Mindy Brashears from the USDA Food Safety division says, "Don't wash the turkey. It's because the water becomes a mechanism to transfer bacteria around your kitchen."
She says there are three ways to can thaw a turkey. Brashears says, "You can thaw it in the refrigerator. We recommend 24 hours for every four to five pounds of the turkey. You can also thaw it in cold water. You can put a small turkey in a microwave. " She says you really need to use a food thermometer.