A: In a word, no.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
It may seem counter-intuitive to some people, but washing your chicken can actually lead to an increased risk of illness.
The biggest concern with washing raw chicken is the increased risk of spreading foodborne illnesses. Raw chicken and its juices can carry harmful bacteria like Campylobacter or Salmonella, both of which can cause food-borne illness.
When you rinse your chicken under running water, there’s a risk of splashing water that carries that juice – and, therefore, that bacteria – around your sink, your cutlery, nearby food, produce and anything else you have in the vicinity.
If you want to cut down on those juices before cooking, though, you can pat raw poultry with a paper towel as long as you properly dispose of the paper towels and wash your hands immediately afterward. The key is preventing the spread of those raw juices.
To cut down on the risk of spreading harmful bacteria, follow these steps when preparing raw chicken: