What is the safest way to wash my eggs from my backyard chickens? I have heard lots of differing opinions like warm water vs cold water, bleach, vinegar, commercial egg cleanser or no cleanser at all. I know that they also don't have to be washed, as the bloom keeps it safe on the counter for a while, but would like to know for when I wash to put in the fridge, or giving away to friends. Can you please clarify the best, safest way to wash my eggs to ensure they are clean, without compromising their integrity and exposing them to more harmful bacteria?
Adams County Colorado
There are a couple safe ways to wash eggs. Here is an excerpt for Colorado State University's fact sheet on the subject:
Cleaning: Dirty eggs can be a health hazard. Eggs with dirt and debris can be removed with fine sandpaper, a brush, or emery cloth. If eggs need to be washed, the temperature of the water should be at least 20F warmer than the egg. This will prevent the egg contents from contracting and producing a vacuum. It will also prevent microscopic bacteria from being pulled by vacuum through the pores of the egg. A mild, non-foaming, unscented detergent approved for washing eggs can be used. A dishwashing liquid that is free of scents and dyes is acceptable. Eggs can be sanitized by dipping in a solution of 1 tablespoon household bleach to 1 gallon of water before storage. Dry eggs before storing because moisture may enter the shell pores as eggs cool on refrigeration.
Storage: Store eggs in the main section of the refrigerator at 35F to 40F; the shelves in the door tend to be warmer than interior shelves. If collected and stored properly, eggs can have a safe shelf life of greater than three weeks. Date the storage carton or container and use older eggs first. If you have more eggs than you can use, you can break them out of their shells and freeze them. Only freeze fresh eggs. Beat until just blended, pour into freezer containers, seal tightly, label with the number of eggs and the date. Add a small amount of salt, sugar, or corn syrup to prevent gelling and improve the keeping quality of the eggs. It’s a good idea to note any additional ingredients on the freezer container. The whites and yolks may also be frozen separately.
You can find the whole factsheet here: https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/home-produced-chicken-eggs-9-377/
I hope this helps, please let me know if you have further questions.