Grapes are by far one of the hardest fruits to wash thoroughly, as they’re always coated with that white, waxy stuff that just doesn’t come off with a regular rinse. For other fruits and vegetables, I just spray them with a water/vinegar mixture, let sit, then rub and rinse clean. If I sat down to rub and rinse every single grape on the vine, I wouldn’t even want grapes anymore by the time I was finished!
In the past, I would just rinse them quickly under water, maybe rub them a little before I ate them, and that was it. The last time I picked up some beautiful red grapes from the store, I popped one in my mouth and was completely overwhelmed by the bitter taste of the waxy coating.
I stopped right there and went on a search for how to wash off this coating once and for all. Let me tell you, that search was not easy! I finally found a blog which suggested the use of salt, so I took it one step further and added some baking soda to the mix for extra scrubbing action, and I’m happy to say, it totally worked! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves 🙂
Here’s a before picture, just for reference. Look at all that wax!
So here’s what you do. First, remove the grapes from the stem, give them a quick rinse, and place them in a wide, shallow bowl.
Then sprinkle about 1-2 teaspoons of salt on the grapes.
Sprinkle another 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda on there.
Then grab the bowl and shake it vigorously from side to side and front to back, for about 30 seconds to a minute. You want to make sure they’re scrubbed nice and well by the salt and baking soda. Get your kids involved – I’m sure they’d love an opportunity to shake things up with you in the kitchen!
Finally, rinse very well under cold water. Lightly rub your hand over the top to help with the rinsing to remove all traces of salt.
That’s it! Enjoy your clean, tasty grapes! 🙂
NOTE: After more research, I found that the wax is actually produced by the grape itself to help prevent moisture loss. There’s also a layer of dirt and dust, as well as pesticide residue. So, the wax itself is not harmful, but the pesticide residue surely is! Only wash what you will eat right away, as the extra moisture from washing will speed up their decay.
How do you wash your grapes? I’d love to hear of other methods you’re using!
This post was shared here: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Simple Living Wednesdays, Works For Me Wednesday
Thank you to tips. My grapes are soaking in the salt and soda now. I buy Cotton Candy grapes when in season, so, after cleaning and drying, I put in freezer containers . Let me freeze. Take out a few at a time . Yummy, yummy. Taste like Frozen Cotton Candy popscicles.
Yum, love frozen grapes!
My Chinese friends throw a handful of wheat flour into bowl of water and swish with grapes. Seems to clean them well. Easy!!
Interesting idea! Thanks for sharing!
I always hated the sulphur dioxide I would taste when eating grapes. I now wash them in HOT water first… helped get rid of that smell and taste.
Not sure how good that is for you either.
Thank you!! The grapes taste really good this method.
You’re very welcome! Enjoy 🙂
I use Castille soap to wash some fruits and veggies, like apples. The soap really gets that white stuffor off. I tried it on grapes but some of the soap solution absorbs into the grape from where I pulled it from the stem. It worked great but I don’t like soapy grapes. I will have to try this. Thanks for the information.
You’re welcome! Yeah, I’ve noticed sometimes if I don’t rinse them well enough, I can taste some of the salt from this method as well. So just remember to really rub them when you’re rinsing to get rid of any residue.
I washed the grapes like you said, but now the sweetness is gone. They taste a little salty. Maybe I used too much, but they sure look better than in the store.
YAY! Happy happy, it worked like a charm, thank you so much.
The “white waxy stuff” is actually a yeast fungi. It’s what causes the grapes to ferment into lovely, delicious wine. It’s not harmful, but I do agree grapes taste better when the yeast is rinsed off. I’m going to try your method, as I do the “individual wash” before eating grapes.
I believe what you are doing is amazing for all the work it must take and realize the satisfaction in helping others must be the reason as well and to that effect I understand for my path is to help and heal people. Namaste
I am glad to read this recipe for cleaning grapes. I was shocked to find large grapes imported from Chile that I had forgotten in my fridge. When I discovered them in perfect looking condition, they were as hard as rubber. I threw them out. I was forced this past week to find strawberries (no organic available) for a fruit dish taken for a buffet. I have some left and noticed that they are becoming rubbery. Would you recommend the same washing for non-organic berries as well? I usually pick about eight pounds of blueberries every summer and freeze them. I am wondering if the same washing formula would work for them. I am sure the bushes have been sprayed as the orchard does not able the berries “organic.” Comments? Thank you.
