There are countless things around the house the average person forgets to clean. But did you know there are also things people frequently clean, but shouldn't? You can count raw meat among them.

Whether you're making beef, poultry, fish or pork, you may be tempted to give it a good rinse in the sink before you cook it. But rinsing your meat won't kill pathogens or bacteria. In fact, it will just spread them around.

Rinsing your meat introduces harmful germs to your sink and faucet. They get splashed and dripped about, contaminating your countertops, towels, and sponges. The technical term for it is cross contamination. It's like a party, but for bacteria. To avoid cross contamination, don't rinse the raw meat in the sink as you would with produce. Instead, transfer your meat directly from the package to the pan.

Raw chicken.

And that's not the only issue. When you rinse your meat, you're essentially adding moisture to it. This will turn into steam when you're cooking it and have a negative effect on the taste of your food. In other words, that gorgeous cut of meat you bought from the butcher won't taste nearly as flavorful if you rinse it first. What a disappointment.

By now, you're probably wondering how you can safely rid your meat of harmful germs. The answer is easy: all you have to do is cook it. This is the only way to safely eliminate pathogens and bacteria (it's the most delicious way, as well).

A piece of cooked salmon.

If for some reason you still feel you must rinse your meat, sanitize your sink and counters immediately afterward. Be sure to sanitize your sponge or cloth, as well. Then pat the meat thoroughly with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.

Blotting a raw steak with a paper towel.

Now, go forth and cook your meat (and feel free to put our name down for any leftovers).

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