One of the most popular questions new chicken keepers ask is, should I wash my eggs? Commercial eggs are required to be pre-washed, and honestly, considering the living circumstances of many of the birds, it’s better that way. However, farm fresh eggs are a different story. You don’t actually NEED to wash your eggs, although there are some circumstances where you may want to.
Why Don’t Farm Fresh Eggs Need Washed?
When eggs are laid, there is a protective covering called the bloom on the outside of the shell. The bloom protects the chick inside from bacteria entering the egg and killing it. This is also how the eggs stays fresh while the hen lays enough eggs to get a clutch to hatch. The bloom is such a great protective coating, that you don’t even need to refrigerate farm fresh eggs. When you wash off the bloom, the egg shell becomes porous and bacteria can now enter through the shell.
What If I WANT To Wash My Eggs?
Personally, I feel that eggs are safest if laid in a clean nest box, collected daily, and unwashed. Sometimes, a little bit of manure or a feather or two can get stuck onto an egg. If that’s a big deal for you, you can definitely wash your eggs. If you are getting lots of dirty eggs, take that as a signal that something needs changed in your management. Are chickens roosting in their nest boxes? How about your roosts, are they high enough? Are the nest boxes being cleaned often enough? Are they located under the roost? If your chicken coop is well cleaned, dirty eggs should not be a frequent issue.
How To Wash Your Eggs
It’s best if you can wipe or flick dirt off with a dry washcloth or a bit of sandpaper so you don’t wash away the bloom. If that doesn’t do the trick, try using a damp paper towel. If you still aren’t comfortable cooking and eating the contents of that egg, you can wash it in hot running water. After you wash the bloom off the egg, anything on the surface can get sucked into the inside. Using water that’s colder than the egg creates a vacuum and increases that effect.
It’s best not to use soap, as that could potentially end up on the inside of the egg as well. If your eggs are so dirty that you feel like you need to soak or sanitize them, don’t eat them. Either throw them away, or feed them back to your hens.
Related Post: Everything You Wanted To Know About Chicken Eggs
Once you’ve washed your eggs they will need to be refrigerated, as the bloom is no longer protecting them at room temperature.
Do you have more questions about your hen’s eggs? Check out Everything You Wanted To Know About Chicken Eggs.
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