I wouldn’t use this on berries as they tend to be more fragile, but either way this method isn’t necessarily removing pesticides from the berries – just that waxy feeling that’s usually on grapes specifically. I only use this method if the grapes are super waxy and I can taste/feel it. Otherwise, just a regular wash for me. For berries, you could try soaking them in your sink in a vinegar/water mixture. I’ve also heard folks do a peroxide rinse as well. Hope that helps, and enjoy those berries!
I use 8 C water to 1 C vinegar and soak strawberries and blueberries for 5 mins while agitating the water some. Rinse well with cold water,then line a cake pan with paper towels and lay fruit on towels and dry well before placing back in the container ( that i wash too )- I hand dry each strawberry before it goes into container – just make sure if you put them in a container without holes ,that you leave the lid cracked open to dispel any extra moisture and let them breath.
Great tips, Charmaine!
I usually give my grapes a quick rinse with water first. After that, I remove the water and add 2 teaspoons to 4 teaspoons of water and give them a good shake. Finally I add vinegar until it covers the grapes and let it sit for 25-30 minutes. After it sits I remove all water and give it a quick rinse again. They come out perfectly!
Thanks for sharing, Nadia!
I was looking up how to get washing soda to clean my silver and saw your grape washing suggestions For some years now I’ve been rinsing grapes in water with or without stems. The wet grapes go onto a tea towel which I fold over the grapes lengthwise. I then grab both ends of the envelope and pulling constantly rapidly slide the envelope sideways scrubbing the grapes shiny bright and dry. With little practice it works wonders for quickly removing stems from most of the grapes, removing the yucky film and readying a lot of grapes for a tasty yuck free feast.
I enjoyed reading your info on washing soda. I had used baking soda with salt on aluminum foil in water to do a so-so but adequate job of cleaning the silver. Next time I’ll use washing soda.
I love this idea, Ian! Have to try it. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. I will have to try this. I usually soak grapes in water and grapefruit seed extract (GSE) for about 10 minutes, rinse very thoroughly in a strainer while stirring them around with my hand, and lay on a towel coated cookie sheet to air dry.
That sounds interesting, will have to try it. Why the grapefruit seed extract? Just curious what it’s job is exactly. Thanks! 🙂
Sarah,..great tips esp the baking soda I have some soaking right now.
My only dilemma is why do you pluck Theron from the stems? I would imagine they would ripen faster after being removed from their stems.
I only remove from the stems that bunch of grapes that I will be washing and eating at that time. Otherwise, the rest stay on the stem until later. 🙂
Hi! I bought grapes at the supermarket today and noticed the white yuck and freaked out!! I promptly went on the net to find out what it was and I read that it is yeast which is produced by the grape in order to become fermented. I’m not sure if that is accurate, but it sounds much better than sulfur like I read in one of the previous comments!! Anybody agree or disagree?? Thanks hon!
Yes, I’ve read that too! I definitely don’t think it’s something to be afraid of, but I just can’t stand the way it feels in my mouth lol.
Thanks for the info….very helpful article.
Aww, you’re welcome Nazia. And salaam! 🙂
Thank you for sharing this easy and almost effortless way of washing grapes. I have usually just eaten the grapes after a quick rinse and thought that they were supposed to be that way. Now I know otherwise.
Thanks for the info…..
Byron Shelley Injeeli
Great article. Very helpful.
Thanks, Byron! Glad it was helpful. 🙂
Muchas personas leen , les interesan, se llevan la idea, pero dicen nada, ni agradecen ni manifiestan nada.
De cualquier manera me llevo de
este post algunas de las sugerencias que puedo aplicar
en el mío.
Gracias por ello.
I know this is an old post, but I found that dampening the grapes slightly, then coating them with salt/baking soda, and rubbing them in small batches between my palms, removed 90% of the white crap on the outside. Rubbing instead of shaking also keeps them from getting bruised, where an over-zealous shaking could definitely turn your grapes really soft. A sniff of the unwashed grapes told me that it was definitely sulfur. I’d gotten so used to that weird aftertaste on grapes, that I forgot why I loved them so much when I was little! I’m amazed at how good they were after a wash with a little bit of abrasive from the salt/ soda.
