How to Clean and Wash Eggs

The “Bloom”: Why Fresh Eggs Often Don’t Need Washing

Natural Protection: When a hen lays an egg, it comes with a protective coating called the “bloom” or “cuticle.” This acts a barrier against bacteria.

Washing Removes the Bloom: Washing the egg removes this natural protection, making it more susceptible to bacterial contamination.

When to Wash Your Eggs

Visibly Soiled: If your eggs have mud, poop, or other debris on them, it’s best to wash them right before use.

Just Before Using: Wash eggs immediately before cracking them open, not before storing them.

How to Wash Eggs Safely

Use Warmer Water: Run water slightly warmer than the egg itself. Coldwater can cause pores in the shell to open, drawing bacteria in. Avoid very hot water, which could start to cook the egg.

Gentle Cleaning

Plain Water: For lightly soiled eggs, plain warm water may be enough. Use your fingers to gently rub off any dirt.

Mild Soap: If extra cleaning power is needed, add a tiny drop of unscented dish soap to your wash water.

Thorough Drying: Dry the washed eggs completely with a clean paper towel. This prevents bacteria from thriving on a damp surface.

Storing Unwashed Eggs

Room Temperature OK: Eggs with the bloom intact don’t require immediate refrigeration. Many countries store eggs at room temperature.

Cooler is Better: If you have space in your refrigerator, storing unwashed eggs in there will prolong their freshness and safety.

Wash Before Use: Even if stored in the fridge, always wash your fresh eggs right before you plan to use them.

Important Notes:

Commercial Eggs (US): Eggs purchased in US grocery stores have been washed and sanitized. Don’t re-wash them, and store them in the refrigerator.

Cracked Eggs: Discard any eggs with cracked shells, regardless of whether they were washed previously. Bacteria can easily enter through the crack.

Is It Ever OK to Wash Eggs Before Storage?

There are niche situations, mainly for those planning to sell eggs, where washing and sanitizing before storage might be required. Regulations can vary by location, so it’s important to research any specific requirements for your area.

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