Should You Be Melting the Wax Off Your Citrus Fruit?

It's worth knowing how to clean lemons and limes the right way.

Just a small amount of citrus zest brings flavor to any dish, so here’s a quick tip about how to clean lemons and limes. If you’re making a refreshing citrus punch for a party or delicious lemon cookies for a bake sale, the peel will make its way into your drink or dessert. So you might be wondering, should I take the wax off citrus fruits?

Wait—there’s wax on citrus?

Yes! Many fruits naturally produce wax. But after they’ve been picked and washed, the fruit’s natural coat comes off. Artificial wax is then sprayed onto fruit to keep the produce fresh and presentable for grocery stores.

But is the wax safe to eat?

Yes! The Food and Drug Administration has specific guidelines for what goes into waxes and artificial coatings. Plus, the coating is minimally applied, so you won’t eat too much of it. Even though oranges, lemons and limes aren’t part of the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables, you should still wash citrus—even if you aren’t going to use or eat any of the peel. You want to make sure that no bacteria gets into the fruit as you’re cutting it up.

How do you clean citrus?

Some people insist that you need to dewax your citrus, but the process is lengthy and unnecessary. To remove wax, you would need to pour boiling water over the fruit or use a vegetable brush to clean citrus under running water. You can usually skip that messy step.

Instead, just rinse your lemons and oranges under cool water before use. Then, dry them with a towel. It’s that easy!

Now that you know all about washing citrus, learn why you should wash your avocados. You’ll be an expert in cleaning produce in no time.

What to do with your fresh citrus
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Sophia Lo
Sophia Lo is a journalism student at Northwestern University. When she's not writing, editing or creating podcasts, Sophia can usually be found at a ramen or boba shop.