Have you ever actually smelled rotten eggs?

There is currently a series of radio commercials from the local utility company warning people about gas leaks. In the commercial they discuss the fact that they have added mercaptan to the gas to make it detectable and that we can therefore tell there is a gas leak if we smell rotten eggs.

Ok, so far, except that I am in my 70s and lived my childhood in a farming community and we raised chickens and I can never remember actually smelling a rotten egg.

This got me wondering whether anyone has ever smelled one and whether comparing mercaptan to the smell of rotten eggs makes any sense.

So. Anyone?


When I was a little girl, we had chickens in a shed out back. Sometimes they’d manage to hide an egg, and if that egg wasn’t fertile, whew! I’d take the smell of leaking gas (or sulphur springs) a hundred times over the smell of one of those eggs when it broke.

Yes. It was eye-watering strong.

Lock me in a room with a gas leak over locked in w/ a couple rotten eggs.

Yes, and the mercaptan additive is more skunkish than rotten-eggy, in my experience.

LOL. This made me laugh, because my mom is 87 and has forgotten whether she has ever eaten a green pepper…something she loves. So my first thought was, maybe you have just forgotten ever smelling a rotten egg!

Well maybe back in the dim pre-intellect days, I suppose. Nevertheless I’d think I would remember something like that. It certainly hasn’t been since I was 9 or 10.


I have smelled quite a few rotten eggs and they don’t smell remotely like what they put in the gas to me.

Yes, but we thought it was spoilt fish, and spent ages looking for where we might have spilt fish oil un-noticed, before we realised the nasty fishy smell was actually coming from the egg box.

Yes, I have smelled a rotten egg. It is kind of hard not to smell one when you work in a grocery store as I did way back in the 20th century. They smell something like mercaptan, but considerably more unpleasant.

Yes, I purposely buried an egg for a couple months, when I was kid, to find out what rotten eggs smell like, since my chemistry set said that burning sulphur smelled a little like it.

It lied.

Yup. Broke an egg into a bowl once and it was all black. Instant heaving, rapid disposal. Not something I want to do again. Thankfully, it was the first egg of four that I was planning to make into an omelette. It would have been terribly irritating if it had been the fourth one.

I have no idea what mercapton is but a rotten egg smells like a skunk has been fucking your chickens.

I’ve never smelled roten eggs, but have smelled chemicals that apparently smell like rotten eggs.

Yeah recently my chickens made an unauthorized nest and while disposing of a dozen or more eggs of unknown age some of them broke, just about exploded really. A big pop and terrible smell.

I used to work in a place that, among other things, bought eggs from farmers and then sold them to a breaking plant in Iowa. At one point we were told by the breaking plant that they wouldn’t take any rotten ones so we had to go through each case and remove them. I’ll spare you the details of what was found in some of those cases, but needless to say I have indeed smelled rotten eggs and it smells nothing like a gas leak.

Yup, someone stuck an egg in a box and put the box on high shelving that the teacher didn’t clean out until the end of the school year. I have no idea how long it was up there!

I always, always break the eggs one-by-one into a separate smaller bowl before adding them to the larger bowl…and I’ve never gotten a rotten egg from a store in my life. Just a habit I picked up from my grandfather.

Back in the 70’s, a big egg truck overturned on the Escondido Grade.

That particular corner stank like billy Hell for a month! Everyone would roll up their car windows and drive as fast as possible. Lood Gord, what a reek! “Now I shall teach you the true meaning of the word ‘Fetor!’”

Never smelled a rotten egg, but I have heard so many times that hydrogen sulphide smells like a rotten egg that I figure rotten eggs must smell like hydrogen sulphide.