How to Remove Wax From Fruits & Vegetables

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Things You'll Need

  • (2) Bowls, large

  • Water, Warm

  • Vegetable brush

  • Paper towels

Image Credit: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Waxes found on fruits and vegetables grow naturally to protect the fruits and vegetables from losing too much moisture. Businesses will commercially place approved wax coatings on fruits and vegetables during processing. These waxes extend shelf life during shipping and handling and help to keep the fruits or vegetables from bruising or drying out. It is always a good idea to remove these waxes before preparing or eating the fruits and vegetables because harmful bacteria can be trapped between the produce and the wax.


Step 1

Wash your hands in hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds prior to beginning with the fruits and vegetables. Have the vegetables in a bowl near the sink. If the produce came in a closed bag and it's labeled as pre-washed, according the FDA, there is no need to rewash these items. However, the FDA does recommend if the fruits or vegetables are labeled as precut or prewashed and come in an open bag, these items should be rewashed before consuming.

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Step 2

Turn on the water so that it's comfortably warm to hot.

Step 3

Scrub the outside of each fruit or vegetable by itself with the vegetable brush under the streaming water. For sprouts, simply wash them in warm running water. Scrub softer produce like tomatoes gently. Run fruits and vegetables still attached to the vine such as grapes gently under the warm water moving the individual pieces around to allow the water in between them.


Step 4

Place each piece of produce you rinsed and or scrubbed inside another large clean bowl as you finish.

Step 5

Dry each piece of produce with a paper towel to help remove further residue. For softer fruits like grapes, pat the outsides gently.


Washing the fruits and vegetables under running water will wash waxes and some bacteria away. Simply dunking the fruits and vegetables in a bowl or sink of warm water will give the waxy residue and bacteria a chance to reattach to the produce. Getting into the habit of removing wax from your fruits and vegetables will overall help to reduce your chances of consuming harmful bacteria found on produce. If you don’t have access to warm water, rinsing the produce well before preparing it is preferred over not washing the produce all. A clean unused scrubbing pad typically used to wash dishes can be substituted for a vegetable scrub brush.


The FDA does not recommend using soaps or detergents to wash fruits or vegetables as it can get into porous produce such as apples, lettuce, cabbage, plums and celery.Consuming soaps and detergents can cause serious illness.


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