How Do you Clean Dishes That Touched Raw Chicken?

Working with raw chicken is a well-known health risk in the kitchen, as it can contain dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella or Campylobacter.

By using appropriate kitchen techniques, you can control the risk carried by raw poultry and prevent the occurrence of food-borne illnesses.

The purpose of my post is to explain how to properly clean the kitchen equipment you use when preparing raw poultry.

Kitchen equipment that has come into contact with raw chicken must be washed with hot, soapy water. 
When washing dishes manually, use a dish brush rather than a sponge. In any case, you should start washing with the cleanest dishes and leave the most contaminated dishes for the end.

If you use a dishwasher, select the hot water cycle. The strong dishwasher detergent and high temperature can thoroughly clean your dishes that have been in contact with raw chicken.

All soaps and detergents act as surfactants, which means they loosen dirt and germs from surfaces. The soap traps these bacteria and other impurities in micelles, which are then easily washed off with water. Regular hand washing soaps, dish soaps, and detergents, therefore, don’t kill bacteria, but physically remove them.

How do you clean surfaces after raw chicken?

After processing raw poultry, all affected kitchen surfaces, including the sink, should be cleaned with warm, soapy water and a clean dishcloth. Do not use this dishcloth for any other purpose afterward, because it can spread germs.

After washing our kitchen surfaces with soapy water, wipe them clean and dry them with disposable wipes or paper towels.

Kitchen towels and dish sponges are usually the most contaminated items in the kitchen, capable of spreading bacteria. Therefore, they must be changed often and washed with the hot water cycle of your washing machine. You can additionally disinfect kitchen textiles by using bleach. Talking of kitchen sponges, you may wish to read what causes kitchen sponges to smell bad so quickly.


Bacteria can be present on the surface of chicken meat as well as inside it. These bacteria can spread from our hands and the tools we use to other clean kitchen surfaces, as well as to the rest of our living space. This is called cross-contamination.

It is important to mention that raw meats, including seafood and poultry, should not be washed before use, as water contaminated by them can transfer bacteria to clean kitchen surfaces.

Why is it important to use separate cutting boards for raw meat?

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Using plastic cutting boards for raw meat can be a better solution than wooden boards. Wood is a porous material that easily absorbs and retains juices from raw meat, which can lead to bacterial growth. Plastic cutting boards can be easily washed manually or in the dishwasher. Check out our recommendation on Amazon.

Bamboo cutting boards are also suitable for cutting meat. They are made of natural and eco-friendly materials like these available on Amazon. Their material is non-porous, so they do not easily absorb juices from raw meat, and they do not dull knives either. However, bamboo cutting boards can only be washed manually, as they are not dishwasher safe.

Washing hands under running water

The use of worn, damaged cutting boards, regardless of their material, is not hygienic, so it is recommended to replace them with new ones from time to time.


It is best to use separate cutting boards for different types of food. The simplest solution is to work with plastic cutting boards of different colors, so you don’t mix them up. Raw meat, seafood, and poultry, as well as vegetables, should not be cut on the same cutting board as uncooked food, such as bread or cheese.

The use of color-coded cutting boards according to the HCCP food safety system is particularly important in the catering industry in order to prevent cross-contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and allergens.

How long does raw chicken bacteria live on surfaces?

Of the bacteria commonly found in raw poultry, Campylobacter can survive for 4 hours, Escherichia coli for 24 hours, and Salmonella for up to 32 hours on kitchen surfaces. The spores of the bacterium C. perfringens can survive for a long time even in unfavorable conditions.

Salmonella is often present in raw chicken meat and can cause serious, even fatal, food poisoning. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever.

Campylobacter infection occurs more often in the summer months. It causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. The infection often goes away on its own, but there are cases that require antibiotic treatment.

Some strains of Escherichia coli cause milder, diarrheal infections in humans, but there are also dangerous types that can even be fatal.


The bacterium Clostridium perfringens produces spores that can survive for long periods in an inactive state and are not destroyed by cooking. They resist not only heat but also dehydration.

The spores can become active in cooked foods stored at unsafe temperatures between 40°-140°F/4°C-60°C. It causes abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Can you put stuff that touched raw chicken in the dishwasher?

Dishes that come into contact with raw meat can be washed in a dishwasher, as it uses a harsh detergent and higher temperatures than can be tolerated during manual dishwashing.

The dishwasher can clean our kitchen equipment more thoroughly than manual dishwashing. However, it is important to scrape and remove all visible soil from our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. And while we are on the subject of dishwashers, find out if it’s a good decision to buy one.

Can bacteria survive the dishwasher?

Hot water cycles run at 140-167°F / 60-75°C. Salmonella and most other bacteria are killed at 150°F/65°C. Most dishwasher detergents also contain chlorine, which helps disinfection.

The most important advantage of using a dishwasher is that after the food residue has been completely washed off the dishes, bacteria will not find a favorable breeding ground for survival and activity.

Learn why is it important to wash your hands often

How long should you wash your hands after touching raw chicken?

Hands should be washed for 20 seconds in all cases, including after contact with raw chicken. Using simple hand-washing soap is perfectly fine. The use of antibacterial hand-washing products is unnecessary and can even be harmful.

When washing your hands correctly, it is important to wet your hands first, and then rub them thoroughly with soap to lather up. Rub the soap over the entire surface of the hand, including the palm, wrists, between the fingers, and under the nails. Finally, the soap should be thoroughly rinsed off your hands with clean water. In the last step, dry your hands with a clean towel or a disposable paper towel.

Key takeaways

It is important that you never wash raw chicken or other meat before use because it will contaminate the kitchen sink and other surfaces.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after working with raw meat.
  • Use separate cutting boards and equipment for processing raw meats and slicing uncooked foods.
  • Kitchenware that comes into contact with raw meat should be thoroughly washed with hot soapy water manually or in the dishwasher.
  • After working with raw poultry, wash the kitchen counter and the sink thoroughly with hot, soapy water, then wipe clean and dry.

And if you are concerned about germs in your kitchen, you may be interested in my article about the benefits of good food hygiene.

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