Automated banana cleaners: an honest appraisal

Screenshot of a selection of products on Amazon, described as banana cleaners. The photos of the products depict a banana in a machine which is wrapped around the banana, with indications of an up/down movement.

There has been a fair amount of discussion of the various banana cleaners that one can purchase from Amazon.

What has been lacking to date is a detailed review. And, as someone who is very kitchen positive, I felt I should pick up the mantle.

Should you clean your banana?

This is about machines for cleaning bananas, not whether or not you should - it’s entirely up to you whether your clean your banana.

Some people do. Some do not. Whichever you prefer is fine.

Picking the right banana cleaner

Banana cleaners come in different forms.

The ones in the image about are automated but handheld. You need to hold it while in use. And, since it is a loop, you need to move it up and down the banana to get the full effect. This allows for more scope for focussing on specific bits, but requires more active involvement on your part.

For not much more money, one can instead by a surface-mounted, fully-automatic, banana cleaner, leaving one’s hands free.

If you do opt for one of the surface-mounted, fully-automatic units, bear in mind that they’re typically a closed tube, rather than loop, and they appear to be designed for the smaller banana. If your banana is too long, the cleaner will repeatedly bang the end while in motion. This doesn’t do your banana any good, and could result in unfortunate bruising to the end of it.

I understand that one can also get non-automated banana cleaners - think a tubular scrubbing-type device - but these are not covered here.

The more you clean, the messier it gets

Banana cleaners tend to come with a small sachet of soap-like liquid, but probably only a small amount. If you plan on using it regularly, you’ll need to source your own.

And here’s the inherent contradiction. If you put this on your banana before you put it in the machine, your banana does not come out of the machine any cleaner. In fact, quite the opposite - the machine just smears it all over your banana. What a mess.

Worse, if you leave your banana in the cleaner for too long - which varies from banana to banana - it can get even messier.

Don’t use a banana cleaner if you don’t want to tidy up after yourself.

Does it give a good clean?

This is very subjective, as different people have different expectations and preferences.

Most banana cleaners come with various modes, often including a rapid mode for a faster cleaning. It’s a matter of choice which you pick.

How long does the battery last?

Different machines have different batteries, and different settings consume different volumes of power, so it is impossible to be precise.

If you just use it for a quick clean, you’ll get multiple cleanings out of it. But probably sensible to charge it anyway, so it doesn’t power off before you are ready, as that would be a nuisance.

How noisy is it?

A automated banana cleaner is considerably noisier than doing it by hand.

Fine if you don’t need to worry about noise, but if you are an early riser and want to use it to while a partner or flat mate is still sleeping, it might be a bit too loud.

Obviously, you are responsible for your own reaction to the cleaning, especially if you are particularly pleased with it.

Is it worth it?

Like many gadgets, there’s an ostensible appeal to it.

But, frankly, if you want to clean your banana, and if you have the mobility to do so, in most circumstances, it’s probably better just to do it by hand. Or ask someone to help you. Your banana cleaner will probably end up in the back of a drawer somewhere.

But bear in mind you don’t need to use it all the time, or use the same mode every time. If you keep your banana cleaner for a special occasion, that’s fine. If you prefer to use it daily, or more, that’s fine too. It’s yours!

Of course, there’s a degree of ableism here. Not everyone can do it manually. For those, an automated banana cleaner - particularly, one which can be mounted to a smooth surface for hands-free operation - may be just the ticket.

Coming soon

A future blogpost: which waxing strips are best for dealing with your unwaxed lemons.


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