1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Here are my ideas on egg cleaning... suggestions?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MIKE555444, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Songster

    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    I know that the general thought of most back yard participants are the eggs should not be washed except for very “dirty” eggs. We however, deliver about 30 doz eggs every 12-14 days to people in our community and to be honest with the scare of salmonella and everything.... I’m starting to lean toward cleaning them even in my own household.

    First of course, the best way to clean eggs are to not allow them to get dirty to start with. We use the deep litter method in the coops, shavings in the nest boxes and with a fairly dry run it seems to limit the amount of cleaning needed. However rainy days just can’t be avoided and the pullets will get dirty feet some how.

    In cleaning eggs we always want the water we use to be hotter than the egg so the “pours” in the shell will stay closed through the cleaning process so no bacteria can enter into the eggs itself through those “pours”. So to help improve this scenario we gather the eggs and immediately refrigerate them in plastic ice cream buckets to keep them cold until wash time. We do have the advantage of having a refrigerator dedicated to nothing but eggs and this makes this process more practical. This refrigerator is also emptied ever 12-14 days so that makes for easy bleach cleaning and sanitizing.

    To begin the process I start with already cold eggs. My thoughts are that the shells have a protective coat on them and the eggs are protected while they are dirty in the fridge. Once 3 or 4 days has passes I will have accumulated 150 or so cold eggs in the fridge to clean. I still use reasonably hot water but I feel a little better knowing that these eggs start off so much colder than they would straight from the nest.

    According to several articles I have read using about ½ teaspoon of unscented bleach in a gal of water makes for a mild but effective disinfectant dip. For years we have disinfected our very own drinking water with chlorine so I feel comfortable with this very mild mix on the outside of my eggs shells. Before I begin I will prepare this in hot water and this will be the last water the eggs touch before they dry.

    Without submerging the eggs I turn the faucet on as hot as my hands can handle for an extended amount of time and dash each egg under the faucet and clean it with clean white cloth. I immediately do a quick dip of the egg in the sanitizer (after it’s cleaned and rinsed) and lay it on the counter to dry. Then after a few doz eggs I thoroughly wash the cloth I’m using and pour part of the sanitizing water over the cloth and then start again.

    I'm looking for suggestion or comments that might help provide a better or more efficient method for cleaning eggs.

  2. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    just a stray thought here, sanitizing with bleach solution isn't instantaneous, it takes... 30 sec? I can't remember but I 'm sure a quick internet search will turn up the right number. if your goal is to sterilize the exterior of the egg, it needs to stay wet with the bleach solution for at least that long. I don’t know how having the egg wetted and air drying during that time affects the bleach concentration, as chlorine will evap out, perhaps faster than the egg air dries, perhaps not. when sterilizing your wash cloth, it needs to soak in the bleach solution for the minimum recommended time or you haven't really done much but rinse it out. I do know that sponges and wash rags are one of the most germ ridden items in the kitchen, they're damp, and make great breeding grounds for all sorts of things.

    some of the older texts on keeping eggs suggest reapplying something to replace the bloom if they must be washed, to close the pores. cooking oil is one suggestion. probably not useful in your context of customer delivered eggs.

    I wouldn't change my methods for my own eggs based on the salmonella scare... the lives and environments of the responsible chickens and my chickens have almost nothing in common, and the likelihood of my chickens having salmonella is vanishingly remote. I wouldn't sacrifice the benefits we get by responding to a scare that simply has nothing to do with us. it'd be rather like boiling my drinking water because someone in a remote 3rd world village has cholera... they might need to boil their water, but it means nothing about what I need to do.
  3. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Songster

    Aug 7, 2011
    west virginia
    I'll share the sailors method of cleaning eggs. Wipe off any dirt, then immerse the egg in a 1 part bleach to 10 parts water solution for 20 minutes. Allow to air dry comletely. Once dry handle with sterile gloves. This is for eggs that won't be refrigerated and the eggs will keep for months.
    You are right, just a quick rinse in solution won't work completely, the bleach has to penetrate the shell which, if the egg is dirty, germs are already in the shell. I don't use this method now since I ain't sailing around now, and have access to eggs. Any question, I do the float test, and cook the eggs before eating them!
    Oh, and another thought, I doubt the hot water helps at all, in fact, getting the bacteria warm will actually promote their growth, the water would have to be hot enough 120 degree, again for 20 minutes, to sterilize them, and then you got a hard boiled egg!!(and third degree burns..ug)
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  4. audioguy

    audioguy Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    Branchburg, NJ
    I am also new to this, but after doing extensive research, I have found that bleach is NOT the best thing to wash eggs with. Not only can it get into the egg and change the taste, but it completely removes the bloom. This protective coating is used to lubricate and seal the egg once it comes out of the chicken. This is the reason they do not have to be refrigerated.

