How To Clean Potatoes Without A Scrubbing Brush

Potatoes are delicious in just about any form, whether they're baked, mashed, roasted, or fried. However, before you can make a perfect baked potato or a crowd-pleasing mashed potatoes, it's important to give your spuds a good scrub. The skins of potatoes can have stubborn dirt on them, and if you don't have a dedicated vegetable scrubber on hand, fret not. You can easily slough the grime away using nothing but a clean dish towel.

Since potatoes grow underground, they can harbor a wealth of unappetizing dirt, bacteria, and pesticides on their exteriors, which is why washing them thoroughly is crucial. Even if you don't plan on consuming the skins, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends scrubbing vegetables like potatoes under running water to keep the insides from becoming contaminated when you peel or cut into them. Before you grab your dish towel and start scrubbing, be sure to wash your hands first to keep any germs from spreading to the spuds.

Use a dish towel to scrub the gunk away

You don't need a fancy vegetable scrub brush or a bottle of produce wash to clean your potatoes. In fact, the CDC warns against using the latter, because the cleaning agents in some products may contain toxic chemicals that seep into the veggies. All you have to do is use a clean dish rag as you would a brush, gently scrubbing away any dirt by rubbing the potatoes in a circular motion. Pay special attention to dirt that may be lurking in the crevices of the potatoes, as many spuds have uneven shapes that can be harder to clean.

Don't have a clean dish towel or rag on hand? You can also use paper towels or even exfoliating gloves (again, so long as they're clean) to rid your potatoes of any grime. Once you've given your spuds a thorough cleaning, cut off any eyes or sprouted parts that may be present, then give them another good rinse before patting them dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.

You can soak your potatoes to loosen dirt

If your potatoes are heavily soiled or laden with stubborn dirt spots that won't easily scrub away, you can also soak your spuds in water for about 15 to 30 minutes before cleaning them. This will also help rid them of any excess starches, such as amylose molecules, which can cause your taters to cook unevenly. It's important to note that hot water can activate these starches, so be sure to use cold water when soaking. 

Although you may be tempted to give all your potatoes a rigorous scrub when you get home from the market, washing all your potatoes and then storing them for later is not recommended. The added moisture can cause bacteria and fungus to fester on the spuds. Your potatoes will last longer if you only wash them right before using them, so only wash as many as you need at a time.