How To Clean Blueberries Properly

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You might think that all you need to do to clean blueberries is give them a quick rinse in the sink. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to get rid of all the dirt and bacteria that can accumulate on their skin, and you may damage them.

The best way to wash blueberries is by using a colander inside a bowl of cold water, cleaning your blueberries to remove dirt and debris, then dipping them in a water-vinegar solution quickly before drying.

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to clean blueberries properly so that they’re ready to use in your favorite recipes or as a snack on their own.

Best Way To Clean Blueberries

But before you start washing blueberries, the most important thing of all is to handle blueberries with care. Blueberries are bruised and damaged easily, which will drastically shorten their shelf life in your fridge.

Step 1 – Inspect And Sort

You first need to sort through them and discard any moldy, mushy, dried, or bruised berries.

sorting blueberries

At a grocery store, blueberries come packaged in cartons or plastic containers, which can contain leaves and other debris that may spoil nearby berries. Double-check berries on the bottom and walls of your container.

You also want to make sure that you’re not washing more than you plan on eating because blueberries can go bad quickly after being washed.

Once you’ve sorted through the blueberries and discarded any bad ones, it’s time to give them a rinse.

Step 2 – Clean In Cold Water

Fill up your large bowl with cold water. Cold water will help preserve your blueberries’ freshness, whereas warm water may soften the skins or cause them to swell.

cleaning blueberries in water

Place your strainer or colander in the water, and then add your blueberries a handful at a time. I like to do it this way to help loosen debris and dirt separate and fall to the bottom.

You can also swirl your hand in the water to help, but be careful not to damage your blueberries. Plastic colanders are notorious for having sharp edges.

washing blueberries in sink

Alternatively, you can wash blueberries under cold tap water. However, I find this method may end up damaging your blueberries.

Does Washing Blueberries Remove Pesticides? Washing blueberries can remove some pesticide residues on the outside but won’t remove anything on the inside that has been absorbed by your blueberries.

Step 3 – Drain

Once you feel your blueberries have been washed enough, lift your strainer out of the water slowly. I also jiggle it a little bit to help dirt settle through the holes.

drained blueberries

If your water looks dirty or has a lot of things floating in it, change it before washing more blueberries.

Step 4 – Quick Dip In Water Vinegar Solution (Optional)

This step is optional, but for the best results, I recommend it. The most important part of this step is to not allow your blueberries to soak in the solution too long.

If blueberries are in the solution too long, it could damage their skin, causing them to spoil quicker and absorb the solution, which could make your blueberries taste sour.

Fill a bowl with about 3 cups of water and 1 cup of vinegar. Make sure that this solution is mixed before adding your blueberries. Never pour undiluted vinegar over blueberries.

It’s probably better to use your clean hands for this part. By hand, carefully put your cleaned blueberries in the bowl. Swirl your hand around for about 10 to 20 seconds to move the blueberries, then move on to the drying step.

Why Rinse With Vinegar And Water? Vinegar is acidic, and this solution will help remove more dirt and stuff you don’t want on your blueberries. If some pests manage to survive the cleaning step, this will force them to fall off your berries.

Step 5 – Dry

It’s important to dry off your blueberries because excess moisture will cause them to spoil much quicker, leading to the growth of mold.

The best way to dry them is by lining a baking sheet with paper towels and placing them on top. That way, you can place a thin layer of blueberries and ensure that they are all dry.

If you only shake them dry in a strainer, there will still be a lot of water droplets holding on.

Step 6 – Serve Or Store

Now that your blueberries have been properly cleaned, washed, and dried, you have a decision to make. Resist the temptation of eating them right away or storing them for later.

Blueberries can be stored in the fridge or the freezer to maximize freshness.

how to clean blueberries recipe card

How To Wash Blueberries

With these simple steps, learn how to properly wash blueberries to keep them fresher and longer.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 270 kcal


  • 1 Large Bowl
  • 1 Strainer or Colander
  • 1 Roll Paper Towels
  • 1 Storage Container


  • 1 Pint Blueberries


  • Inspect and sort your blueberries. Discard bad ones.
  • Clean your blueberries in cold water.
  • Drain them.
  • Quickly dip your blueberries in water and vinegar solution (optional)
  • Dry them well with paper towels.
  • Serve or store your blueberries for later.

Written By Justin Micheal

Justin is not just the creator but also an author and editor for KitchenSanity. He does the majority of the cooking at home with his wife. His friends and family look forward to eating his delicious creations, which often leads to many questions about how they can replicate his meals at home. In his writing, he shares his passion and knowledge as a home chef from his kitchen to yours.