Please Don't Ever Use Dawn Powerwash To Clean Your Chicken, No Matter What The Moms Of TikTok Say

The long-running debate over whether or not to wash chicken has reached an absurd new height.

a chicken and Dawn Powerwash Elena Zajchikova, Keith Homan /

Everyone has their own cleanliness standards, and everyone has their own ways of cooking. But one mom and TikToker's, shall we say, "unique" methods have people astonished, and they've reignited an age-old debate.

For the love of God, please don't use Dawn Powerwash to clean chicken.

Now listen: I know this is a divisive topic. The debate over whether or not to wash chicken before cooking it has been a central part of Twitter discourse for ages, recirculating every six months or so. 


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In one corner, people say you absolutely must wash chicken before cooking to rid it of all that disgusting slime and bacteria it's coated in. 

In the other corner, people say that's literally what cooking chicken is for, on account of the fact that … well, that is literally what cooking chicken is for! And all other meats, for that matter! Nobody's out here rinsing ground beef in a colander before making a burger! We are humans, not coyotes, and eat our meat cooked in nearly all cases! 


But the usual methods members of Team Wash Your Chicken use — mainly water and vinegar — are one thing. TikToker Kris Hughes' method is quite another, and it has even the most devoted Team Wash members gasping.

The TikToker began her 'Italian parmesan chicken' recipe by cleaning her chicken with Dawn Powerwash like it was a duckling trapped in an oil spill.

Hughes' TikTok initially seems like it's just going to be like any other recipe video. "You all had some great suggestions in my previous videos, so I thought I would try some of them," she said in a voiceover as she flung some chicken breasts into a pan. 




You expect her to begin seasoning and preparing them, but instead of, say, a pepper grinder, she pulls out a giant bottle of Dawn Powerwash and coats the entire piece of chicken in a mountain of suds that, I cannot stress this enough, is for washing dishes and countertops and other things that are not food because food does not need to be washed

Sure, it all rinses down the drain, so it's not really that big of a deal, right? But if you're going to do this, why stop at Dawn Powerwash? Why not throw your chicken in a big bucket of Pine Sol? Heck, why not marinate it in good old-fashioned Clorox?   

Or, as one TikTok commenter put it, "Try the washing machine. Shreds it, too." Another recommended to "soak [it] in Oxi Clean," while others had solutions that kill two birds with one stone. "If you put it in the dishwasher, it washes and cooks it at the same time #lifehacks." 


Honestly, at this point, why not? Better yet, set it on the countertop and have an exterminator come to do that high-heat bed bug treatment that melts every piece of plastic in your house because this is madness! Even people who are firmly Team Wash thought so. 

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Health officials in both the U.S. and Europe say washing chicken actually raises the risk of sickness.

Now, I know I'm making lots of enemies here, but I'm going to reiterate the very simple and obvious truth. 

You know how you can touch the hot water coming out of your tap without ending up in the hospital but you can't touch your stove or oven without needing a skin graft? Then please explain to me how washing chicken accomplishes more than cooking it. This is a breach of common sense! Why are you Team Wash people like this?! 




But more importantly, health officials all over the world say washing chicken is actually more dangerous because it splatters that nasty chicken slime you think you're getting rid of all over your kitchen, in some cases in microscopic droplets. 

That's why everyone from the CDC and USDA to European health officials urge people not to do this — and state that the heat from cooking it is good enough. 


In fact, improperly cooked chicken and cross-contamination during preparation are the two main causes of foodborne illness when it comes to chicken. The inside of the chicken is full of bacteria your Dawn Powerwash can't reach, after all. And cross-contamination is literally what you're doing when you wash it first! 

Still, for tons of people all over the world, it's standard practice — even Julia Child washed her chicken — so Team Wash will surely not be dissuaded. But can we at least, in these divisive times, agree that using Dawn Powerwash is ACTIVELY INSANE? 

Let's save the Dawn Powerwash for its intended purpose — cleaning the dishes you used to cook the bacteria out of the chicken in the first place!


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.