Hi I just wanted to make a quick comment about using a little dish soap to clean fruits… You seemed like you felt that was not a good idea. I just wanted to comment that really for most fruits and vegetables it would be no different than washing your dishes and then rinsing them thoroughly. I know that you are promoting natural cleaning products and I think that is great for both washing fruit and dishes but I really don’t think that washing an apple for instance with a little dish soap and your sponge is in some way harmful or in any way ingested when the product is later eaten as long as its rinsed thoroughly. In addition I think it is a very quick easy and thorough way of cleaning fruits and vegetables and would recommend it to anyone that would clean a dish with it. just wanted to mention a slightly different perspective on what it would mean to do that. I agree it sounds off putting at first but honestly so does washing something with vinegar which is probably why so many people refuse to be open minded about it. Good article. Also enjoyed the one about the household cleaning products.
I have one addiction. GRAPES. My favorite is the washed variety. I read all your comments but for me, a nice water rinse with stems intact does the trick. I east them by lbs not each.
Fascinating how universal this grape problem is. What puzzles me is the vinegar and baking soda combination. That’s an acid (acetic. A proven effective ingredient) and a base (sodium bicarbonate). They neutralize each other forming a variety of salt, sodium acetate, and possibly bubbly carbon dioxide. I find it hard to understand how that is more effective.
Pesticide residue on foods is not harmful. Here is an interview with a well respected toxicologist (an expert on what is isn’t toxic) discussing this topic:
I suggest modifying your blog above based upon what you learn from it, so people don’t worry unnecessarily. Thanks!
Thanks for the great tips.
I think the answer to grapes going bad if not eaten right away, is freezing them. They’re delicious, especially in the summer.
Yum, I love frozen grapes! And frozen blueberries! 🙂
I was ready to throw these three pounds of ripe grapes away because the tasted so bitter. This method of cleaning works the best! I tried the water and vinegar and baking soda but the grapes still retained that bitter film. The salt and baking soda rub is the BEST! We are enjoying the grapes right now. Thanks!
The white stuff is called bloom, it’s a good kind of yeast that grows naturaly on the grapes to protect them. It would be good for you if they were organic reasonably rinsed grapes. You do need to wash it off thouroughly if they are not, I would imagine that it soaks up all the pesticides.
Thanks so much. These grapes are awesome now that the residue is gone. You Rock!
Yay! You’re welcome 🙂
Try this, doesn’t have to shake it or anything, just fill a bowl with water, than squeeze some toothpaste and mix it with the water, and soak your grapes in it for about 15 minutes. Works wonder, except this would mean you’ll have to buy more toothpaste!
do you have any idea about fluoride and how it affects your brain? You should NOT do that EVER please… avoid fluoride as much as you can (buy natural toothpaste and drink reverse osmosis water)
When I prepare small quantities of grapes for lunch that day I place them with the stem on in a zip-lock bag, pour in hot water just a little cooler than dishwashing temp and a bit hotter than hand washing temp and close the bag, shake really well and open bag slightly and drain. Then | repeat with cold water to re-chill the grapes. It is quick, easy, doesn’t seem to harm the taste and the water comes off dirty looking
so I think it removes a fair bit of dirt and germs
HERE’S A link about sulfur dioxide which is what the label on the Sam’s grapes listed as a “fungicide”
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5089145 (have to underline)
I guess vinegar/water won’t work because vinegar also has SD in it! Sheesh!
My method for washing grapes is pretty simple. I just fill a bowl with a few inches of cold water, remove the grapes I plan to eat right then from the stem while dropping them into the water, then I spread my fingers out and agitate the grapes between my fingers for a minute or so. They rub against each other and my fingers, removing the waxy residue. The water becomes very cloudy. I drain the cloudy water, add a little more cold water for a final rinse, drain that water and voila, clean grapes.
I’ve never heard of bugs being in the fruit. Do you mean both insects and bacteria/fungi/viruses? Would it be prudent for me use some vinegar in my initial bath of water?
I would definitely use some vinegar in the water bath. That’s what I use when washing most other produce.
Pesticide residue is not harmfull, the dust is bigger concern. The dirt on your hands are more harmfull than the pesticides.
