Should I Wash my Chicken Eggs?

Should I Wash my Chicken Eggs?

The short answer is "No". Eggs are laid with a natural coating on the shell that is applied as the last step in the laying process called the "bloom" or sometimes the "cuticle".

This coating is the first line of defense in keeping air and bacteria out of the egg. Since eggshells are porous, if you wash your eggs as soon as you collect them, you are removing that natural barrier.

Unwashed eggs can be collected and then left out on your kitchen counter at room temperature for several weeks, where they will still be perfectly edible, if not quite as fresh as when they were laid.

 In a perfect world, all of your chickens' eggs would be as clean as these I collected from the nesting boxes.  

There are some things you can do to ensure clean eggs, but since life happens no matter what you do,  you will occasionally end up with dirty eggs - covered in mud or feces.

You can gently scrub off the debris with a rough cloth, paper towel or your fingernail, but extremely dirty eggs should be rinsed under warm running water (20 degrees warmer than the egg surface to be exact) and then refrigerated.

Once an egg has been rinsed off and had the bloom removed, it does need refrigeration. Unwashed eggs benefit from being refrigerated as well.

In the refrigerator, unwashed eggs will still last longer than washed eggs, and also longer than they would at room temperature. For more information on proper egg handling and storage, read HERE.

Store bought eggs have been cleaned and the bloom has been removed, so always need refrigeration after you buy them.

If you sell your eggs, you might want to read this - different states have different egg laws that govern whether eggs should be washed or not before selling them. 

Regardless of whether you store our eggs on the counter or in the fridge, they should always be rinsed under warm water just before using them.

So now you know...

Freshness of a Washed versus Unwashed Egg

Washing eggs removes the natural barrier against air and bacteria that is applied to the shell of the egg just before it's laid. Look at the difference between a two week old egg that was washed right after being collected compared to an egg that was left unwashed. 

Notice how the washed egg is starting to lift off the bottom of the glass, meaning that air has seeped in through the eggshell. The unwashed egg laid the same day is still sitting squarely on the bottom of the glass.

I would love for you to join me here...
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  1. Thanks for the great information. I have been washing my eggs and storing them in the refrigerator. My eggs are almost always clean, so I guess that is one step I don't need to do. Thanks for the helpful information!

  2. I don't wash mine because of reading Lisa's post before. But I hate handing a dozen nasty eggs to my family. I keep my eggs refrigerated, so I might as well wash them too!

  3. I heard using warm water actually pushes any bacteria into the egg. Cold water is what I have read to use. I have only had 1 egg out of 4 dozen with chicken poop in it. I gave it to my dog. Problem solved. LOL

  4. Hi there! New to chickens altogether so my question may seem shallow but... do I wash the eggs before using them? Thanks!

  5. My in-laws have ducks and my husbands aunt has chickens. they each get about a dozen a day, so right now we are drowning in eggs! This is very helpful. I also heard you can put oil on them and store them in a cool dry place for up to a year or so, do you know if that is true or had any experience with that? What oil would we use? Thanks!

  6. Laura Gardner TortoriceJune 22, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    I've always heard mineral oil was best for storage.

  7. Laura Gardner TortoriceJune 22, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    Didn't you READ this story?

  8. I think she was mean should she wash them right before using them. I would say yes that is fine. And Laura think about and read the question before you act so rudely.

  9. Brandi Ann WhitakerJune 22, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    I heard the other way around to use warm water not cold because cold water drives bacteria into the I am confused....can someone shed some light please thanks =) X <3

  10. I used to do that, too, and the dogs had beautiful shiny coats, but the vet said not to give raw eggs to dogs because they can get salmonella, too. Now I cook the "discard" eggs.