You've Been Cleaning Lettuce Wrong This Whole Time

Washing lettuce probably isn't anyone's favorite kitchen chore – it can be tough to hit all of its little crevices and make sure it actually gets clean. One shortcut you can use is buying pre-washed greens, although, according to Oxo's website, if you want to err on the safe side, it's probably best to re-wash those anyway. So while there's not really any way around it, there are methods for washing your lettuce that are better than others, and the best one uses a salad spinner.

The Kitchn tested out three different methods of washing lettuce (soaking in cold water, soaking in a colander in the sink, and soaking in a salad spinner), and found that the salad spinner method was the best for cleaning greens. All you have to do is fill the spinner with cool water, add greens to the basket, and gently spin them. Give them a few minutes to soak, then spin again, pull out the basket, and drain the water. This method got rid of the most dirt, though the lettuce leaves need one more rinse to be completely clean.

If you don't already have one, investing in a salad spinner will pay off because using one is also a quick way to dry your greens once they're clean. Compared to three other drying methods, salad spinners also came out on top in The Kitchn's test. According to Oxo's website, once your lettuce is clean, just add it back to the salad spinner and give it a few whirls to spin off the extra water.

How to wash lettuce without a salad spinner

You're not completely out of luck if you don't have a salad spinner, but you might have to put in a little extra elbow grease. The Spruce Eats recommends just filling a large bowl with cool water and allowing your greens to soak for a few minutes. You can swirl them around in the water with your hands to help encourage the dirt to drift to the bottom. Then, lift the lettuce out of the water with your hands (don't dump it in a colander, or you'll just end up pouring dirty water back over your clean lettuce).

After that, you don't need a salad spinner to dry your lettuce either. According to The Spruce Eats, another good way to dry off greens is by laying them all on top of paper towels or a kitchen towel, then rolling up the towel so the lettuce is completely covered. Any extra water will get absorbed, and you won't have to worry about dampness causing your lettuce to wilt prematurely. A salad spinner will save you some time though, so if you have one, it'll make washing and drying your lettuce a snap.