Eggs are a common item at the top of all of our grocery lists. We live such busy lives, though, we sometimes forget that we have bought them. As a result, they may get left behind in our cars.
So, what happens if you leave eggs in the car overnight?
Eggs that are left in a warm car for more than 2 hours can start to grow bacteria and go bad. Eggs left in a car during colder weather will usually be fine. If eggs start to “sweat”, that moisture can mean that the eggs are at risk of starting to grow bacteria.
However, the temperature of the car as well as if the eggs are store-bought or straight from the farm affects how long they can be left out.
You probably have more questions about how to tell if your eggs are still good or at what temperature they last the longest?
How to Know if Eggs are Safe to Eat after Leaving in the Car
To tell if your eggs are safe to eat after leaving them in the car, you can do the:
- Float test
- Shake test
- Sniff test
Passing The Float Test
If you are on the fence about whether or not your eggs are still good, an easy way to tell is with the float test.
The shell of an egg is semipermeable, meaning air can pass through it. As the egg gets older, more air is able to pass into the shell which causes it to float.
If you put an egg in a glass or bowl of cold water and it floats, it is old and no longer good. If it sinks on its side it is still good. If it sinks but stands up vertically, it is still good but starting to go bad.
The downfall to this test is that you shouldn’t put eggs in water. This is because water can be sucked into the egg due to it being semipermeable. As a result, possible bacteria in the water may increase the risk of contamination.
If you plan to do this test, use the eggs right away if they pass to prevent possible bacteria from growing within the egg from the water.
Passing The Shake Test
Although less reliable, the shake test involves holding an egg to your ear and shaking it.
If you don’t hear anything when you shake the egg, the egg is still good.
Yolk that is old will lose its form and become more watery. As a result, when you shake the egg you will hear a sloshing sound.
Passing The Reliable Sniff Test
If the egg does not have a neutral odor, it has gone bad.
Bad eggs smell:
If the egg smells bad before or after you crack it open, that’s an easy way to tell it is no longer edible.
What Happens If You Leave Eggs in a Car Overnight?
Store-bought eggs that have been left in a car overnight at temperatures above 40 degrees will not be edible.
Any store-bought egg that is left out for more than 2 hours can begin to sweat, resulting in bacteria growth. The time can vary depending on the temperature outside.
However, if you left your straight from the farm eggs out in the car overnight, they are still good. This is because eggs don’t need to be refrigerated unless they have been commercially cleaned or already refrigerated.
The U.S. utilizes an egg cleaning system that leaves commercially used eggs clean and with a longer shelf life, but without their cuticle layer. That layer is what keeps bacteria out of the egg. As a result, refrigeration is needed to discourage bacteria from growing in or on the egg.
What Happens if You Leave Eggs in a Hot Car?
Eggs that are left in a car that is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter will begin to develop bacteria growth between 30 minutes and an hour.
Eggs exposed to heat will become infected by bacteria at a much faster rate than those left out at room temperature. As a result, you should utilize one of the tests listed above to ensure your eggs are still edible after being left out for more than 30 minutes on a hot day.
Even eggs straight from the farm will go bad much quicker at higher temperatures. Although they may last a bit longer in the high temperatures than store-bought ones, they too can go bad very quickly in extreme heat.
For this reason, it is best to follow the same 30-minute rule for farm-fresh eggs as you do store-bought ones.
Can You Leave Eggs in a Cold Car?
You can leave eggs in a car that is 40 degrees or less and they will still be edible.
Refrigerators are often set to 40 degrees or lower. If the temperature of the car is equal to the temperature of a refrigerator, then your eggs will be fine. Essentially, they are being refrigerated in your car.
If the temperature is correct, you can leave your eggs in a cold car for up to 5 weeks. However, if the temperature fluctuates up over 40 degrees for more than 2 hours, your eggs will no longer be edible.
If the eggs are left out for a long period of time and you are unsure if the temperature fluctuated or not, it’s best to test them before consuming them.
What to Do If You Suspect an Egg Is Bad
If you suspect that an egg has gone bad, it’s important to take the proper steps to ensure your safety. Here are some tips on what to do if you suspect an egg is bad:
- Perform the float test: The float test is a quick and easy way to check if an egg is still fresh. Fill a bowl with cold water and gently place the egg in it. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lies flat, it’s still fresh. If it stands upright on the bottom, it’s a bit older but still good to eat. If it floats to the top, it’s likely gone bad and should be discarded.
- Perform the sniff test: If you’re not sure if an egg has gone bad, give it a sniff. A bad egg will have a foul odor that’s hard to miss.
- Check the egg for signs of spoilage: If an egg is bad, it may have a discolored or slimy egg white, or a yolk that’s flattened or discolored. Discard any eggs that show these signs of spoilage.
- Err on the side of caution: If you’re unsure if an egg is still good, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it. Eating a bad egg can lead to foodborne illness, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
- Dispose of bad eggs safely: If you do find a bad egg, be sure to dispose of it safely. Wrap it in paper or plastic and place it in a sealed container or plastic bag before throwing it in the trash.
How to Clean Egg Stains from Car Upholstery
If you accidentally left eggs in your car and they broke, you may be left with a messy and smelly situation. Cleaning egg stains from car upholstery can be a challenge, but with the right approach, you can get your car looking and smelling fresh again. Here are some tips on how to clean egg stains from car upholstery:
- Act fast: The longer you wait to clean up the egg, the harder it will be to remove. As soon as you notice the stain, start cleaning it up.
- Scrape off any excess egg: Use a plastic scraper or credit card to gently scrape off any excess egg from the upholstery. Be careful not to rub the egg into the fabric, as this will only make the stain worse.
- Blot the stain: Use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot the stain, working from the outside in. This will help absorb as much of the egg as possible.
- Apply a cleaning solution: Mix a solution of one part vinegar to one part water, or use a commercial upholstery cleaner. Apply the solution to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Blot the stain again: Use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot the stain, working from the outside in. Be sure to remove as much of the cleaning solution as possible.
- Rinse with water: Use a clean cloth or sponge to rinse the area with clean water. Blot the area with a dry cloth to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Dry the upholstery: Allow the upholstery to air dry completely before using the car again. You can use a fan or open the windows to help speed up the drying process.
- Repeat if necessary: If the stain is still visible after cleaning, repeat the process until the stain is gone.
What Happens if Eggs Freeze from being Left in the Car?
Eggs that are left in temperatures that are below freezing are still edible as long as the shells have not cracked.
If the shells have cracked, the egg needs to be disposed of because bacteria could have infiltrated the shell.
However, if the egg has not cracked can still be used. According to the USDA, an egg that has been frozen should remain frozen until you intend to use it. When you want to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator and then cook it.
An egg that has been frozen will have a thicker and more syrupy yolk. As a result, it won’t be able to blend as well with the white of the egg or other possible ingredients. Due to this, it’s best to just hard-cook eggs that have been frozen.
Eggs Can Be Left In The Car For a Limited Time
Store-bought eggs should never be left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature. However, if your car is cold enough, it may be okay to leave them in it overnight.
If you are ever on the fence about whether or not your eggs are edible, simply test them using one of the talked about techniques.
If you are still unsure, go get new ones. There is no point in risking getting salmonella poisoning if you’ve left your eggs in the car a little too long.
How Long Can You Leave Out A Farm Fresh Egg?
Eggs that are straight from the farm and have not been commercially cleaned can be left at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks.
With their cuticle layer still intact, these eggs protect themselves from salmonella infection on the inside of the egg. However, they are still susceptible to bacteria growth on the outside of the shell, so be careful.