According to the dictionary, we can say

She rinsed the dirt off the lettuce.

He rinsed the soap out of the cup.

And we can also say

Rinse (off) the apple before you eat it.

rinse (out) a cup


Rinse the cup out before use.

So, I inferred that if the context is clear, "Rinse off the apple" or "Rinse the apple off" or "Rinse the dirt off" can be used as a short form of "Rinse the dirt off the apple".

And "Rinse out the cup" or "Rinse the cup out" or "Rinse the soap out" can be used as a short form of "Rinse the soap out of the cup".

But that could be ambiguous.

Say there is some fish scales on a cutting board

If we say "Rinse the fish scales off", it could mean "Rinse the fish scales off the cutting board" (the scales is on the cutting board) or ""Rinse the dirt off the fish scales" (there is some dirt on some big fish scales).

Similarly, can "wipe the dirt off" or "wipe off the table" or "wipe the table off" be used as a short form of "wipe the dirt off the table"?

Note: I have a feeling that American people sometimes say "wipe off the table" or "wipe the table off", but that is not common in British. But I am not sure.

1 Answer 1


From a native speaker's perspective, the 'off' is unnecessary as the brackets in you questions quote blocks imply you already know.

Rinse is a synonym for clean. So simply saying rinse the apple is ok.

That said 'Rinse off' is perfectly acceptable as used on idioms dictionary.

Please rinse off your dirty dishes before you put them in the dishwasher.

The adjective dirty here confuses things a little given the nature of the question but it is hopeful clear that 'dirty' is not required in the quoted sentence.

  • 1
    Agreed. It's obvious that the purpose of rinsing the apple is to clean it, so you don't need to mention the dirt (and who would wash fish scales?). Jan 22, 2022 at 8:14

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