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Do You Need To Wash Farm Fresh Eggs?

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.

 You don't actually NEED to wash farm fresh 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.

Related Posts: The Secret Trick To The Best Nest Box Ever and How To Clean Your Chicken Coop The Right Way

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. Click here to read more about storing eggs.

Do you have more questions about your hen’s eggs?  Check out Everything You Wanted To Know About Chicken Eggs.

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Monday 19th of October 2020

I don't wash my fresh eggs after collecting. They usually are very clean either way. How about right before cracking? Do you recommend washing then? I up to now have not washed them at all. Considering they have yet to come in soiled. But someone told me I'm supposed to rinse before I crack them. We have never had issues. I'm fairly new. Please advise.


Monday 19th of October 2020

It's really personal preference. I do not wash mine before cracking.

Steve McCall

Sunday 14th of October 2018

Do chickens stop eating when moulting? Also I’ve heard that you should wash eggs with cold water not hot because the hot water can penetrate the porous shell and make it easier for bacteria penetration. Please enlighten me


Tuesday 16th of October 2018

Yes, they don't eat as much. It's a good idea to encourage them to eat higher protein foods. My understanding is if you wash your eggs in cold water the contents shrink, making the shell more porous. Hot water cause it to expand so there's less chance of contamination.

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