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Most efficient way to wash eggs? — The Grow Network Community
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Most efficient way to wash eggs?

Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial DirectorSouthwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 636 admin

I used to not wash my eggs until right before using them in order to keep the bloom intact, but we've got a busy household, and it honestly became more trouble than it seemed to be worth to have to stop and wash eggs before I could make breakfast for my kids in the morning. SOOO, I now collect my chickens' eggs in a bowl on the counter until I have a few days' worth and then wash them in a big batch all at once.

But I'm wondering what the most efficient yet effective means of washing large quantities of eggs at once is. Right now, I just fill the entire bowl up with warmish water and then get rub/scrub everything down as needed, let air dry, and refrigerate. I used to wash the eggs one at a time under running water, but that seemed wasteful of time and water. So just wondering what other solutions folks here have come up with for washing your eggs.

Thank you! :)


  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 908 admin

    Well... I took the clean ones inside and never washed them. The more gross ones, I gave to the dogs. So I never washed my eggs.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,448 admin
    edited February 24

    Well, my 2 cents. I have observed many discussions on this subject in poultry forums, and on those, this subject is a very big deal. Sometimes it even has to be done before setting important eggs into the incubator. I have done this for this purpose too.

    I wash ours under running water and use a nail brush. Running water is the safest way to wash. Putting them into water puts pressure on the outside and can force bacteria into the egg. I have read that for safety, the temperature should be minimum 11° C higher than the egg temp. I estimate this. It isn't hard.

    Afterward, I do spray them with a cleaning strength vinegar and give them a rinse. I am not sure that it gives the eggs any more of a safety rating, but it is what I do. I DO NOT do this step with hatching eggs, however. Some whether for eating or incubating, do a bleach/special egg disinfectant dip. I do not keep chemicals of that sort in the house.

    Our household is busy too, but this works for us. I have not had any issues & the eggs last a long time.

    I have left eggs in a basket for a few days sometimes before I wash. I generally like to have a full basket first, unless laying is very poor. If, however, the eggs are fertilized and it is warm, you could still get a bit of development. 😒 Just a heads up on that.

  • teachercarynteachercaryn Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 220 ✭✭✭

    Eggs Fresh from the hen house to the frying pan without washing unless they needed to be. They can sit in a wire basket on the counter for a couple of days without refrigeration. Now, the store bought ones, I’d wash those with water and baking soda, and then keep them in the fridge.

  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 232 ✭✭✭

    I only wash the yucky ones. We even eat raw eggs and no one's suffered any ill effects.

  • KarinKarin New ZealandPosts: 256 ✭✭✭

    I have always read that you shouldn't wash eggs as the shells are porous and washing can actually force bacteria in, especially running water or any kind of forcible spray. I never washed any of our eggs - if they were a bit yuck I gave them a wipr with a damp cloth before putting in the egg holder. We never caught any bugs, so I guess a wipe is ok :)

  • toreytorey Posts: 1,675 admin

    @MerinPorter Following is a link to a page with egg cleaning supplies. On it is a brush exactly like the one we used on the poultry farm I grew up on. It uses fine sand paper to clean the eggs. There are also some other cleaners on this page. Berry Hill is an awesome resource for anyone who is gardening/farming/ranching so I recommend checking out the whole website.


  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,448 admin

    @kmartin.mail Opinions abound.

    *If* you choose to wash them, running water at 11° above the eggs temperature is key. It runs over, so it's not the type of pressure as when putting them into water, and the temperature differencein/out of the egg keeps the bacteria from forcing it's way in. You don't want your eggs to be sitting in contaminated water with pressure all around the egg. I read in more depth why this running water method is preferable a while ago, but no longer have my source available.

    When I might have to wash for incubating (it can happen if you have few eggs for a rare breed & they get dirty), I will gently dry wipe first (no real rubbing) then if needed, give a running rinse (temp as above), wipe & immediately dry. This is what is done within poultry & rare breed exotic bird circles if needed beyond the dry wipe. You want no bacteria entering your hatching eggs. It is not ideal, mind you, but can fairly safely be done. Many people dip eggs in a disinfectant before setting, especially if they bought them from someone else as to cut down on the possibility of introducing disease into their flock. I do not dip with synthetic disinfectant as I don't want that chemical to possibly enter the egg because it was immersed, nor be in the incubator itself. I have not looked for an all natural organic disinfectant for dipping. I don't know if that exists.

    We always wash our eating eggs, then refrigerate them at 1-4°C in clean cartons (not store bought used). Bought cartons smell rotten, our clean ones don't ever smell. Our eggs last a very long time & we have not had issues.

    *An aside...if you have Marans eggs, the tight matrix of the shell works to keep bacteria out better than other poultry breed eggshells. As far as quail eggs, they are known to be fully sterile, making them the safest raw eating egg. I suspect that guinea eggs & other super tough shells aren't far behind.*

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,448 admin

    @torey I second Berry Hill!

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 267 ✭✭✭

    all that i do is take a pocket knife in with me and scrape of any poop on the eggs. ive never really washed them since i found that doing so could push the bacteria in and take the protective off. a long time ago i bought an egg wash that was citric acid and that cleaned then pretty well

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,448 admin

    @nksunshine27 I haven't heard of that before. How is it used? Do you know its source? I have read that not all commercial citric acid comes from fruits, which was new news to me.

