Cleaning eggs prior to incubation


Jul 21, 2019
Bulgaria, a country in Eastern Europe
My Coop
My Coop
Hi, I have read all the posts, but I cannot find any good information HOW TO CLEAN the eggs prior to incubation? I have tried 50% Listerine - 50% water spray, but it did not help. The embryos are still dying before Lockdown (various hatches, different egg suppliers). Any other way to clean the eggs from bacteria? Incubator issues are excluded.
Thank you


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
How dirty are your eggs? I don't clean mine but I don't set "dirty" eggs. They are not all spotless but any dirty spot is pretty insignificant.

I don't know how much of his you already know. One of the last things a hen does as she lays the egg is coat it with a layer we often call bloom but the official name is cuticle. That layer is wet but quickly dries. It's purpose is to help keep bacteria out of the porous egg. If bacteria does not get inside then the egg does not go bad. Bloom is pretty effective but if you compromise that protective layer it's pretty easy for bacteria to get inside.

If that egg has globs of poop or mud on it, the bloom is probably compromised. Even if you remove the poop or dried mud that bloom is still compromised. If you wash the egg or sandpaper it to remove dirt you have probably removed the bloom. A cracked egg is compromised.

Another part of this is that bacteria has to be present before it can get into the egg. You need to sterilize your incubator before you start incubation. Your hands need to be clean when you handle the eggs. Your containers or where you store them need to be clean.

I don't know how the commercial operations over here clean their eggs before incubation. They do wash them in something. But they also take great care to assure the incubating equipment and area itself is sterile, no bacteria around. I cannot come close to that kind of sterile environment at my house.

I don't know what is going on with your eggs and your suppliers to cause a bacteria problem. They may already be infected by the time you get them so washing is too late. When you warm them to incubating temperature they are at the perfect temperature for bacteria to grow and explode.

I don't have a suggestion on how to clean your eggs. Perhaps think about where the bacteria is being introduced.

I wish you luck!


Isaiah 5:20
Premium Feather Member
Mar 10, 2019
@BirdsBeesTrees does H2O2 have an effect? Have you done experiments? I mean, take for instance 2 almost equally dirty eggs, clean one with H2O2 and do not clean the other one.. Obviously not the most accurate way, but will give an idea.
Yes I did an experiment with my Ayam Cemani eggs washed 10 left 10 unwashed. 1 egg was a quitter, 1 egg didn't hatch. I had 9 unwashed eggs hatch and 9 washed hatch. It didn't improve hatch rates but there is no reason to put overly dirty eggs in my incubators and introduce bacteria.

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