We have all been guilty of not washing the odd fruit or vegetable before eating every once in a while, but did you know some should always be cleaned before eating?

Failing to prewash a variety of your favourite supermarket produce to prevent harmful germs, toxins and pesticides could result in "serious health complications".

This includes food poisoning, sickness and diarrhoea (which nobody wants to have), according to MuscleFood.

Why is it important to wash fruit and vegetables?

@triplejradio how should you wash your fruit & vegetables? @Dr Karl weighs in. #science #washingfruit #drkarl #triplej ♬ original sound - triple j

The team from the online healthy food retailer said loose vegetables and fruits can be touched frequently in supermarkets, so taking steps to thoroughly clean produce can help keep germs at bay. 

Fruit and vegetables can also become infected with harmful bacteria from animal contact and substances in the soil or water.

Once in the home, there are further risks of contamination because of improper storage and during food preparation.

Produce which must be thoroughly washed before eating includes strawberries, potatoes and kale.

County Times: How often do you clean potatoes before eating them?How often do you clean potatoes before eating them? (Image: Getty)

What fruit and vegetables need to be washed?

Here are the foods which must be washed before eating, according to MuscleFood:


Strawberries must be properly rinsed to remove dirt and debris as the most likely fruit to contain a strong cocktail of pesticide residues.


Skipping the scrub and washing for potatoes could cause foodborne illnesses. As a root vegetable, potatoes can absorb the pesticides and germs in the soil.


Leafy greens like kale have been linked to harmful germs including E. Coli and Salmonella, so it is important to thoroughly rinse them under water.

County Times: This why you should always wash cranberries before eating themThis why you should always wash cranberries before eating them (Image: Getty)


Make sure to get into the surface of leaves when cleaning lettuce because it can sometimes contain enough germs to make people sick. Avoid buying spoiled or soggy salad as it could be a tale-tale sign something is wrong.


Research has shown that cranberries often contain a high combination of pesticides because farmers use them to get rid of insects that attack the fruit.


Apples have been found to contain multiple pesticides, including some at high concentrations.

Stone fruits

Peaches, plums and nectarines have been found to have strains of listeria which can cause sickness. Rub firmly and rinse under running water to wash away.

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What is the best way to wash vegetables and fruit?

Ashleigh Tosh from MuscleFood said: “Many people will be surprised to know that fruit and vegetables can cause serious illnesses if they are not properly washed before consumption.

“It is important to wash, rinse and scrub produce under running water before eating to prevent the consumption of dirt, bacteria and pesticides that can make people poorly.

“Fruit which has been found to contain higher levels of pesticides includes strawberries and cranberries, so more care should be taken when washing them.

“It is also important to ensure leafy greens like lettuce and kale have been properly washed to minimise the risks of food poisoning.”