I had an egg crack in the carton and cover the other eggs with egg white. I consider the cracked egg a lost cause, but what about the splash damage? Are the eggs that have received an inadvertent egg white wash safe to eat? Particularly, for someone who may be very vulnerable to infection?


4 Answers 4


If the egg actually exploded as in the title, then no, that egg is probably highly contaminated. Not only is it bad, but nothing its contents have touched can be considered safe to use and should be discarded.

I assume however that you actually have an egg that was broken in handling. In that case, only the broken egg is a loss. Other answers and comments have addressed that, choice by location and your own personal sense of safe for you. I hate wasting food, but eggs today are a relatively inexpensive commodity for most of us, so if you feel uneasy, error on the side of safety.

When an egg is only partially cracked, but the membrane is intact, that egg is normally safe for use for several days. You have lost some protection, but not the immediate integrity of the egg. One issue though is you do not know when it was cracked. In your possession can be safe, my personal rule being about a week. But if it already was cracked, I do not know if it happened before washing (in the US) or after. If before, the egg is compromised. Now, this is one spot that the EU with non-washed eggs are at a slight, very slight, disadvantage. IMO, unwashed, a cracked egg is compromised even if the membrane is intact. That paragraph is not exactly your question, but could be for people searching that find their way here.

  • 2
    Whenever an egg cracks so that egg white gets to the outside both the inner and outer membranes are broken and there is an entry path to the inner parts. May 2, 2020 at 23:34
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    +1, although personally I hate to waste eggs even more than most other foods and don't consider them an inexpensive commodity, depending on how you measure the cost.
    – JBentley
    May 3, 2020 at 12:09
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    @cbeleitesunhappywithSX That was well beyond what the OP asked, but was strictly included as people come here via web search engines. It does not apply to the details asked by this question, but related searches get here too.
    – dlb
    May 3, 2020 at 15:12

Edit after the question was substantially changed. This answer wasn't initially concerned with the fate of the broken egg itself, but the others around it.
If the white 'exploded' bin it. If it 'leaked' then that egg is compromised. If you broke it, eat it today. If you don't know when it was broken, discard & treat the rest of this answer as it stood before you changed the question.

Don't wash European eggs.

US eggs already have had their natural protective layer washed off, so this action would be sensible to prevent further contamination.

EU eggs still have their natural protection, so should be left alone. Wash right before use if you're worried.

  • This is often also true with farm fresh eggs in the US. I have a small flock and some of my customers want pristine shells, so those get washed. Mine, and some other customers want the bloom in place for its natural protection, so those are not. With eggs that still have the bloom in tact, if dirtied in the OP's way, try to still use within say a week to reduce risk
    – dlb
    May 2, 2020 at 15:31
  • idk how it would work for a small farm, but here it's just not allowed to wash eggs before sale, because here it's "well known" that eggs don't need refrigeration. If the eggs have been washed, that no longer applies, so you just cannot do it, you'll poison people.
    – Tetsujin
    May 2, 2020 at 15:35
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    US rules are all over the place and vary by state. No washing, must wash but moving water, I forget which one, but one state you actually must use dry sand paper. It is sad that EU is sane and requires Salmonella vaccination, but in the US you have to jump through hoops to even get chicks vaccinated which immediately makes eggs shelf safe. The vaccination costs pennies (US) per bird and increases safety immediately. But our massive factory farms get the rules set. Sorry for the rant, but we all pay the price for the shortsightedness. USDA puts out guides, but then states set their own rules.
    – dlb
    May 2, 2020 at 15:44
  • Once you wash an egg you have to assume it is no longer safe, hence my initial warning. It's less important what happened to the broken egg as it is to the remainder. Unwashed eggs are unrefrigerated. Once washed they lose all natural protection & have to be treated as a much more 'perishable' item.
    – Tetsujin
    May 2, 2020 at 17:57
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    Despite the answer being "neutralised," I'm glad that it's on the post - the reminder on the distinction between how to treat eggs differently based on context feels like super-useful information! May 2, 2020 at 18:02

Sure. Wash them off with a little cold water, rub them dry carefully with some paper towels in case you want to keep them for longer and not have sticky old egg whites on the outside.


I am new to your site so I may not understand how to view all the answers or the entire discussion, but I did not see the solution my mother taught me. You can use the same "trick" to test for freshness that you can use to test for potential contamination in your egg, so I will give the answers to both. (I noticed some people do not like you deviating from the original question but, hey, I'm old. I figure it is NEVER too late to learn something that may come in handy some day.)

Place your egg in a cup or bowl of cold water - cold tap water, not cold as in refrigerated.

Make sure there is enough water that the egg can stand up on end in the container and still be covered with water.

If the submerged egg lies flat along the bottom, the egg is very fresh. ENJOY! If it doesn't but was sold as fresh, you might want to mention that to the vendor.

If the egg stands up on one end it is not so fresh, up to maybe a few weeks, but still good to eat.

If the egg floats, it contains air and should be tossed. It is not only old, but air can contain contaminants and air is how contaminants get into your egg.

Believe it or not, I have had eggs that have been in the refrigerator for months that stand on end in water and are just fine. But remember ALL pre-washed eggs can contain air and contaminants that can cause Salmonella-and-such so always thoroughly cook your eggs. If you must drop a raw egg in a drink, you might want to make sure it lays flat on the bottom of a glass of water first.

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    I am sorry, but I have to disagree. The “submerge in water” method is solely based on physics. Over time, some liquid evaporates (note that eggshells aren’t airtight, so that the chicks can breathe) and the air bubble at the end gets larger, which leads to the various sinking/floating behavior. Bacterial contamination need not influence the size of the air bubble and with that the behavior in water. The only connection of the two is that older eggs are more likely to be spoiled, especially as the eggshells get more porous over time. The water test says nothing about bacteria in fresh eggs.
    – Stephie
    May 9, 2020 at 4:34
  • Nevertheless, welcome to Seasoned Advice! If you have a moment, the tour and the help center will explain more about how the site works and if you have questions, there’s Seasoned Advice Chat and detailed discussions on the site’s scope are on Seasoned Advice Meta.
    – Stephie
    May 9, 2020 at 4:50
  • Does this answer the original question about whether egg residue affects safety of uncracked eggs?
    – Erica
    May 21, 2020 at 16:05

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