Natural raw peanuts come packed with soil and dirt and must be cleaned before consumption. Though the shell isn’t edible, cleaning your peanuts has numerous benefits. But how should one go about it?

Here’s how to clean raw peanuts:

  1. Gather peanuts in a bowl or dish.
  2. Run warm water over the peanuts.
  3. Toss the peanuts in the water to remove dirt.
  4. Strain peanuts from water and remove them from the bowl.
  5. Add fresh water and repeat the process 2-3 times.
  6. Add salt to the water.
  7. Soak peanuts and rinse.
  8. Pat peanuts dry.

Below, we will go in-depth about each of the above steps and include some tips and tricks to getting your peanuts clean. Then, we will explain why you should clean your peanuts in the first place. 

1. Gather Peanuts In A Bowl or Dish

When cleaning raw peanuts, try to find a bowl or dish that’s not only big enough for your entire collection but can fit a good amount of water in it with some wiggle room. You can use a big salad bowl, a stockpot, or a big piece of Tupperware. 

The most important part of the dish you use is that all of your peanuts can be covered by 1” – 2” (2.54 – 5.08 cm) of water with some wiggle room.

If you must use a smaller bowl, you will want to make sure you have a drip tray or something underneath the bowl. Otherwise, you will get water everywhere. The process requires you to shuffle the peanuts around quite a few times, which might displace some water and dirt. 

Peanuts on a table

2. Run Warm Water Over the Peanuts

Once you have your bowl set up, and the peanuts are in there, run some warm water over them. This works best if you have the bowl under a sink or a hose, but you can run a pitcher of lukewarm water over the peanuts as well.

The temperature of your water is essential. 

Hot water is better at sanitizing than cold or warm water. However, the peanut cleaning process requires your hands to be in the water moving around the peanuts, so you must be comfortable. Too warm water might burn your hands, and too cold water wouldn’t feel good either. 

Additionally, unless you plan on boiling your peanuts later, using water that’s too warm might boil your peanuts.

You also want to make sure you’re not adding too much water, as it should be covering the peanuts, but not so much that they’re floating around. For the following steps, the peanuts need to be compact. 

3. Toss The Peanuts In The Water To Remove Dirt

Start tossing the peanuts. Peanut shells are so hard and rough that just pushing the peanuts together with water as a lubricant can help remove dirt from the shells. Put your hands into the water and begin tossing the peanuts around, letting them hit against each other. 

If you don’t want to use your hands, you can use a pair of tongs or utensils to move the peanuts around. However, for the sake of rinsing the peanuts thoroughly, your hands indeed might be the most accessible tool. 

You can also wear dish gloves if you don’t want to get your hands wet.

4. Strain Peanuts From Water and Remove From The Bowl

Once your water has turned murky and brown, you will strain the peanuts from the watering bowl. 

You can use a regular pasta strainer and dump the dirty water over a sink, or you can use your hands or a utensil to remove peanuts a few at a time. After removing the peanuts from the bowl, get rid of the dirty water and rinse to get any lingering soil out of the bowl. 

5. Add Fresh Water And Repeat Process 2-3 Times

After removing the peanuts and cleaning the bowl, re-add the peanuts to the bowl and repeat this process a few times. Each time, the water should be cleaner and cleaner. You likely will only have to do this twice, and possibly three times if it’s an extra dirty batch. 

Once the water seems to run pretty clean, you’ll move on to your last rinse. 

6. Add Salt To The Water 

On your last rinse, add some salt to the water. You can use any kind of salt, including table salt, but kosher or coarse salt works better. Adding the salt can help erode any remaining soil and dirt on the peanuts. 

Salt is an abrasive material, which is why it can be helpful for cleaning. For this reason, bigger chunks of salt will work better, but any will suffice. 

7. Soak Peanuts And Rinse 

Let the peanuts soak in the saltwater and then toss them again. This time, try to pay extra attention to any lingering dirt and knock these peanuts against others. If there is still dirt on some peanuts, you can try to get it off with your hands or a dedicated toothbrush. 

Then, you will rinse and remove them from the bowl one last time. 

8. Pat Peanuts Dry 

When you are all done, and the peanuts are clean, you need to pat them dry. Do not skip this step, as peanuts are textured with many ridges, so little pools of water will remain if you try to let peanuts air-dry. 

Though it might not seem like a big deal, it could give you soggy peanut shells, which make peeling and cracking challenging to do. 

Do I Need To Clean Raw Peanuts?

If the above steps seem tedious, you might be wondering if you even need to take these steps. Do raw peanuts have to be cleaned?

You do need to clean raw peanuts. The shells might not be consumed, but dirt and soil can get inside during cracking if the peanut isn’t clean. You should make sure any dirt and soil are cleaned off the peanuts before you add them to your favorite recipes or season them for cooking. 

You clean carrots from your garden, and you always make sure to wash your lettuce, so peanuts should be no different. 


The process of cleaning peanuts can be tedious but is pretty straightforward. You just need a bowl and some water to do a good cleaning, but a bit of salt can go a long way in a thorough clean. 

Don’t forget to pat your peanuts dry once you’re done cleaning them so that they don’t get soggy. Once your peanuts are clean, they’re ready to be consumed or added to any number of dishes.

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