Question about washing hatching eggs


In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 23, 2008
I know you're not supposed to wash hatching eggs -- I've read that in several different places. But I've also read not to put "poopy" or dirty eggs in the incubator also. It rained all day yesterday and is very muddy outside, so all of the eggs I collected this morning (intending to put them in the incubator) have mud and/or poop on them. I really want to set these, but don't want to waste time either.

So, my question is, has anyone had success with gently washing the eggs (with water only, of course) and placing them directly into the incubator? Or should we just eat these and wait until the weather is better so we get clean eggs? Thanks!



Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jan 30, 2007
You don't wash hatching eggs... I'd let them dry real well and then take a dry paper towel or dry cloth to them...I've received a couple dirty eggs before with shipped eggs and they hatched just fine...I did try to get as much dirt off as possible tho...


Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
Forks, Virginia
You'll find us all with mixed opinions. I would clean them off with a damp paper towel. Some people say to wash and some say not to wash. I would clean them off with the least amount of water possible.

I did a lot of research with my last hatch of goose eggs and I had to disinfect those so I know the dirty waterfowl eggs are washed.

Dirty eggs can grow bacteria. Some strains fo bacteria can infect your incubator and make it unusable.

Let us know what you decide to do.


In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 23, 2008
Right now they are in the incubator, but I just put them in an hour ago or so. So if I take them out now, I can still eat them. If I wait, then I can't. I thought I might leave them in until I can candle them and see what happens.

Thanks for the tip about the bacteria possibly messing up the incubator, Miss Prissy. I wouldn't want that to happen! Those things aren't cheap.


It's All About Chicken Math
12 Years
Apr 29, 2007
I can tell you, i have been using the "magic Eraser" I buy the Wal Mart brand instead of MR Clean, Wet it, wring it out and my eggs are clean clean clean. No worse than using a damp towel and way les work. I cleaned my hatching eggs this way and the cochin ones were really dirty and they are growing. I just made sure my water was warm.

Leslie In North Pole

12 Years
Mar 7, 2007
North Pole, AK
I use damp paper towels, no rubbing. Just wrap the egg in the paper towel for a minute or so and if it comes off with a gentle wipe, I will use that egg for hatching after I have let it dry for a couple of hours. If it is really stuck on, those eggs go to the consume pile. The bloom of the egg can usually protect the egg from pulling contamination through the shell.

I think the real secret is to train our birds to wipe their feet before entering their nests.. I figure I have a better chance of that than getting the kids to take their shoes off at the door.

I would think you would run the largest risk with waterfowl eggs that had fecal matter on them that you were misting, as this could pull bacteria in with the moisture.


Everybody loves a Turkey
11 Years
Feb 10, 2008
Eastern NC
Yes we have set dirty eggs. Also we have washed them in luck warm water and gently
rub with just our hands. We also set our "culls" from after we do auctions
and have gotten surprisely good hatching.
S and S Poultry

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