Should You Wash Eggs Before Incubating?

I am often asked if you should wash eggs before incubating and there is a debate as to whether you should or not.

Many poultry/waterfowl/gamebird breeders don’t think you should wash them:

* If you wash them you can wash bacteria into the egg as the shells are porous. It is not advisable to wash eggs before incubating as bacteria can be transferred into the egg which can affect the growth and development of the chick/duckling, cause illness, defects in the chicks or even chicks not hatching.

Eggs have a protective coating and if you wash them or rub them then you may remove the protective coating.

Here are some tips on storing and choosing eggs before incubation

Some people do say that you can wash eggs and they say if cleaning eggs then use water that is warmer than the egg.

I have had a look in my copy of incubation at home by Micheal Roberts. He is an advocate of not washing, but says if you have dirty eggs then you could scrape off the soil/muck with a clean kitchen scourer. He also mentions Virkon which I believe is a sanitiser and washing in water that is 35 degrees..

I have had a look at my copy of Incubation: A Guide To Hatching & Rearing by Katie Thear and she suggests brushing them clean with a dry nail brush. She also mentions washing the eggs in water warmer than the egg which has had a sanitiser added.

Some people do wash eggs before incubation.
If you are going to wash the eggs then wash them in warm water, dry, then wipe with a special disinfectant. The water needs to be warmer than the egg so that the dirt doesn’t get through the porous shell and don’t rub too hard as this will rub off the protective layer on the shell.

What is your opinion? Can eggs be washed before incubation?

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