New Study Reveals How You Can Wash Chicken Safely

The debate on whether or not to wash chicken prior to cooking has been ongoing for years. While some people swear by it, other experts suggest that doing so could lead to a greater chance of cross-contamination. Hunker reports that a 2013 survey suggested as much as 90% of people wash their chicken prior to cooking, but what is the reason? Apparently, there are a couple: A recipe might call for it, or some think it's a way of washing bacteria away that is living on the chicken's outer layer.

Regardless of why you wash your chicken, should you wash chicken before cooking? Experts generally say no. Since chicken may contain bacteria such as Salmonella, washing it could result in the water splashing those germs elsewhere in your cooking space. This means that kitchen counters, the sink, and potentially even the cabinets could all be sprayed with harmful bacteria as you wash.

If you are set on continuing the practice of pre-washing your poultry, a new study suggests there are ways to do it more safely.

The safest way to wash your chicken

Science News reported that experts performed a study on the safest ways to wash your chicken. It turns out there are a few factors that might help limit the spread of bacteria from the pre-wash.

Consider the water pressure. Using lower water pressure will result in less of a splash compared to higher pressure, so when washing your chicken, keep the sink water flowing at a lower rate. Science News also says to turn the water on gradually so as not to create an initial bacteria splash. Also, consider the depth of your sink: If you have a deep sink, don't let the water travel from the faucet spout all the way to the chicken sitting at the sink's base. Rather, bring the chicken closer to the faucet; this helps avoid splashing, which sends bacteria flying to other parts of the kitchen.

When you're done washing your chicken, don't make the biggest kitchen sink mistake and be sure to clean it properly. Spray kitchen cleaners, such as Lysol, into the sink to kill any germs that the chicken might have left behind.