You might have gotten the idea from TV or in movies, but does egg carton soundproofing really work?
Well, the short answer to that is: not really.
Read on to find out why using egg cartons to soundproof a room isn’t ideal, how to use them effectively for soundproofing, and any other question you may have!
Different Types of Noise
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of using egg cartons for soundproofing and the various soundproofing material you can choose from, it will be good for you to know the different kinds of noise that a person will normally encounter.
Airborne noise refers to a sound wave that travels through the air.
For example, when a TV or radio makes a sound, this is transmitted through the air until they come into contact with any solid surface.
Once the sound waves hit this solid surface, it disperses, and then transfers the sound to the surrounding area.
Structure-borne sound refers to sounds that are transmitted through any structure, which occurs because of an object making contact with that structure.
For example, when your upstairs neighbors walk around on their high heels, the sound of their steps is transmitted through their floor, then through your ceiling.
This contact creates waves that are transferred through the structure into the surrounding area.
Egg Carton Soundproofing: Myth or Fact?
The Egg Carton Shape
You’ll notice that egg cartons have a distinct round shape, which naturally makes you think it would be great to use egg cartons for soundproofing.
When you use these egg cartons for soundproofing, you place them against a surface like a wall.
Ideally, the sound becomes trapped inside the round bottom of the individual spaces for each egg, thus preventing them from bouncing off of a solid surface and further transmitting sound.
Essentially, the sound becomes trapped in the egg crates until they dissipate. And this could be true if it weren’t for the materials egg crates are made of.
The Egg Crates’ Materials
Egg boxes are made out of thin materials that have low noise absorbing qualities. This makes them less effective as a soundproofing material, certainly not in the way people think.
Soundproofing with egg crates is not a good long-term solution for your room because their materials are not durable and cannot be cleaned.
In effect, they will probably become damaged quickly.
Using egg boxes is not as effective at sound deadening as acoustic foam because its materials just aren’t made the way acoustic foams are.
The Better Alternative to Egg Cartons for Soundproofing: Acoustic Foam
While this isn’t technically a soundproofing material, acoustic foam still offers sound-absorbing qualities that are effective at noise reduction.
Acoustic foam is best used for reducing echoes, such as in movie theaters or studios.
These acoustic foam panels are made of a material that is much denser than egg cartons’.
This means that sounds can bounce inside the pockets that are formed in the foam until it radically reduces the sound’s energy, lowering the overall noise level you would normally hear without the acoustic foam.
Acoustic foam is also much thicker than egg cartons, so it will add mass to any surface you will apply it to.
For soundproofing material, mass is critical. The higher its mass, the better it will be at stopping sound dead in its tracks.
As to its texture, acoustic foam is soft, which makes it much harder for sound to bounce off of the material. Egg boxes, on the other hand, aren’t flexible at all.
While this makes it good for eggs, it isn’t good for soundproofing because sound can easily bounce off of its material and fly into the surrounding space until it collides with another object.
Ease of Installation
When installing soundproofing methods yourself, it’s critical you also consider the time and work it will take.
Acoustic foam has a flat side on the back that makes them quite easy to adhere to your walls.
This is unlike egg cartons, which have that round pattern on both sides. This makes them more difficult to stick onto your walls and increases the likelihood of them falling on their own.
We’re sure that’s something you’d like to avoid, as it would be a hassle to keep sticking egg cartons onto your wall every day.
How to Use Egg Cartons for Soundproofing
Despite its shortcomings, egg boxes can still offer some kind of sound reduction that will somewhat help soundproof a room.
They are excellent for reducing minimal amounts of noise without having to spend a lot.
It bears stressing that you should not expect egg cartons to significantly or moderately impact sound reduction.
But if you still want to give egg cartons a try to prevent very low levels of noise, here is a basic overview of what you will need to do.
Step 1: Gather Your Egg Cartons and Materials
The first step with any project is ensuring you have all the materials you will be needing.
