Here’s How To Properly Clean Potatoes In 3 Simple Steps

In This Article
View All
In This Article
Rinsing Potatoes in Sink

Getty Images

Can you imagine a world without fluffy mashed potatoes, piping hot bakers with all the fixings, or salty french fries? We wouldn’t want to! This beloved root veggie is a staple for some of America’s favorite dishes, and it’s important to treat it with respect and care when cooking for friends, family, and yourself. 

The Idaho Potato Commission’s “Dr. Potato,” which is actually a team of potato experts, explains that it’s important to know how to properly wash potatoes since they are grown in the dirt. While potatoes do undergo some cleaning prior to being shipped out to food retailers across the country, Dr. Potato says there will still likely be some lingering dirt and sand that the consumer will need to clean off upon purchase. Plus, potatoes are often eaten skin-on, meaning there is no protective layer from bacteria, pesticides, and chemicals that they may have been exposed to in the growing or production processes. Even if you are peeling your potatoes before cooking, it’s important to know how to clean them well to keep all these unwelcome pests from contaminating your kitchen and guests.

An important rule of thumb when it comes to cleaning potatoes is to wait to do so until the last second in order to preserve their freshness. They require a three-step cleaning process: washing, scrubbing, and drying, to ensure that they are ready for your gratin, shepherd’s pie, or a sheet pan for roasting.

Step 1: Washing Potatoes

When it comes to washing, Dr. Potato advises ditching the fancy produce washes, soaps, and vinegars, and to simply rinse them with water instead. If you need to clean several pounds of potatoes at one time, let your clean kitchen sink become a soaking tub for the potatoes, and fill it with water until the potatoes are submerged. Dirt and sand will fall to the bottom of the sink without any effort on your end. 

Step 2: Scrubbing Potatoes

Depending on where your potatoes were grown, they’ll need either rigorous or light scrubbing. Idaho potatoes, for example, are grown in sandy or volcanic soil instead of a clay-based one that is more common in states like Georgia, so they will be easier to clean. 

While you can certainly use a dedicated potato or vegetable scrubbing brush for this step, a clean dish towel, paper towels, or even an exfoliating bath and shower glove will do the trick to remove the last bits of dirt. You may need to do two rounds of scrubbing if your spuds aren’t looking pristine after the first rubdown. 

Step 3: Drying Potatoes

Finally, it’s important to fully dry your potatoes after washing and scrubbing, as tossing wet potatoes into the oven can have a negative impact on your final product—especially if you’re going for gloriously crispy fries or wedges. You’ll also want to ensure this process happens pretty soon before cooking time, as the inside of potatoes can oxidize and turn an unappealing brown, like apples do. Even if you’re peeling potatoes, it’s important to take this final step to ensure the best possible texture and quality.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles