Question: Should Chicken Eggs Be Washed First?
Well, this one is entirely up to you but the short answer is no, eggs do not need to be washed before they are consumed or refrigerated. If they become soiled in the nesting box with mud, bedding material, or manure, then yes, feel free to wash them first.
You may have noticed that freshly laid eggs are left with a thin translucent coating on the outer shell - this coating is called the bloom, or cuticle. Egg shells are not air tight, they are actually porous and this natural protective barrier prevents dust and bacteria from entering the egg, acting as a natural preservative. You can leave an unwashed egg out for several weeks at room temperature and it will still be edible without refrigeration. Amazing!
Once eggs are washed or become wet, the cuticle is removed and the eggs will require refrigeration within a couple hours. In general, unwashed eggs stay fresher longer whether you choose to refrigerate them or not.
As a note - if you remove unwashed eggs from the refrigerator and they are allowed to warm to room temperature, they may "sweat" which will dissolve the cuticle, so you'll want to be sure to use the eggs within a couple hours after you take them out of the fridge.
Fun fact: The US is one of the few countries in the world that washes their eggs before they are consumed.
Did you also know that store bought eggs can be close to two months old by the time they make it into your grocery bag? Just one more reason to appreciate your backyard hens for their fresh eggs!