When I buy apples at the market, they always feel sticky. When I buy apples at the supermarket they feel smooth. When I was younger we had an apple tree, and I don't remember the apples being sticky.

The apples taste fine, but no matter how well I wash them, they feel sticky. Is there a reason for this? And should I clean them with a towel after washing? (The only way I can get them less sticky). I assume there is nothing wrong with the apples?

I live in the Netherlands, if that matters.

2 Answers 2


It's wax. Apples contain wax in their peel naturally and the amount varies between different varieties. Some don't feel waxy at all. It is there to prevent the fruit of drying out and the industry sometimes adds wax as well (especially to fruits that will be exported long distances), to keep them fresh longer.

As for removing the wax, you could try this.

  • I couldn't find any information on apples' skin containing wax naturally. Can you share any source for this statement? Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 14:13
  • 2
    @KristinaLopez: My main source is in Swedish, but I also found this, which seems to be a reliable source: postharvest.tfrec.wsu.edu/pages/N2I2A ("The natural wax on apple fruit contains about fifty individual components belonging to at least half a dozen chemical groups. Two major classes of chemicals are often found. The major cyclic component of apple fruit wax is called ursolic acid and is highly water repellent.")
    – citizen
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 15:26
  • Thanks citizen, I enjoy learning something new. Thanks for the link! Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 15:32
  • 4
    In addition, the wax coating on in supermarket apples is a uniformly applied coating of (usually) carnuba - an edible food-grade wax that you can remove with a quick dunk in simmering water, like you would before making candy apples.
    – Kogitsune
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 16:15
  • 1
    industry sometimes adds wax is an understatement. Mass harvested apples have wax added to them. Example youtube.com/watch?v=mJXP4da1XVw
    – Paulb
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 4:08

I have 2 apple trees. The softer, squat, mild tasting one seems oily as it ripens in storage. The other, a hard "apple" shaped one doesn't wax at all, but eventually shrivels. I'm told the ethylene from ripening loosens the wax off the apple, feeling oily.The other variety maybe has no wax. Neither tree is sprayed.

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