Okay, just finished with my 8 lbs of black grapes and the are air drying a bit now. And then I’ll bag them up for the freezer. I ate one after the wash and it was good – not salty or anything. This works so well that my hands are even clean. Last month when I finished with the wash I had to scrub my fingers with a brush and I could still smell the dirty smell. Must say I’ll need a lot of lotion for them, but I’m psyched about this. I did one thing differently, I used a slurry of the salt, baking soda and probably more than suggested with just a small amount of water just to wet the grapes and then turned them with a large spoon. One other thing, all of the baking soda going down the drain; instant clean. Thanks again.
Hi: I was just sitting here preparing my grapes for the freezer, yes freezer! And I thought that I’d try to see how I can wash them better then twirling them in the salad spinner and found this great info. I had thought of using baking soda [my life long friend], but worried that there might be a saltiness left on them. I’ll still use the spinner to rinse and then remove most of the water. Then I simply put them into quart size ziplock freezer bags and maybe two of those into a gallon size bag and throw them into the freezer. I have frozen grapes each morning or lately since it’s been quite chilly in the morning I’m nuking them on 1 minute and you have never tasted anything so good with your breakfast of choice. Thanks for the help..
Unfortunately this didn’t work on my grapes. I tried the vinegar water soak first. They were bitter still. Then I found this website and tried the salt. And they were still bitter. So I tried the baking soda and salt. They are squeaky clean, but just bad grapes. Still bitter. I was really hoping it would work. It probably will most of the time. I think these are just bad grapes.
And btw ALWAYS soak your veggies and fruits in vinegar/water to take off all the wax and mold, etc. You don’t want to eat that.
And I know better. Grapes, berries and apples are part of the dirty dozen. They soak up pesticides like sponges. It doesn’t matter if it has the wax on them or not. The pesticides still get in. I needed to save money this week. I just wound up throwing them out and wasting money and food. UGH! Oh well, won’t happen twice.
thanks! this is really helpful. i usually eat dirty grapes and the mouth-feel is terrible! good to know something can be done about that. PS congrats on the birth of yr new baby!
Thanks Olivia! 🙂
I just bought some organic grapes, and they were dirtier than I was used to! I washed them all up and my daughter and I had them for dinner. They were amazing! I’ll have to always do this now!
My bf n his kids dont believe in rinsing their fruit thank you for your research and examples to help prove my case 🙂
This worked so well! My grapes were literally squeaky clean after the salt and baking soda!
why not just put them in the dishwasher? wouldn’t that be easier?
lol you right
Thanks alot for the grapes tips. I was washing one by one by brush and was getting at the point of not eating them anymore.
stay at home pops
thanks so much! worked wonders! always wanted to know how to get that film completely off. actually got my fussy eater asking me for more grapes!
Jamie from the Netherlands
Well it is once in a blue moon I actually comment on a blog, but I want to thank you! I found your awesome solution finally after searching for different ways to clean the white residue off of grapes. I love freezing red grapes and eating them, tastes like little popsicles ^^ But I am very ocd when it comes to the white layer on the grape, and I would actually wash them grape for grape to get them clean. It just looks so unhealthy otherwise :c Needless to say, your method pretty much saves me tons of time! I’m so happy I found your blog. God bless! 😉
Aww, that’s great Jamie! Blessings to you as well. 🙂
I wash berries in a 3:1 water/vinegar solution, then spin in a paper-towel lined salad spinner. This not only gets the berries clean, but also kills mold spores. Keeps the berries fresh for a week or more!
You are so exaggerating, Corinne! That pixie haircut is making me want to believe you but the exclamation mark at the end of your sentence appears like you’re pushing it way too much.
Bob, Corinne types the truth! Vinegar/water soak kills the molds spore even on strawberries making them last much much longer. The soak also seems to help keeps gnats down. I’ve never tried the salt/baking soda scrub this blog is discussing. I soak my grapes, stems and all, in a vinegar/water bath then let them drip dry before storing in the refrigerator.
I was wondering about a salad spinner myself. I’ve used it on other fruits and veggies. The grapes wouldn’t go flying while spinning.
very nice easy way of washing grapes. inspired. thank you and god bless you
Wow this worked great. Thx. Does this work with any other fruits or vegetables?
