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Why the Egg Float Test Doesn’t Always Work

A carton of eggs sits behind a glass mug filled with water and an egg sunk to the bottom.
Shea Simmons/LifeSavvy

No one wants an egg to go to waste these days. Those puppies are expensive! But people also don’t want to eat an expired egg, so they turn to the egg float method to ensure they don’t prematurely toss something. But does this popular egg-testing method work?

While this might be one of the most well-known ways to test an egg’s quality, according to the Food and Drug Administration, it’s not the most accurate egg test.

Just in case you’re not familiar with the egg float test, it’s a super simple way to test if your eggs have gone bad. All you do is fill a clear glass with water then gingerly place an egg inside. If the egg sinks, it’s said to still be good. If an egg tilts upward, it’s losing quality, and if it floats, it’s time to toss it. The simplicity is likely why so many turn to it, but it could give you false results. That means you’d waste an egg, and no one can afford that with egg costs what they are.

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Why doesn’t this work? Well, it kind of does. The float test is accurate for egg age and freshness. Eggs that sink are fresher than eggs that float. Basically, eggs that float are older, but being older doesn’t necessarily mean being spoiled. Considering that eggs can be good in the refrigerator for three to five weeks, a four-week-old egg might float but still be totally edible.

Instead of seeing if your egg floats, crack it into a bowl and smell it. According to the FDA, the egg will smell unpleasant if spoiled and could also be discolored. If it’s good, though, scramble it or gingerly pour it into a pan to make it sunny side up.

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to eggs, that float test might not be your best option. Instead, use the sniff test, and to conserve eggs further, why not try some eggless breakfast options?

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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