Should you wash your chicken eggs?

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by brenda on July 17, 2013

This is a question that is up for debate! There are different theories on the subject.

The short answer?

No.

Chicken eggs have an invisible membrane around them called a “bloom,” and as long as the bloom is intact, bacteria (good or bad) will not get into the egg. If you wash your eggs, you risk the chance of making them more porous, so that bacteria can get inside of the egg. The bloom protects the quality of the egg and keeps it fresh longer. If you plan to go camping and do not want to refrigerate your eggs or stick them in a wet, icy cooler, don’t wash them.

The other short answer?

Yes.

Unless your coop was built perfectly and you keep it spotlessly clean, your eggs are going to be dirty. There will be poop, dirt, pine bedding, and feathers on your eggs, maybe occasionally, and maybe often. If you live in Oregon, where it rains often, your chicken eggs are more likely to get dirty than they might in a drier location. I personally don’t like cracking poopy, muddy eggs into my breakfast skillet. 🙂

Customers like clean eggs. If you’re selling your eggs at the farmer’s market, you might get the super-educated person who asks you for unwashed eggs. But MOST of your customers are going to want clean eggs.

So, if you want to wash them, how do you wash them the right way?

1. Wait until you’re going to use them or sell them. Letting them sit with all of that junk on them isn’t pretty, but it does not hurt the eggs. Just keep them out at room temperature, in a basket in your utility room (or somewhere out of sight, if they bother you) until you are ready to use them.

2. Use sand paper or a Green Scouring Pad (this is what we use). First, try to scrape the junk off with a dry scouring pad or sand paper.

3. If the stuff does not come off dry, use room temperature water to wash off your eggs and scrub them with a green scouring pad.

4. Make sure to throw away your green scouring pad often–weekly or monthly, whatever you choose. It’s gross to use the same one over and over!

5. Do not use bleach, or soap on your eggs.

6. If you are cleaning a lot of eggs to sell at the farmer’s market and you want shiny, clean eggs to sell, use an egg washer like this, the day you are headed to market (or maybe the day before, but not much sooner than that). Do not put any chemical solutions in your egg washer. The main ingredients (without the chemicals) in the egg washing solution are: citric acid and yeast. We use 1 Tablespoon of citric acid and 1 teaspoon of yeast for a full basket of eggs. The egg washer does not clean the eggs completely, it simply loosens the dirt. We then use a green scouring pad to scrape off the dirt/poop. This process results in beautiful, clean eggs!

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What are your thoughts? Do you wash your eggs?

 

 

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

bobbie July 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Only when they are quite poopy and only just before using :). Then I just wash w/ the same biokleen produce wash I use on fruits and veggies.

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Keith Jones July 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I didn’t even think about it. I just wash them and lightly dry them with a paper towel. The only thing ours usually have is some pine bedding. The girls are pretty good about not pooping in their boxes. I was really curious about the room temp thing though. We just refrigerate ours out of habit. How long will they keep if they aren’t refrigerated?

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Lynn Pushaw Spence April 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm

You can keep eggs for a couple of months at least at room temp if you don’t wash them. To check freshness, place them in a bowl of water. If they lay on the bottom or tilt up a bit, they are still very fresh. If they are floating on the top, toss them out.

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BOB July 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I simply rinse off the crud in cold water & store them in cartons in the fridge. A quick rinse is usually sufficient to get the crud off but if not, I use Celadon Road’s fruit and vegatable wash (which is all natural and organic so it doesn’t change the all natural and organic quality of my eggs) to make my eggs nice and clean. 🙂

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AradiaFarm September 5, 2013 at 5:46 am

We wash our eggs just before we deliver them to a customer. We use an egg washer with an all natural cleaner. After the washer we don’t really have to scrub to get the dirt off, we just give them a quick rinse and they are clean. We try to avoid scrubbing any of the eggs if possible in an attempt to keep the bloom intact. I’m not sure if it actually does, but it makes me feel better about it. Eggs that we eat ourselves are simply rinsed off right before we eat them.

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Bonny September 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I gently scrub the eggs with a little baking soda right before using them. (Then rinse.) Baking soda works for just about everything 🙂

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Chewbacka Grizelda June 28, 2014 at 9:15 am

I wash mine at home with just plain water, just prior to the use of each one. Problem: solved.

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Marion July 28, 2014 at 1:11 am

I live in the UK and here, as well as the rest of Europe, it is illegal to sell washed eggs.

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Linda March 12, 2015 at 6:05 am

Why would the cleaning solution contain yeast? Citric acid makes sense but the yeast intrigues me.

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Anonymous July 7, 2017 at 7:39 am

I never want my eggs prewashed. I do that just before cooking. I always let the eggs sit on counter. Besides most all recipes call for room temperature eggs anyways. Why make more work for yourself ?

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