Great, Ebony! You know, I’ve been meaning to try it with blueberries, but haven’t had the chance yet. I would probably only try it on small, round, smooth fruits like that.
You just made me so happy! I just bought a huge bunch of non-organic grapes. I have lots of baking soda around so I just used that without salt. It worked great and I’m a lot calmer about eating them. Thank you!!
P.S. baking soda works great on exfoliating our own skin too.
I’ve washed this bunch of grapes now 4 times: 1 hearty rinse and rub by hand, 1 bowl scrub with salt and baking soda, and 2 very thorough scrubs in a plastic baggie with salt and baking soda trying to rub each grape individually through the baggie…tasting each round. I’m now full of bitter grapes and even though they are better, the remaining little bit of bitter is enough to build up in my mouth after 3 or four grapes. I thank you for your advice, unfortunately my grapes were just too bitter. Dont’ buy Pretty Lady Red Seedless Table Grapes. Nicely designed bag, but a very bitter coating on what would have been a tasty grape…unremovable.
Thanks for the tips! I am a backyard/frontyard grape grower and I NOW KNOW that “No pesticide, no grape”. That is the fact. Visit my blog at http://jongrapevines.blogspot.com if you want to know what I mean.
No grapes in the fridge, but tried this on cherries. It’s amazing how much cleaner they looked & tasted than just rinsing with water & no salty aftertaste on the fruit from the ‘scrub’. I keep some baking soda in an empty spice jar to sprinkle when I need to scrub the pots or the sink. Now I have another use for it. Thanks for the idea.
You’re very welcome! Thanks for sharing that it works for cherries too 😉
I’m going to have to try this! 🙂
For the past year or 2, I have been searching for ways to become all natural and organic with the products I use. There are soooo many different blogs, books, etc., that I don’t even know what to look for anymore.
I’m 39. I grew up in a home where my father was a smoker and also….a crop duster. He’d come home from work, thinking nothing of it, play with us before he’d get cleaned up. I have a brother and 2 sisters. My brother, 1 of my sisters and myself all worked for my dad at one time or another. I can’t BEGIN to list all the health problems my dad and I have. In a quick nutshell about me, I’ve had pneumonia 23 times since 2005. Interstitial Lung Disease. I also have an Undifferintiated Connective Tissue disease. No cures for either, and I will be on powerful medications the rest of my life. My brother has lots of joint pain and has had several lipomas removed. My sister started having thyroid problems her senior year in HS and had 1/2 of it removed at that time. She is now 34 and has had the other half removed.
We’ve all seen specialist physicians. I personally go to National Jewish in Denver, CO. The physicians theory? All the pesticides we’ve been exposed to all these years!!! Said unless our family is just that unlucky and unhealthy, there is no other reason we should all be sick. Our common denominator….the chemicals. I don’t want my kids (tho, 13 and 19 now) exposed to anything they don’t have to be exposed to.
Do any of you know of a good book, or which blogs *in addition to this one, of course, that I should take a peek at? Thanks for reading my rant, and any help is appreciated.
Hi Shannon, sorry to hear about your health problems. Please do not get discouraged and believe that there is no cure. There is no such a thing as incurable conditions. Please listen on you tube “Abraham Hicks “recordings. Start with health and food topics. If it catches your interest, you would want to understand what exactly they are talking about. That is how I got started and then got hooked to it. There is no right or wrong source to rely on, go with what makes sense for you. I use Mercola.com articles as a most trusted source. I only trust, when it comes to cholesterol, fat intake, one site, and I pretty much read all their articles and blogs (cholesterol-and-health.com). Good luck. See in a nut shell, and it is hard to believe at first, you are what you think and feel. And if you believe there is no cure, then so it is. Good luck.
Got to love some Abraham Hicks!!!!
