Should You Wash Chicken Before You Cook It? A Chef’s Opinion

Should you wash chicken before you cook it? It is not recommended to rinse the chicken prior to cooking it. This is usually thought to get rid of any bacteria that may be present on the chicken’s skin however, it can result in the bacterium getting splashed all over kitchen counters as well as the sink and could increase your chance of getting food poisoning in certain situations.

Have you been told that people wash their chickens prior to attempting to cook it? There are many people who do this however is it an ideal idea or should you steer clear of doing it?

Proper handling is crucial to ensure that your meat is safe. You must determine whether you should rinse the meat prior to cooking it, or not.

Key Overview

  • Washing chicken to reduce bacteria is a common practice.
  • However, USDA says washing is unnecessary and can increase the risk of food poisoning.
  • Proper cooking kills all bacteria in chicken, eliminating the need for washing.
  • Washing can spread bacteria from raw meat throughout the kitchen.
Raw chicken on a chopping board. Credit: Unsplash
Raw chicken on a chopping board. Credit: Unsplash

Should You Wash Chicken Before You Cook It?

Raw chicken shouldn’t be scrubbed before cooking it. This can help remove some bacteria from the meat but it’ll rinse it off into the sink, and it could splash it onto other foods you prepare.

The USDA doesn’t recommend washing chicken prior to cooking it. Cooking is enough to rid the bacterium when you cook it at the right temperature prior to serving.

Chicken should be cooked to a temperature of at least 165 degrees F which is enough to kill any bacteria present in the meat.

You might think that washing a portion of chicken doesn’t transfer the bacteria far however it has been proven that droplets can spread up to 50 centimeters across the entire direction and cause cross-contamination with other food items and therefore should be prevented.

Even if just small drops of water splash on your food counter or other items could be harmful.

Food poisoning is extremely uncomfortable, and in certain situations, can result in hospitalization.

Even in less serious instances, the illness can trigger nausea, fevers headaches, and diarrhea, as well as other signs, so you must be cautious to stay clear of it.

How Should You Prepare Chicken?

Because of the risk of bacterial infection due to the bacterial risk, you must be cautious when dealing with chicken. It is recommended to use a cutting board that is exclusively dedicated to raw meat and employ a special knife. Avoid placing food items, vegetables, or any other things on this board. Also, clean it thoroughly after use.

This can reduce the risk of spreading bacteria across the kitchen and also reduces the risk of food poisoning. Also, make sure you wash all the utensils and dishes you’ve used, and the counter you’ve prepared the chicken on.

It is also essential to cook your chicken correctly. So long as the chicken is in good condition and is cooked to the right temperature to ensure that it’s cooked through it, it’s safe to consume.

The high temperature kills any bacteria and guarantees that the chicken is safe to eat.

A few people make use of the texture or color of the meat to determine whether the chicken is cooked. However, the most secure and reliable method is to utilize the highest-quality meat thermometer.

Although clear juice and the absence of pink meat suggest that the chicken has been cooked properly, it’s ideal to use a meat thermometer to confirm that the chicken is cooked through.

Should You Use Soap to Wash Chicken?

If you’re washing your chicken, be sure not to make use of detergent. It won’t ensure the safety of the chicken and could leave residues of detergent on the flesh. This can ruin the flavor of the chicken and could cause it to be unsafe to eat.

It is best not to clean chickens, however, you must ensure that you only wash them with water. it in. Also, you should thoroughly wash the counters around the sink with soapy, hot water after you’ve cleaned the chicken.

It is recommended to cleanse your hands with soap, warm water, and a little water prior to touching any other food items. This is the same for any time you touch raw meat.

Why Do Some People Wash Chicken?

Although it’s not advised to wash chicken, a lot of people do. This could be due to misinformation or the force of the habit. Many people think that washing the chicken eliminates bacteria, so they clean it up, not realizing that it could cause issues.

If you know someone that cleans their chicken prior to cooking it, it could be worthwhile to inform them that it is unnecessary and could be risky.

Refer them to USDA’s guidelines for cooking chicken correctly to ensure it’s safe to consume.

Can You Wash Spoiled Chicken Before Cooking It?

If you find that the chicken you have in your refrigerator is older. You might be thinking about what you can do to clean it in order to ensure it’s suitable for consumption again. But, it is not recommended to do this.

If a piece of chicken has passed the point where it is safe to consume It is advised not to attempt to eat it regardless of how you cook it.

Washing does not reduce the number of bacteria present in your chicken even though it removes some of them from the surface.

The bacteria will spread throughout the chicken and can make it unfit to consume. Also, you cannot cook safely the chicken as the bacteria have created toxins in the meat.

Even if the bacteria have been destroyed by cooking but these toxins may cause you to become sick when you consume the chicken.

You can tell when the chicken is not safe to eat through the texture and smell. If it is slimy or is sour or has an unpleasant smell, you should avoid eating it.

If you also observe any signs of mold or discoloration in the flesh it’s unfit for consumption and must be thrown away. The washing process is not enough to make it safe to eat again.


Do Chefs Wash Chicken?

Some chefs may wash chicken before cooking, but it is not recommended by food safety experts.

How Do You Clean Raw Chicken Before Cooking?

It is not recommended to wash raw chicken before cooking as it can spread harmful bacteria. Instead, cook the chicken to the proper temperature to kill any bacteria.

Is Raw Chicken Rinse Necessary?

No, rinsing raw chicken is not necessary and can increase the risk of foodborne illness.

Do You Need to Wash Chicken UK?

No, it is not necessary to wash chicken in the UK or anywhere else. Proper cooking is sufficient to kill any bacteria present in the chicken.


The washing of chicken was a popular routine for a few years due to the belief that it helped reduce bacteria that were present in the meat.

However, it is not the case. USDA says that if the chicken is cooked properly, it will kill all bacteria, without the need for washing and washing can increase the chance of food poisoning since it can spread bacteria that are present in the raw meat throughout your kitchen.

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Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.