What Does It Mean If an Egg Floats

Discover the science behind floating eggs and what it means for their freshness and safety. Learn how to test egg freshness and prevent spoilage.


Have you ever wondered what it means when an egg floats in water? Is it a sign of freshness or spoilage? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and what it signifies for the quality of the egg.

Science Behind Floating Eggs

When an egg floats in water, it is typically a sign that the egg is no longer fresh. This is because as eggs age, the air cell inside them becomes larger, causing them to become less dense and float in water. Fresh eggs, on the other hand, have a smaller air cell and will sink to the bottom.

Testing Egg Freshness

One way to test the freshness of an egg is to place it in a bowl of water. If it sinks to the bottom and lays flat on its side, it is fresh. If it stands upright at the bottom, it is still fresh but not as ideal. If it floats to the top, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded.

Signs of Spoiled Eggs

If an egg floats in water, it is not only an indication of age but also of spoilage. As eggs age, bacteria can penetrate the porous shell, leading to potential contamination and foodborne illnesses. It is important to discard any eggs that float as they may pose a health risk.

Case Studies

In a study conducted by the FDA, it was found that eggs that float have significantly higher levels of bacteria compared to fresh eggs. This underscores the importance of proper egg storage and handling to prevent spoilage and contamination.

Preventing Floating Eggs

To reduce the likelihood of eggs floating, it is essential to store them properly. Eggs should be kept refrigerated at a consistent temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Additionally, it is best to consume eggs within 3-5 weeks of purchase to ensure freshness.


In conclusion, if an egg floats in water, it is a clear indication that it is no longer fresh and may be spoiled. By understanding the science behind floating eggs and taking proper precautions, you can ensure the quality and safety of the eggs you consume.

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