I love spring onions (I believe they're called green onions in the US); I use them in salads and to add flavor.

The problem is, whenever I get them from the supermarket, they're filled with dirt. No matter how much I wash them, and spray water inside the little stalks, there is always a considerable amount of dirt inside.

I'm a little bit confused as to what I'm supposed to do with this.

Is there a way to clean the dirt from the green section, apart from doing something nutty such as cutting open each stalk?

Or are you supposed to just eat the dirt?

  • You mean inside the hollow of each stalk?
    – Megasaur
    Jul 22, 2014 at 13:25
  • @Megasaur Yes, exactly. Jul 22, 2014 at 13:26
  • Are you just running water down an intact stalk? Jul 22, 2014 at 13:27
  • @ElendilTheTall Yeah so the water doesn't really flow very well.. Am I supposed to cut them so it becomes a tube? Jul 22, 2014 at 13:31
  • 1
    I think that would be more successful, yes Jul 22, 2014 at 13:32

3 Answers 3


This occurs pretty often with leeks as well. The procedure there is to cut open the stalks lengthwise - i.e. one cut from top to bottom along the long axis. This allows you to fan apart the layers to ease out any trapped dirt.

You could do the same thing with your green onions, assuming you don't mind cutting them lengthwise. If you don't want to cut, you could try soaking them in a sink or pot full of clean water for a half hour or so, agitating them every now and again. The water should get down the stalk and at least loosen up any trapped dirt.

  • Yes, I stopped eating leeks because I got tired of eating dirt! Thanks for the tip! :) Jul 22, 2014 at 15:42
  • 2
    I always just cut my leeks into a bowl of water. The sliced leek floats at the top and all the soil sinks to the bottom.
    – buttlord
    Jul 22, 2014 at 22:04
  1. Pull off old looking outside layers (If you have a problem with eating them)
  2. Chop finely (transverse or at an angle)
  3. Place in a basin of water and rub gently but thoroughly through your hands to loosen the pieces apart.
  4. Allow to sit for a few minutes to allow the dirt to settle to the bottom.
  5. Gently gather them from the top in your two hands and place in a colander. You could use a slotted spoon but hands work better. Don't just drain the basin-full into the colander or you'll mix up the spring-onions and dirt again.
  6. Allow to sit and drain for a few minutes, pat dry if desired.

This method works well for leeks, lettuce etc. Slicing down the middle is an option, especially with leeks but will change the kind of cuts you can achieve and shouldn't really be necessary if you break the material apart with your hands properly.

  • If you get one of the matching colander/bowl sets where the colander rests inside the bowl, just add your chopped veg etc, top up with water to cover, and give a good stir to separate the pieces etc. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes then gently lift the colander out. Provided you don't overfill with veg (i.e. it floats in the water) all the dirt will pass through to the bottom.
    – Greybeard
    Oct 16, 2023 at 14:20

To clean dirt out of the center of Spring Onions:

I use the long brush from a re-usesble metal straw. Run water through the Spring onion, use the straw to break the dirt loose, rinse the Spring onion again. I do all the onions at once. Then I wash the straw, let it dry & store back inside the metal straw.

I cut my Spring onions in sections & store in a glass storage container in the fridge. Whenever I need them, I take out what I need, cut them & use.

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