Hi Shannon its all irreversible clean organic fruit and veggies and detoxification , no animal products whatsoever, we arent designed to eat them .Do this and your kids will be healthy and happy keep your colon and bowels clean and your kidneys filtering with herbs and juices and think health not sickness there is nothing incurable, when you hear that from a doctor it means they don’t know how to help you but many do you created it you can heal it .Look at what you are putting in your body and stop it .If you take responsibility for your health then you can change it giving your health away to someone else to fix will never bring you to wellness be blessed and do the work and same goes for your sons.Detox is the word look online there are many great sites Dr Shultz has a great programme as does , Dr Robert Morse happy healing
I read your post, my advice would be, try checking out James Destroy Disease on Youtube, he has corrected many diseases completely naturally. I believe he is a scientist who had his own health issues so he is really into reversing things like heart disease but also knows just a ton about reversing diseases with diet, exercise, and sometimes essential oils. He also tells you what and how to look for the right foods (AKA see through all the bullshit). He does tell you where you can find or buy things if you are looking in some videos but he himself is not selling anything, just giving out great and useful information. He completely changed the way I think about food.
It sounds very much like your lymph nodes need to be cleaned.. I recommend watching some of dr Robert Morse’s videos on YouTube..
You will learn about how the body works, how our lymph nodes filter and more.. I believe you will be able to regain your health back…. Good luck with it..
Thanks for sharing the info. Other websites have suggested using a few drops of washing detergent! Hmmm really makes you wonder what in the world are people spraying or growing our fruits with (that’s if they still qualify as fruits).
Yuck! I saw that being advised too, which is why I really felt I had to share this method, because the last thing I want to be washing my food with is detergent! Thanks for stopping by, William 🙂
Just wanted to say, thanks for the salt, vinegar, and baking soda tips, I’ve been searching for a way to clean my grapes, but dish detergent does not work at all. Thanks.
You’re welcome! 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing this tip! I just cleaned a bunch of grapes this way and all the gray coating magically (well.. it seemed magical!) came off.. I’m thrilled. I think the grapes are coated with sulphur.. that’s what I read.. Could you please share your baking soda/vinegar method of cleaning other veggies? Thank you 🙂
Hi Nilu, I’m so glad you found it magical! It really is, isn’t it? 🙂 Wow, I didn’t know they were coated in sulphur – thanks for sharing that!
My other post on greener household cleaners, where you’ll find the produce wash, can be found here: http://naturesnurtureblog.com/2012/02/07/greener-household-cleaners/
Thanks for stopping by!
Yes sulphur dioxide is a preservative and it’s horrible.
I use baking soda and vinegar to wash the wax off apples. Read somewhere that the acid in vinegar killed or forced out any bugs that hide. Never did salt though
Yep, I wash most of our produce with a vinegar/water mixture (either spray or soak) because vinegar is great for the bugs, as you mentioned. But I never thought to use baking soda on them! Will have to try it 🙂 Actually the salt here is just for the scrubbing action since grape wax is just so darn stubborn!
Bugs????!!!!! What!!!??? This combo of soda & vinegar brings out bugs-that may be inside grape??? Yuk! So can you see these bugs as they wash off? I don’t kno if I’ll ever eat another grape! Washed or not???
Hi Sarah! Thanks for sharing about the grapes! Finally, a way to rid them of pesticide residue! Blessings from Bama!
Hi Bama, you’re very welcome! I was so happy to find this, I just had to share 🙂 Thanks for stopping by – I’ll be checking out your blog tonight!
Unfortunately you can’t actually get rid of the pesticide residue. It gets absorbed by the grape, another reason to buy organic.
Unfortunately this is true, however if you read what constitutes organic in US food laws it still permits very hazardous chemicals to be used as pesticides and fertilizers as long as the are naturally produced and not chemically synthesized. I used to by organic stuff all the time, but after some searching around I am more choosey about which things buy organic. I am a huge fan of farmer’s markets if you can find one and talk to the farmers. There was an episode of Penn and Tellers Bullsh** that you should be able to view on youtube that really got me thinking. If you really look into it your mind will be blown and you will likely be a little angry. They have stretched the meaning of organic so far that all kinds of garbage gets in now. Please do your homework.
The Old-Fashioned Ho
I noticed on my bloggy info that you were linking to me and I wanted to say thanks so much for that, and that I sure like the look of your blog. I admit that these days I have so little time to read other peoples blogs (i have barely enough time to blog myself) BUT I so like the look of what you’re doing here that Ill have to come back to read more. God bless!
Thanks so much for stopping by and for the kind comments – I try to do what I can. And others, including yourself, have been a huge inspiration, so thank YOU!
Looking forward to connecting some more 🙂