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How to Clean Eggs

How to Have Clean, Healthy, Safe Chicken Eggs

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Brown eggs.
Photo © Flickr user mdrewe

If you are new to keeping chickens for eggs, how to clean those eggs before eating them is probably a big question on your mind. And if you're going to sell those eggs at the farmers market or direct to consumers from the farm, you will need to be sure they're clean, safe and attractive to buyers.

Before you submerge the freshly collected eggs in ice water, wait! Cold water actually causes the pores in an eggshell to pull bacteria from the surface in through the shell and into the egg, where you don't want it. What's more, unwashed eggs have a natural antibacterial coating called bloom.

Dry cleaning. If possible, dry clean your eggs. This means using something abrasive to rub off any dirt or poop until the egg is clean. This method preserves most of the bloom intact. Use a sanding sponge, loofah, sandpaper, or abrasive sponge of some kind to dry clean your eggs. Be sure to sanitize the sanding sponge, or whatever you're using to clean the eggs, occasionally.

Wet cleaning. If your eggs are just too gross to dry clean (they sometimes get egg yolk from a broken egg on them, and once dried, this is impossible to remove dry), you can use water to clean them. Make sure to use water that is warmer than the egg temperature - medium warmth, not hot, but not tepid, either.

Do not immerse the eggs in water or let them stand in water. We wash the eggs under running water from the faucet. Another method is to spray the eggs in washer flats or wire baskets with warm water, let them sit, then wipe them with a dry paper towel one at a time. Place clean eggs into another basket or flat.

Follow this with a sanitizing spray, using bleach diluted in water for the spray mixture. Then allow the eggs to dry on a rack or in a basket or washer flat.

If you are preparing eggs for sale, check with your County Extension Office to find out the proper procedures for your state's regulations regarding washing eggs for sale.

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