Cleaning and preserving eggs for long term storage

Chicken Eggs in Straw

By Cat, June 26, 2017 (from a post by Cat on The Essentialist, July 21, 2012) (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

As we explore ways to reduce our energy consumption, we may wonder how to preserve fresh eggs for long-term storage without refrigeration? How was this done in earlier times?

A popular suggestion currently circulating on the internet is to rub eggs (on the shell) with mineral oil to protect the egg itself from contamination and thus store them indefinitely without refrigeration.

But this is bad advice; there is a better way to preserve cheese; read on for more.

See also: 1. Miscellaneous Menu;

Tried and true long-term storage of eggs

It is true that you can keep eggs for a long time without refrigeration. The key is that eggs come with their own protective barrier against pathogens, called “bloom”, which is intended to protect the developing chick from infection. That barrier is part of the shell.

If you intend to keep your eggs for a long period of time, do not wash them with soapy water until right before you are ready to use them. The soap will remove the protective barrier, making the egg vulnerable to contamination. Regarding soap: It is best to use real soap without fragrance added, such as Kirk’s Castile bar soap. Do not use a detergent “soap.”

Instead, dry-clean them for long-term storage:

  • Using a sanding sponge, loofah, or fine sandpaper, brush off as much debris as you can. Then rinse the egg with cool (but not cold) water.
  • Dry it off and place in an egg carton made from compressed paper fiber. Don’t use plastic styrene or styrofoam egg cartons as they are also made from petroleum.
  • Don’t wash them with soapy water until right before using.

NOTE: once the eggs have been chilled (in the fridge), they will not keep for a long time unrefrigerated.

See The Spruce (1) for more tips.

Why using mineral oil is a bad idea

  • It is made from petroleum, and as such, its use is not a sustainable practice, as we are past peak oil, and petroleum availability will not last forever.
  • It is toxic. You should never ingest mineral oil nor rub it on your skin, as it is quickly absorbed into your blood stream.
  • It is easily absorbed through egg shells to penetrate the egg itself.


  1. The Spruce:

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