Whether you have a large farm or a backyard chicken coop, you reap the benefit of fresh, flavorful eggs that are usually considerably less expensive than eggs from the supermarket. Homegrown eggs are often more healthful than supermarket eggs, as you are able to control the chickens' care and diet. While care of your laying hens is important, care of the eggs is every bit as critical, as even eggs that appear clean and unbroken can transmit harmful bacteria.
Gather the eggs twice every day, preferably in the morning. In extremely hot weather, gather the eggs a final time in late afternoon or evening. Frequent gathering prevents breakage caused when too many eggs are in the same nest.
Sand eggs with ultra-fine sandpaper if the eggs appear clean or have only a few small dirt spots. Once eggs are sanded, they must not be washed, as sanding removes the protective outer coating of the shell.
Scrub eggs with a special egg detergent if the eggs are too soiled for a light sandpaper cleaning. You can also scrub the eggs with a gentle dye- and fragrance-free liquid dish detergent. Use a soft scrub brush, if necessary.
Use very warm water that is at least 90 degrees F and a minimum of 20 degrees warmer than the eggs. Otherwise, the temperature difference may create a vacuum within the egg. In turn, the vacuum allows the egg shell to absorb harmful bacteria that may be transmitted to the egg. Never allow the eggs to soak in water.
Bleach the eggs if you want to ensure that the eggs are sanitized. To bleach eggs, dip them in a dilute solution of 1 tbsp. household bleach mixed in 1 gallon of water.
Place the eggs in a colander, then rinse the eggs thoroughly under running water that is slightly hotter than the wash water. Dry the eggs immediately, using a clean, soft towel or a paper towel. Refrigerate the eggs as soon as the eggs are dry. Never place damp eggs in an egg carton.
Line your nests with fresh straw every week, as fresh straw helps to keep eggs clean.
If you clean eggs with a scrub brush, sanitize the brush in a bleach solution after every use.