I’ve been searching for a useful and inexpensive egg washer machine for years. I am a busy berry and vegetable micro-farmer, and maintain a small flock of chickens to provide extra income and compost for my crops. At peak efficiency, my hens lay 95 eggs daily, so every few days I’m washing about 400 eggs, which gets tedious. My local health authority requires that I wash and rinse all eggs for sale.
I’ve built a couple of bubbler egg washers, and they sorta worked, but I still needed to rub most of the eggs to get all the smudges off. Plus, my large scale bubbler slops water all over the place, so winter use is difficult.
So, I was back to washing eggs in my kitchen sink, by hand, with a floppy green scratch pad and rinse water. At a steady pace, I can wash an egg in 9.85 seconds–about 6 eggs per minute. This does not count the time to fill up a sink with hot water, and start soaking the eggs. Start to finish, soaking to cartoning, 400 eggs can take me three hours to process. That’s time I don’t have during a busy summer day.
Over the past five years, I’ve researched several small scale egg washers, both manufactured and blueprints. I’m looking for something table-top size. The ones I’ve seen cost over $1000, and require too many seconds per egg. I’ve seen no evidence of time-saving, my primary goal, at a decent price, my secondary goal. What is that they say? “Fast, Cheap or Good. Choose two.” Do I have to give up quality? Not acceptable when it comes to eggs.
Then my son told me that a dude had posted a blog link to a new product called The Little Egg Scrubber. “Looks pretty good,” he said. “You interested?”
I watched their video and shook my head. “That’s gonna be too slow,” I said. “And I have to place each egg–how will that be any faster?”
We procured a trial unit, because as a small-scale farmer, I’m a good test subject. Before the machine arrived, I timed myself washing eggs my way: 9.85 seconds per egg, not counting soaking or carton-ing time.
Out of the box, the Little Egg Scrubber looked just like the photos. A special egg soak enzyme wash is included, along with a scouring pad. I spied a green tray in the bottom, which I ignored, as I thought it was packing material to protect the unit; one tray corner was cracked, so I thought it was very smart to include the tray for protection. While the eggs soaked in the left-hand sink, I placed the Scrubber into the right-hand sink and plugged it in. The motor waited a second, then started right up, turning two roller brushes towards each other.
I placed three eggs into the brush pockets and let the machine do its work. At first, there’s an initial pause in workflow, as all three eggs are being newly scrubbed at the same time. Water ran over the top of the unit and dropped onto the eggs below, although not in any concentrated manner, but I decided they were being rinsed adequately. Some water also dropped uselessly off the back, which I thought was rather a waste, so I propped up the rear to direct the water toward the front.
Then I started replacing eggs one at a time, using two hands: old one out and onto towel, another into empty space, repeat. I inspected each egg for smudges, not trusting the unit to do a thorough job, but very seldom did I find a problem. So I sped up, inspecting only every 5th or 6th egg. Eventually I stopped inspecting the eggs, since all of them were clean, and if an egg had a particularly dirty area, I just skipped it in the cycle and caught it on the next round. I didn’t pause between each egg, just moved as fast as possible through positions 1, 2, and 3, then back to 1.
The sink emptied surprisingly fast. My initial opinion: Cautiously Impressed.
The next trial, I timed myself. By then I’d discovered that the tray is part of the design and holds water at 5/8″ to help rinse the brushes and bring some water up onto the eggs. I also loosened the top plate and wedged a couple of bolts toward the back and tightened it down, thereby making the top slanted toward the front. All the water from my faucet now dropped onto the eggs.
The second trial washed 107 eggs in 7 minutes, 56 seconds, or 4.45 seconds per egg, not counting soaking or cartoning. Half the time!! Holy cow, HALF THE TIME!!!
I washed sizes from pullet to extra large with no problem. Although I never placed an obviously cracked egg, I put my finger through a particularly thin shell upon extraction, and the rear roller caught the shell and threw the shell up over the back and out of the way. I just stopped the machine, rinsed the tray, and went on. Afterwards, I found a pecked egg on the drying rack, but it had gone through the rollers without further damage, so that was interesting–the Little Egg Scrubber clearly doesn’t beat the eggshells to death. Normally I catch cracks as I wash, because I have my hands all over the egg, but with the machine, I was focused on keeping the eggs moving through. In the future, close inspection as I carton the eggs will be important.
The tray size was problematic in my kitchen sink, because the machine fits the tray in only one direction, so the unit sits sideways in my sink, which is inconvenient for moving quickly. I solved that by placing one ‘leg’ outside the tray, which kept the brushes in contact with the water reservoir, yet the machine sits facing forward. I don’t know how important the tray is for washing the eggs–the first trial I didn’t use it at all and saw no difference in the cleanliness. With all the water now falling forward, I might be able to eliminate the tray entirely.
Taking the eggs off can be a bit tricky, as they are slippery and tumbling on the brushes. I didn’t drop any, but occasionally I jammed my fingers too far in and the rollers stopped. It appears that this is a fail-safe so that the eggs don’t get pulled through the bristles and broken.
I think the beauty of the Scrubber is that it cleans three eggs at once, whereas I can clean only one at a time. It also keeps the operator (me) moving quickly to replace each egg, and so it pulls you along to keep up with the machine, although not in a stressful way–you can go as slow as you want. It’s easy to operate, not overly noisy, effective, and efficient. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it cleaned even very dirty eggs. And it’s a very tidy compact little unit, which fits easily under my sink.
The inventor took some of our suggestions for improvement and has adjusted the design slightly. The top is now curved to move the water forward. He’s adding a stop/start switch. I think my sink is a standard size, so he’s looking into a different tray that will hug the washer dimensions a bit closer, although I’m not sure I’ll use the tray at all.
So, in conclusion, I am very happy I got to test The Little Egg Scrubber. I can hardly wait until my hens are back at their peak (they are currently molting) so I have lots of eggs to run through the machine, just to feel how very much faster I’ve gotten. Soaking the eggs will be faster also, because I can load more into the sink since I won’t worry about the temperature of the water falling too low. The eggs will be in and out of the water much more quickly, so I’ll be able to save steps there.
In the past, I looked at egg washers that cost $1000 and up. For the time saving as a small farmer, I was willing to seriously consider that expense, and spread that cost over time. But at $269 US, this Little Egg Scrubber is the best of all worlds, a three point win: Fast. Cheap. And Good.
It’s a keeper.