Eggs – To Wash or Not To Wash?

Everything is better when it’s clean, right? Your hands, your house, your kid’s face…but what about your eggs?

When you buy eggs from the store, you’ll notice they are pristine and clean. If you collect your own eggs, you know they don’t naturally come that way!

It is interesting to note that as a chicken lays an egg, it gets a nearly imperceptible coating that is called “bloom”. Bloom acts as a natural barrier and prevents germs and bacteria from getting to the egg through the shell. By leaving your eggs unwashed, the natural barrier remains intact. Commercial egg producers are regulated and required to wash all eggs before shipment, which is why the eggs you buy in the supermarket are so tidy.

If you are producing your own eggs for your household, you have more control over how your eggs are handled. Wiping eggs off with a dry cloth will knock off the feathers and dirt. And if you get the occasional “messy” egg? Go ahead and wash it – then store it in the refrigerator and try to use it before you use your other, unwashed eggs.

Eggs are most often stored in the refrigerator to slow decomposition and refrigerating your eggs is a common practice in the U.S. In many other countries, however, eggs are stored at room temperature and never refrigerated. Whatever your preference for storage, you may want to consider foregoing absolute cleanliness – at least when it comes to your eggs!

6 Replies to “Eggs – To Wash or Not To Wash?”

  1. Eggs should be buffed off if dirty like you mentioned, but they should be washed immediately prior to use to remove any bacteria on the exterior that may contaminate the contents when you crack them.

  2. I checked out if putting mineral oil on eggs would really work for keeping eggs fresh for 6 to 9 months at room temperature. And to my surprise it really does work. So try it with one dozen and see for yourself. 🙂

  3. If you choose to wash your eggs, do so under running water that is 40 degrees warmer than the egg. Egg shells are porous, and water cooler than the egg causes the pores of the shell to shrink, allowing bacteria to migrate through the shell. For this same reason, we use running water over the egg rather than letting it sit in water.

    The natural bloom protects the egg, so washing isn’t actually necessary. As others say, just wipe off if needed. The website referenced is a great source of information from a large community of backyard chicken growers.

    Love my chicks!

  4. Commercial eggs are washed but are subsequently shell protected by a thin layer of mineral oil.

  5. A clean coop and nesting box almost always gives clean eggs. Only when it is very wet and muddy out do I ever need to wash the eggs, or if I get a “Pecker.” Now I know why being called that is an insult!

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