How To Clean Grapes For Eating Or Fermenting For Wine

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The journey from the vineyards to our supermarkets is a long one, so of course grapes are exposed to all sorts of outside elements. Knowing how to clean grapes is necessary if you want to eat this member of the dirty dozen gang.

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In this article we will share tips on how to clean your grapes naturally and preserve their freshness. We also have some recipes for grape cleaners below that you can try at home!

Table of Contents

Should I Wash Grapes Before Eating?

You should 100% wash grapes before eating them. Grapes are covered in nasty pesticides and bacteria.

Grapes have been found to be a fruit that contains the highest concentrations of pesticide residue. Before the grapes hit our supermarkets, they are either sprayed directly with chemical pesticides or pesticides have been sprayed on the leaves. Pesticides could have also been pumped into the soil.

Both shop-bought and locally-sourced grapes have been found to carry bacteria. This may be because grapes are directly picked from their branches, leaving the stem exposed. This allows bacteria and dirt to enter inside the grape.

It is best to store your grapes unwashed and in your refrigerator. This will keep the grapes fresher for longer. After cleaning grapes, you will have removed the white wax that seals in the grape’s juice and moisture and they will quickly begin to turn bad. Aim to refrigerate your grapes between 33 and 36 degrees fahrenheit. Always store your grapes in a loose fitting bag to avoid bacteria spreading.

Once you have washed your grapes, use them within 24 hours.

different types of grapes in a basket

What Do You Soak Grapes In To Clean Them?

A safe bet when cleaning your grapes is to always soak them in water. The water will remove any dirt that is on the outside of the grapes.

Here is a step by step method on how to clean your grapes with water:

  • Step 1: Place the grapes into a colander and rinse with plain water. Use your hands to move the grapes, allowing the water to get to each grape.
  • Step 2: Fill a bowl full of cold water and place the grapes inside. Allow them to sit in the water for 30 minutes.
  • Step 3: After 30 minutes, drain the grapes and serve.

How Do You Remove Chemicals From Grapes?

Grapes are naturally coated in white wax and carry pesticide residue so it’s important to wash them before eating.

Using natural ingredients like vinegar, flour, water, salt and baking powder will all work to remove chemicals from grapes.

If you do not have time to let your grapes sit in water then you can make a fruit spray. You can use this fruit spray on other fruits like blueberries and strawberries.

Follow this recipe to make a DIY fruit spray that will remove chemicals from grapes.

You will need:

  • Grapes
  • Lemon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Water

Here’s how to make the fruit spray:

  • Step 1: Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon with 2 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar. Add one cup of water.
  • Step 2: Pour into a clean spray bottle.
  • Step 3: Spray on the fruit and rub the mixture in with your hands for less than a minute.
unpicked grapes

Four Alternative Ways To Clean Grapes

1. Clean Grapes Without Vinegar

Vinegar is a great natural ingredient if you want to clean your grapes. But you may want to avoid vinegar due to allergies or even dislike of taste.

We have some alternative natural ingredients for vinegar that you can use to clean your grapes.

The best replacement would be to do a salt wash. A salt water soak is an easy alternative and very budget-friendly.

Here’s how to wash your grapes in a salt wash:

  • Step 1: Place 3 cups of lukewarm water in a glass bowl and add 2 teaspoons of salt.
  • Step 2: Place the grapes in the salt water and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Step 3: Rise the grapes under fresh cold water.

2. Clean Grapes With Baking Soda

Baking soda has a very high PH level of 9, meaning it’s able to strip away dirt and oil. Many people use baking soda as an exfoliator due to this quality.

Applying baking soda to grapes when cleaning will allow the baking soda to deeply penetrate the grapes to remove dirt and bacteria, as well as the wax white coating.

Instead of allowing the grapes to sit in a mixture, it’s best to use the baking soda to scrub the grapes, acting like a soap.

Here is a step by step method on how to scrub your grapes clean with baking soda:

  • Step 1: Quickly wash the grapes under cold running water.
  • Step 2: Place the grapes into a bowl and add 4 teaspoons of baking soda, making sure to cover every grape.
  • Step 3: Place the grapes into a bowl and add 4 teaspoons of baking powder, making sure to cover every grape.
  • Step 4: Stir the baking powder around the grapes and use your fingers to start scrubbing the baking powder onto the grapes.
  • Step 5: Once you have scrubbed for up to 10 minutes, rinse the grabs under water to remove the excess baking powder.

If you are looking for a way to clean grapes without baking soda, then you can try salt instead. Simply replace baking powder with salt in the recipe above.

3. Clean Grapes With Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a common ingredient that people clean grapes with due to its 5-6 % acetic acid. Acetic acid combats bacteria which makes a great natural cleanser. Apple cider vinegar is also known for its antimicrobial properties, which can be super effective at killing bacteria responsible for staph infections.

Want to learn how to clean grapes with apple cider vinegar? We have a simple step-by-step method for you to follow:

  • Step 1: Fill a glass bowl with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of tap or filtered water.
  • Step 2: Add a bunch of white or red grapes to the bowl and let them soak in the apple cider vinegar and water mixture for 25 minutes.
  • Step 3: After 25 minutes, use your hands to move the grapes in the water and wash them more thoroughly.
  • Step 4: Remove the grapes from the mixture. You can dispose of this used mixture.
  • Step 5: Rinse the grapes under water.

This is an effective way of washing grapes to remove the waxy white coating.

4. Clean Grapes With flour

It sounds strange when you hear you can wash something with a dry ingredient, like flour. It may be weird, but it works!

You can use flour as a scrubbing agent, just like baking soda and salt. Flour is very effective as an absorbent, meaning it will absorb dirt and dust on the surface of the grapes. Washing grapes with flour is both hygienic, budget-friendly and safe for the environment.

Thinking of washing your grapes with flour? Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Fill a bowl with 2 cups of water and place the grapes in the water. Use your hands to swish the grapes around in the water.
  • Step 2: Take the grapes out of the water and add 2 cups of flour into the bowl. Mix the water and flour to make a smooth paste.
  • Step 3: Add the grapes to the mixture and use your hands to rub the flour past each grape.
  • Step 4: Once you have scrubbed all grapes, wash the mixture off with water.

We do not advise that any food establishment or restaurant use this method to clean grapes as this cleaning method will contaminate the grapes with wheat, a known allergen.

red grapes and wine

How To Clean Grapes For Wine

When preparing grapes to make wine, harsher natural ingredients, such as citric acid cleaner, clean the bacteria and pesticides off, such as a citric acid cleaner. This citric acid cleaner is natural and will not harm the grapes. The grapes are washed three times. Once soaking in citric acid followed by being sprayed with a mixture of citric acid and water and then washed with clear water. Three washes ensures removal of all the dirt and that the grapes are ready to be crushed.

The Lesson Is To Always Wash Your Grapes

Knowing how much chemical pesticide residue is left on grapes is shocking and the lesson is to always wash your grapes before eating. There are several natural ways including vinegar, flour and baking powder to clean your grapes properly.

How do you prefer to clean your grapes? Do you find one natural ingredient to be the best?


What is the white stuff on grapes?

The white stuff on the outside of each grape is known as “bloom”. Bloom isn’t external dirt or a pesticide, which is great news. Bloom is actually a natural wax that the grape produces to create a protective barrier against bugs and bacteria. Bloom also keeps the grapes healthy and moist as it seals in the juices. Washing with vinegar or scrubbing with salt and baking soda will remove bloom.

Is the white film on grapes safe to eat?

Even though the bloom looks dirty, it’s safe to eat! Although it may taste bitter and you may prefer to wash it off first.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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