How to clean up a rotten egg (after it exploded!)

If you've ever smelled the stench of a rotten egg you will never forget it, especially if it was partially incubated when it went bad. Not only are they the nastiest smelling things ever, but we call them stink bombs because they will literally explode with a bang! The smell is so strong it will make you gag and it feels like it's impossible to get it cleaned up.

Cleaning up a stink bomb egg

You can blame that horrible rotten egg smell on sulfur. Or more specifically, the proteins that make up the egg. 

From The Daily Meal: Eggs are very high in two proteins, globulin and keratin. When globulin begins to decay, a toxic chemical is released that’s called hydrogen sulfide, which has that very potent sulfur smell. Keratin also has very high levels of an amino acid called cysteine, which is full of sulfur atoms. 

Add that to a partially formed chick decomposing inside the egg, and you're in for a world of stench!

Once the rotten egg goo escapes the egg it can be hard to clean up. Especially if it's on your skin, hair, clothes or incubator...not to mention all over your kitchen! Yuck! Unfortunately I've cleaned up a lot of eggs over the years and I've learned that it's not that difficult to clean up rotten egg. It just depends what the mess is on.

Don't worry...we'll get it cleaned up!

Why rotten eggs explode 

Eggs start to go bad because bacteria enters the egg through the porous shell or through small cracks. As the bacteria multiples it produces gas. The gas causes pressure to build up inside the egg. Sometimes (as is the case of the egg in the picture) a weak spot in the shell will cause the shell to split. The decaying egg matter will then ooze out through the cracks in the shell. 

Other times the egg shell will remain intact and pressure will continue to build up inside the egg until it 'pops' open. When an egg pops, the pressure causes the rotted contents to splatter everywhere....sometimes several feet away! 

How to clean up rotten egg

Just like cleaning up a regular egg, you can turn to salt first. Dump some salt on the egg spillage and give it a minute to soak in. Wipe it up with paper towels. Salt absorbs the moisture causing the egg to congeal and makes it much easier to get the bulk of it up quickly.

Make a paste with baking soda and dish liquid and scrub any hard surfaces that the egg was on. Rinse with warm water. If the smell remains wipe with a cloth soaked in white vinegar. 

Do NOT mix baking soda and vinegar....that would be bad.

cleaning solution for rotten egg stains

Cleaning egg from clothing

Blot up as much egg as possible with paper towels. Use this natural solution for cleaning up animal stains: 1 Tbsp baking soda, 16 oz bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a small squirt of dawn dish liquid. 

Pour it all into a spray bottle, replace the cap and shake to mix. Saturate the stain with the solution. Allow to set for a few minutes then throw in the washing machine and follow normal washing instructions.

This works for carpet also. Allow solution to dry and vacuum up residue.

Cleaning spoiled egg off skin

Of course you got it all over your hands and you're first instinct will be to wash your hands. Sometimes it is enough to simply wash your hands in dish liquid. If your hands still smell, pour some baking soda into your hand and add a little dish soap. Dawn works best, but use what you have. 

Mix it into a paste and work it into your hands like you're applying a hand scrub. Rinse thoroughly. You can rub a cut lemon over your hands if the smell lingers, but it should be gone by now. 

I actually do the lemon trick every time even if the smell is gone. It's just such a nice refreshing smell after what I just went through! lol

If rotten egg happens to get in  your hair, the quickest way to get rid of it is washing with dish liquid and rinsing with vinegar. ACV will work instead of white vinegar and is supposed to be good for your there is that. 

If you'd rather just use shampoo and conditioner be prepared to wash multiple times. Also, you might not want to blow dry your hair this time. It will make any scent left behind stronger.

Wiping rotten egg (stink bomb) out of an incubator with washcloth and cleaning solution

Cleaning rotten egg out of an incubator

Dish liquid and vinegar are the safest cleaning products to use inside an incubator. Using a mild solution of dish liquid and warm water, apply it to the egg stains in the incubator. Allow to sit for a minute then wipe off with paper towels. 

Rinse with clean cool water and apply white vinegar. Wipe away after a few minutes. If the smell still isn't gone repeat with the vinegar.

Allow incubator to air dry completely before using it again. You want to make sure the bacteria is gone before adding new eggs, or you could end up in a vicious cycle of bad hatches. If you have oxine AH or an incubator cleaning solution on hand, use that to wipe down the incubator one last time.

When you're finally all cleaned up, don't forget to take out the garbage! All those dirty paper towels you used to clean the mess will be stinking the place up if they're still inside. You also might want to open a window for a bit....just to help the smell leave faster!

I know that right about now you're wondering "So, what brings this up today Lisa? It's not exactly hatching season" Well I'm glad you asked. This morning I put on my winter chore coat for the first time this winter. Guess what I found in the pocket? The oozing, smelly egg I'm holding in the picture. 

Since I had to do some quick egg clean up, I figured I should tell you all about it just in case you have to clean up a rotten egg. After all...hatching season is coming!

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  1. i know i will feel really dumb when i get the answer but what does the 'AH' in 'oxine AH' referenced above mean. I figured out the ACV since i use apple cider vinegar for creme rinse everyday. thanks

    1. Not dumb at all! Oxine AH is an Animal Health product, so that's why they call it that. I haven't been able to find a non AH Oxine product though so I'm not really certain why they feel the need to make that designation!