Chicken, however, can harbor a potentially fatal bacteria - salmonella. Each year, an estimated one million foodborne illnesses are caused by salmonella, which results in 19,000 people being hospitalized and 380 deaths.
In an effort to get rid of this potentially deadly bacteria, many people wash their chicken. We wash our hands to prevent the spread of bacteria, so it's a strategy that intuitively seems to sense. Except in this case, it's incorrect.
Some people marinate their chicken in an acidic wash (e.g. lime/lemon juice or vinegar). While this works for enhancing the flavor, it still won't kill all the bacteria. The marinade should be treated as contaminated and should be discarded.
After you touch raw poultry, you should always wash your hands. The reason washing works for your hands but not the bird is that the bacteria that ends up on your hands, according to experts from Drexel University, is only a "tiny fraction of what's found on the bird itself." Soap and water washes it away.
Although 50% of people in a study washed their chicken when they went to prepare it, the next time you get the urge, remember - don't. Even though it may feel counterintuitive, the cleanest method of preparing your chicken means not washing it at all.