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 235 ✭✭✭

    @MerinPorter my daughter sells her organic eggs at a local farmers market. Her customers tend to like nice clean eggs. She was spending hours each week washing them up. So she asked me to see if I could build her an egg washer. Searched on you tube and found where people had made one from a five gallon pail and a small air compressor to bubble the eggs clean. You should do a search and see if this is anything you can use. My daughter said it works great and all she has to do is wipe the really dirty ones off. It cut her egg cleaning time by. 2/3 . She loves it. Hope this helps you.

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 267 ✭✭✭

    @Laurie its called egg washer pro by ips-carefree enzymes,inc made in usa. ing. water enzymes, citric acid 99.9%. potassium sorbate. its about !/2 oz to 5 gal water but i just cut it down. does that help?

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,448 admin

    @nksunshine27 Yes. That would give me enough information to look it up. Thanks!

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 267 ✭✭✭

    @Laurie personally i dont wash may eggs anymore. i found that when i switched fro straw to shavings for thier nesting boxes and closed them out of them at night i didnt have dirty eggs i also found that when their run is dirty i lay down straw for them to walk on cause i have chicken with feathered feet

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,448 admin

    @nksunshine27 Closing the boxes up at night would certainly help. Most of my birds prefer the floor for laying. There is not much that I think I can do about that. Some of my birds are feathered feet, some are not.

    I can't do shavings as I react to them. It would get too expensive to buy here & straw is easy & cheap in our area. My ultimate choice would be hemp bedding (it sound perfect), but it is still too expensive.

    I am glad that your eggs come up clean looking. Where I have a major issue with unwashed eggs is when they are very obviously dirty & people give or even sell them this way. These are very dangerous as the bacteria can still enter the egg even through the bloom. You never want to set an egg laden with poop, so why would a person want it on their counter or fridge?

    As I said, it is a very controversial subject...washing (and how) or not. It can also be culturally charged. I have observed that most people never have a health issue either way (washed or not) when it comes to the eating eggs. I think it is to each their own and a personal decision. Since I do wash, I figured that I had better research what my best approach should be and settled on what I do after considering it all.

    Where I think the problems lie is when the shells are too thin or cracked enough to be considered unsafe & people still use them, which causes extra risk.

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 267 ✭✭✭

    @Laurie i have some that insist on the ground also so i did something different. than anyone else i think i put the nesting boxes on the ground and made roosts out of 2x4s and put them up higher than the boxes because a chickens natural instict is to roost high away from danger and to nest low in a "secluded " spot,

    i'm sorry you arent able to do shavings but straw works.

    for the most part the eggs come clean looking but your right selling them with poop on them is gross. i had a lady that i've tried to teach her everything i know about raising chickens and selling eggs but when she had a whole bunch of eggs and not enough customers i agreed to sell her eggs for her well the first 6 dozen i got from her i had to clean because they were all laden with poop so i told her next time if she doesnt want to clean them i'll take 50 off what she normally cells the eggs for cause my time to clean them counts. she hasnt sold me eggs to sell in a while.

    yes washing and refrigerating eggs is culturally charged for sure.

    but the product i posted is a bleach alternative and organic so i thought if you have to wash them id use that

    happy egg laying my friend

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 636 admin

    @EarlKelly, thanks, this is a great tip! I will have to check this out. :)

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 636 admin

    Thanks, Laurie! We are also looking at selling some of our excess eggs right now, and the cottage foods laws here in Colorado do require egg washing, also, plus sanitation. I'm doing a lot of research on it and learning a lot! :) Appreciate your help with this! :)

  • HeidiHeidi Posts: 30 ✭✭✭

    I only wash the visibly icky ones, and those I do when I am ready to use or the evening before under running water with a nail brush. No one every had a problem here.

  • I only wash the icky ones. Of course if I am selling them I will wash but for our own use at home I don't worry as much.

  • Debora SalmonDebora Salmon Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    I don’t wash my eggs. Since I only have six girls and they lay in shavings I get really nice clean eggs. Before when we had many more girls and sometimes had dirty eggs all I did was wipe them with a damp paper towel. We sold them to the feed store and he told me not to worry about them being spotless.

  • norabelehcimnorabelehcim Posts: 47 ✭✭✭

    Dry brush, or a quick soap/water, rinsing well if there are fecal or other contaminants. If you have ever soaked a raw egg in vinegar and glow-in-the-dark marker color (from a pen or marker) to make a novel raw-ish science project that suddenly is capable of glowing in the dark and bouncing, you would know why.

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 385 ✭✭✭

    Other sites sell these egg washers as well. But this gives you the idea and something to compare too. I don't have this yet but want to either buy one or build one. Just haven't had the chance.

  • toreytorey Posts: 1,675 admin

    @vickeym This is very similar to the one we used many, many years ago on the poultry farm I grew up on. Works exceptionally well if you have a large flock and are producing for a commercial market.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 636 admin

    Hmmm. Looks like I might be able to put something like this together on my own. Gotta think this one through.... Thank you! :)

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 385 ✭✭✭

    If your not washing very many here is another idea....

    Youtube.com is full of different ideas and ways to build them.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 636 admin
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