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Whether or not COVID-19 can be transmitted through food packaging is not clear, but according to the CDC, the virus may spread when a person comes in contact with a contaminated surface or object. For grocery shoppers, this could mean items picked up at the store.

To keep yourself and household clean, considering following the tips below for cleaning your groceries during coronavirus. And remember, washing your hands before and after shopping, before and after putting away groceries, and not touching your face are the best things you can do right now.


Avoid contamination at the store and during grocery pickup or delivery.

hand wipes cart to disinfect w sanitizing wipes

Not only should you sanitize shopping carts and baskets as soon as you get in the store, you should also consider bringing some hand sanitizer with you and using it when you pick up items you want to purchase.

Ordering grocery delivery? Ask to have groceries dropped off at your door for a contact-less experience and to avoid direct handoff with another person. If you can, tip electronically.

When choosing grocery pickup, try opening car doors yourself rather than having the grocery attendant touch door handles. And if you need to sign a receipt, carry your own pen.

And again, don’t forget to wash your hands anytime you handle grocery bags and food items. See the complete guide to coronavirus cleaning tips for more information.

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1. Gently rub produce for at least 20 seconds while holding under plain running water.

Two apples being washed over a kitchen sink with a third sitting on paper towel next to it.

According to the CDC, even if you don’t plan to eat the peel, you should be scrubbing fresh produce under regular running water for at least 20 seconds. For firm fruits and vegetables like melons or potatoes, use a clean vegetable brush. And for leafy veggies, like cabbage or lettuce, remove the outermost leaves first and rinse well those leaves you’ll consume.

Dry your fresh produce with a clean paper towel.

RELATED: Best Tips for Making Your Groceries Last Longer


2. Clean groceries by wiping down food packaging with a disinfectant wipe or paper towel sprayed with all-purpose cleaner.

A person cleaning a box of Barilla medium shell past with a Clorox wipe with other groceries piled on the counter behind.

For packaged goods like pasta and canned foods, use a paper towel sprayed with cleaner or disinfectant wipe to clean the surface before storing away in your pantry or cabinet.

3. Clean counters and surfaces after you’ve put groceries away.

Once all your produce, meat, and packaged goods are put away, make sure to wipe down countertops and any surfaces where you’ve set shopping bags and food.



4. Wash reusable grocery bags in the washing machine or wipe down with disinfectant.

A woman throwing reusable grocery bags into a front load washing machine.

If your reusable grocery shopping bags aren’t machine washable, just wipe down with an antibacterial wipe or paper towel sprayed with all-purpose cleaner.


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How to Clean Your Groceries During Coronavirus