    Also, washing them after they are cooled, in hot water will EXPAND the pores and allow more stuff to get in. It also expands the air sac inside the egg, and once cooled acts as a pump to pull in odors from the fridge.

    I use a product called OXINE. I found the info on this forum. It not only treats the water that they drink, but once activated, can be used to clean the eggs and removed ALL pathogens that can land on the egg.
    I found it on Ebay for $25 plus shipping. Once ounce treats 30 gallons of water, so its very economical too.

    I leave all my eggs on the counter until used or given away. If they are not washed prior to giving them away, I tell people to simply wash them immediately prior to use.

    Again, all this information was obtained from this forum and other searches on the Internet. It all makes sense to me!

    Good luck!
  5. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    There are so many disagreements about how to handle eggs. Some people feel strongly that they shouldn't be cleaned and/or refrigerated. I respect their opinions and their right to handle their eggs in any way they see fit. However, I feel differently. As soon as I gather eggs, I clean them with an organic egg cleaner and warm water - and I refrigerate them immediately in a carton labeled with the date they were laid.

    Everything I've read indicates that eggs deteriorate faster unrefrigerated than they do in the fridge. So I refrigerate. Why wouldn't I do whatever keeps them fresh the longest?

    I clean them because chickens have to walk into the nest box and they use their feet to kick the shavings/straw around to make the nest the way they want it. Regardless of how clean a coop and run are, there are chicken droppings there, and chickens walk through it. So you could clean the nest box out completely every day, and there would still be traces of chicken excrement in there. Because of specific health concerns in my family, I'm probably more conscious of germs than the average person. However, I am satisfied with the way I handle my eggs - and I'm confident that when I give away or sell my eggs, they're clean and safe to eat. I personally feel that preserving the bloom is over-rated. [​IMG] But that's just me.
  6. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Songster

    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    This is what I just read in the 60 plus page recommendation from the USDA :

    Even with good farm-management practices and careful
    handling, a small percentage of dirty eggs will be produced.
    Producers must bear in mind that dirty eggs are
    covered with bacteria that will cause spoilage if they enter
    the egg. Whether conducted at the production or processing
    site, washing must be performed in a manner that
    will minimize the chances of bacterial penetration of the
    shell. If these important facts are forgotten, and eggs are
    washed carelessly, more damage can be done than by
    leaving the dirt on the shell. Wetting a dirty shell provides
    moisture in which bacteria may breed and assists their
    growth and penetration through the shell. A washing
    solution colder than the egg causes the egg content to
    contract and thus allows polluted water to be drawn
    through the shell.

    When washing eggs the following precautions
    should be followed:

    1. Wash eggs with water at least 20 °F (11.1 °C) warmer
    than the internal temperature of the eggs and at a minimum
    of 90 °F (32.2 °C).
    2. Select a detergent or detergent sanitizer that is compatible
    with the wash water and one that will not give off
    foreign odors that may be imparted to the egg.
    3. Use only potable water with an iron content of less
    than 2 parts per million (p/m) for washing and keep
    wash water as clean as possible.
    4. Rinse by spraying with water slightly warmer than the
    wash water.
    5. Use an approved sanitizer in the spray rinse.
    6. Dry the eggs to remove any excess moisture prior
    to packaging.
    7. After washing, eggs should be rinsed with a warm water
    spray containing an approved chemical sanitizer to remove
    any remaining bacteria. The strength of the sanitizing spray
    should be no less than 50 p/m nor more than 200 p/m of
    available chlorine or its equivalent.
    Research has shown that during the washing process,
    most of the outer cuticle on the egg shell is removed.
    Removal of this cuticle increases the rate of carbon
    dioxide and moisture loss of the internal egg contents.
    To reduce the rate of loss, spraying the eggs with a
    light coating of food grade mineral oil is a common
  7. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    My theory: The point is to keep germs out of the eggs. To accomplish this goal, get rid of the germs in the first place. We wash our hands to achieve the exact objective. Even the eggs may not have visible debris on it, it might still have germs from laying in the nest.

    Maybe someone with a microscope can actually verify what is the best way to clean. Bleaching the eggs just seems harsh.

  8. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Songster

    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    Quote:I understand what your saying but is there not a certain amount of chlorine in our tap drinking water? A half TEASPOON in a gallon just seems to help concentrate what we already consider safe to drink water into a slightly stronger sanitizing solution.

    My reasoning anyway LOL
  9. audioguy

    audioguy Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    Branchburg, NJ
    Here is a photo of the OXINE container. Listed on the front is what is protects against. Very economical and very easy to use.
    For those worried about passing a disease, this stuff should fit the bill.
  10. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Songster

    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    Quote:Am I missing something... or is the active ingredient in this Chlorine?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by