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5 Best Ways to Sanitize Your Groceries

Stay safe from the spread of any virus or foodborne illness by taking these precautions after grocery shopping.

So you've taken a trip to the grocery store and followed all of the proper safety precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus, and now you're home with your bag of groceries. While your groceries probably seem perfectly safe to touch, it's important to still take proper safety precautions with your food before putting it all away in your home.

Pantry goods don't need sanitizing.

According to the FDA, there has been no evidence of COVID-19 spreading through packaged pantry goods, so you do not have to worry about sanitizing these items. However, if it makes you feel better to wipe down your products and let them air dry on a clean service, feel free to do so. But you don't have to worry about that can of beans or box of cereal transmitting the virus.

As for your other groceries, here are the exact steps to take in order to best sanitize your groceries when you get home from the store.


Wash your hands first

washing hands in kitchen

As soon as you get home, make sure to wash your hands. You don't want to go around touching items in your kitchen, or even touching your face, before washing your hands. The best course of action is to remove your mask, then wash, so you don't touch your mask with clean hands.

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Sanitize your surfaces before unloading groceries

Wiping down metal counter with cloth to clean

Wherever you usually unload your groceries should be properly sanitized first. Use an antibacterial wipe or cleaning spray to make sure the area is perfectly clean before placing your new groceries on the counter.


Put items in the fridge immediately

crisper drawer fridge

Coronavirus or not, it's important to get those perishable foods in the fridge right away before they spoil. While these foods will not transmit coronavirus, it's important you keep them properly stored to avoid any foodborne illness.


Properly wash fruits and vegetables

Washing veggies

It still isn't scientifically proven that produce can transmit the virus, yet it's still important to take all of the right safety precautions. To properly wash your produce, you do not want it sitting in a bath of water. Instead, give it a "shower" and rinse it with cool water. You do not need to wash with soap. Even if your produce needs to be peeled (like carrots or potatoes), it's important to rinse them so whatever bacteria may be on the skin won't end up on your peeler, and then subsequently the inside of whatever you're peeling.


Wipe down containers often

Man eating

Whether your containers are full of fresh produce or leftovers, it's important to be wiping them down often. To keep it safe, you could wipe the outside of the container each time you take it out to ensure that you're properly handling the food in a clean environment before taking it out of the container.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten
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