The best way to get clean eggs is to avoid letting them get dirty in the first place. But there are times when that’s not always possible.
How to Keep the Eggs Clean
To get clean eggs to start with, keep fresh bedding in the nest boxes, and plenty of it. Remove soiled bedding as soon as you notice it. Dirty bedding leads to dirty eggs.
The coop floor affects how clean the eggs will be. If the floor of the coop has lots of wet manure on it or mud, the hens will track that into the nest boxes, making the bedding and eggs dirty. If it’s a mobile coop, move it to fresh ground regularly. If it’s a stationary coop, keep fresh bedding on the floor, or better yet, use a deep bedding system.
How to Wash Dirty Eggs
You can buy various egg washing equipment and cleaners, but for small scale egg washing, all you need is some sandpaper, a sponge, warm water and some unscented dish soap.
If the egg isn’t too dirty, use a bit of sandpaper to sand off the dirt. This avoids removing the bloom, or cuticle — a protective surface that naturally protects and preserves the contents of the egg.
Water washes off the bloom as well as the filth, so if you wash the egg, you’ll need to refrigerate it afterward. To wash it, use water that’s warmer than the egg. Warm water will heat the egg slightly, causing a little pressure from within. Cold water does the opposite, creating a little suction that can draw dirty water and bacteria through the pores of the eggshell into the egg, so only use warm water (water that’s a bit warmer than the egg).
For more information, see our article on how to clean chicken eggs.