5 Foods You Should Never Wash Before Cooking, and 5 You Always Should

Since childhood, we have been taught to wash everything we are going to eat. However, very few people know that sometimes this habit does more harm than good. Washing some foods leads to the spread of bacteria and many other negative consequences.


1. Eggs

A special substance is often put on eggs to protect them from contamination by bacteria. Water destroys this protection, so you shouldn’t wash eggs.

2. Chicken

The bacteria on fresh chicken are very dangerous for our health, the most well-known being salmonella. Many people think that washing chicken before cooking helps to solve this problem, but it’s not true. When you wash chicken, the water you use helps the bacteria spread to your hands and the kitchen sink.

If you start cooking it right away, all the bacteria will die. It’s better to boil chicken twice: after the water boils the first time, you should change the water and continue boiling it.

3. Meat

Just like chicken, you shouldn’t wash fresh meat (beef, pork, veal, lamb) because washing helps the bacteria to spread to the kitchen sink and your hands. You can get rid of the bacteria with high temperatures.

Tip: Before cooking, use napkins to remove the meat’s juice from its surface. After that, use soap and hot water to wash your hands.

4. Pasta

It’s hard to tell who thought it was a good idea to wash pasta. Chefs think that washing pasta should be illegal because the water removes the starch that helps to absorb the sauce more effectively.

You can wash pasta only after cooking in case you want to use it in a salad or a wok with the stir-fry technique.

5. Mushrooms

You can’t run mushrooms under water for a long time or soak them, as they absorb water very well. It’s better to rinse them quickly and dry them with a paper towel. You should only do this right before cooking. Otherwise, they will spoil and lose their elasticity.


1. Fruits and vegetables with edible skin

If you see that fruits and vegetables with edible skin are clean and shiny, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to wash them at home. You absolutely have to.

Don’t use soap. Just dry the food with a paper towel or a napkin after a “cold shower.”

2. Tin cans

Bacteria can’t get inside thanks to the lid. But they definitely will if you don’t wash a tin can well before you open it.

3. Fruits and vegetables with inedible skin

No matter how well we peel these foods, the bacteria from the skin will get on the edible part anyway. That’s why you should always wash bananas, melons, watermelons, and other fruits and vegetables with inedible skin before you eat them.

4. Nuts

You should always wash nuts, even if they are peeled. We never know for sure where they were stored and how they were transported. Besides, washing helps to get rid of the phytic acid that fresh nuts contain. It is used to protect nuts from parasites, but it can also harm the human body.

5. Dried fruit

This kind of food is considered to be one of the dirtiest. This is especially true for fruit that is sold by weight. Even if you bought dried fruit in a nice package, you have to wash it first or even soak it for a few hours.

Please note: This article was updated in December 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.


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