub them vigorously with a sponge or brush (without detergent) under a stream of water

Some recommendations for cleaning different types of fruit



  • Berries, strawberries and berries are very delicate fruits. Put them in a colander which you will then pass under a jet of cold water for a little while. Rub lightly with your hands, then wring out.
  • Fruits with edible peels should always be washed before consumption, even if you plan to peel them. Spend them a good time under a jet of water and rub gently. Do this for peaches, apples, plums, nectarines…
  • Regarding fruits whose skin is not edible (lemons, kiwis, papaya …), wash them anyway before peeling them. Otherwise, you could contaminate the fruit via the knife.

To better preserve fruits and vegetables, once clean, it is advisable to dry them with a little absorbent paper.

Should we use disinfectants for food?

As we have seen, food does not constitute a vector of contamination with the coronavirus . This is why health and food safety authorities do not recommend using disinfectants when cleaning food.

If you want to use it, make sure you choose a product that is approved and suitable for food. Also follow the manufacturers instructions.

On the other hand, health and food safety authorities recommend scrupulously following basic hygiene and food safety standards . In addition to washing food, the following measures should be applied:

  • Wash hands before and after handling food
  • Wash utensils and work surfaces
  • Keep fruits and vegetables away from raw meat and fish, avoid using the same utensils for these different products
  • Cook the vegetables well before eating them
  • Store fruits and vegetables in containers and at an appropriate temperature
  • Choosing fresh food

    In short, cleaning fruits and vegetables is a basic safety measure.

    It is a measure that must be applied at all times before eating and cooking these foods. Not only do we remove the remains of dirt, pesticides and other pathogens that may be present on the surface of these foods, but we also avoid a possible risk associated with coronavirus , even if the foods do not seem to be a vector of contamination. .

  • Take a look at general preventive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus

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