Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wash Eggs Before Cooking 

It’s tempting to want to give eggs a good wash before you crack them open to cook, but it turns out there’s really no need. In fact, washing eggs before you cook them can be downright dangerous thanks to a protective coating eggs get when they’re packaged for sale. Here’s what food experts have to say about why you shouldn’t wash eggs before cooking.

The Purpose of the Protective Coating

When an egg first leaves the hen’s body, it is coated in a thin layer of chalky material known as the “bloom.” This coating helps to protect the egg; it’s a natural barrier that acts as a guard against any bacteria that could potentially enter the egg through the shells. The bloom also helps reduce water loss from the egg, so the egg stays fresh for longer.

Once the eggs are packaged for sale, they are typically sprayed with a light coating of mineral oil to replace the natural bloom that was lost while they were processed. This mineral oil coating is designed to keep your eggs safe, just like the bloom did, providing an extra layer of protection against any bacteria entering the eggshell.

Why You Shouldn’t Wash Them

If you were to wash away the protective mineral oil coating before you cooked the eggs, then the eggshell would be more vulnerable to any bacteria that could come in contact with it. This could cause a foodborne illness, making it very dangerous to eat.

So, despite the temptation to give eggs a clean and pristine appearance, you shouldn’t wash them before you cook them. As a general rule of thumb, try to crack your eggs directly into whatever you’ll be cooking them in, rather than breaking them into a separate bowl that may have come in contact with unclean surfaces.

Avoiding Cross Contamination

If you don’t want to crack the egg directly into your cooking vessel, the safest way to handle it is by cracking the egg into a separate, clean bowl and then transferring that egg into your desired cooking vessel. This process will help minimize the chance of contamination from any bacteria that may be present on your kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cooking vessels.

To further prevent a potential foodborne illness, separate egg dishes from other types of food to avoid cross contamination. Be sure to also store, refrigerate, and cook eggs at the recommended temperatures and for the designated time to ensure maximum safety.

Buying and Cooking Safe Eggs

To ensure you’re working with the safest eggs possible, start by buying eggs from a grocery store or from a trusted farm. Eggs sold in the grocery store or from the farmer’s market are generally safe to consume and won’t need to be washed before being cooked, since they are already protected by the mineral oil coating they were sprayed with while being processed.

When cooked to a safe temperature – as indicated on the package – eggs are generally safe to eat provided they were purchased from a reputable source. It’s important to note that you should always cook eggs until both the whites and yolks are firm, which is typically necessary to kill any bacteria that may be present.

When it comes to washing eggs before you cook them, resist the urge and follow the tips mentioned above for safely handling and cooking eggs for a healthy, delicious meal. Adhering to these guidelines will help you to ensure you’re consuming eggs that are as safe and tasty as possible.