For this, gather enough empty egg cartons or egg crates. This is an excellent way of recycling old egg cartons you bought your eggs in.
Make sure the egg cartons you are using are not made of plastic, as this will have zero soundproofing qualities.
The best egg cartons to use are those made of foam, as you can somewhat clean them. Paper egg cartons keep a smell and are impossible to clean throughout your use.
If you want to further reduce your carbon footprint, you can opt to use cardboard instead of egg boxes.
You will also need some kind of adhesive that you can safely use on your walls, such as staples, nails, tape, superglue, or push pins.
Remember that if this project doesn’t work out or you change your mind later on, you may choose to remove the egg cartons. So consider that before making permanent holes in your walls.
Step 2: Clean Your Egg Cartons
Eggs can often accidentally crack inside their egg crate, so make sure to use cartons that are clean.
Raw eggs are not only bad for you because of all the bacteria they contain, but also because of the smell they can develop the older the smears are.
Inspect each egg crate and throw away any that have any egg smears, stains, or shells inside of them. If you are using foam cartons, you may wipe small amounts of egg in them.
Step 3: Add Layers to Your Egg Cartons
This is an optional step, but we highly recommend it if you want to give your egg cartons the best chance of reducing noise.
As we’ve mentioned, egg cartons aren’t very good at soundproofing a room not their own.
To improve the effectiveness of using egg cartons, we recommend stuffing them with pieces of paper, fabric, or foam inside their opening.
This will add layers and improve their density so that they can absorb sound energy better. It will force sound waves to go through more layers and help disperse them more easily.
You can also use this step to give the back (the side you will stick to the wall) of your egg cartons a flatter surface so that they will be easier to attach to your walls.
Step 4: Add Layers to the Wall
Again, this is an optional step. However, the trick to using a thin material like egg cartons is to add as many layers as you can between it and the wall.
We highly recommend using soft materials, such as old blankets, on your walls.
Attach them prior to sticking on your egg cartons to provide an additional buffer. You can also use curtain rods and hang them from there.
You can also opt to use soundproofing blankets at this stage.
Step 5: Attach the Egg Cartons
Get your clean egg cartons and attach them to the wall with the adhesive or material of your choice. Secure them in place so that they won’t randomly fall off on their own.
Ensure that you cover the entire surface of the wall with your egg cartons, as the smallest gaps can substantially impact the soundproofing you will get and also sound waves to go round the egg trays.
Most Affordable Ways to Soundproof A Room
The best way to use egg cartons is to do so along with other methods, like soundproofing blankets, carpets, and other materials.
And if you really want to invest in your recording studios, do away with egg crates altogether and opt to use more effective soundproofing alternatives instead.
There are plenty of things you can use to reduce echo and improve acoustics without having to spend a lot.
Contrary to what most people think, our suggestions below work best when you use them together, and not just stick to one solution.
However, we must remind you that this will only work to reduce noises. True soundproofing requires an enormous investment of time, effort, and money.
Doors and Windows
A lot of the noise that can pass into and out of a room goes through small gaps in the walls, doors, and windows.
Therefore, it is important that you first check your doors and windows before you soundproof.
If you can feel a draft or wind, even when your doors and windows are closed, that means there is a gap between their frame and the wall where sound can pass through.
For these, we recommend using an acoustic sealant. You can use this for any other gaps or holes you may see on your walls and ceilings, as well.
You should also use a draft stopper on your doors and windows to further soundproof them. Weatherstripping tape is also a great alternative if you don’t want to make permanent changes just yet or want to further improve your soundproofing methods.
Of course, we will also highly recommend that you use soundproofing curtains. You can easily install them using railings above a window or door and along all your walls.
If you can’t afford legitimate soundproofing curtains, moving blankets, or other curtains made of dense materials can be a suitable alternative.
As we’ve mentioned, an excellent alternative to egg crates for soundproofing is acoustic foam.
They make acoustic foam panels for your room out of denser, thicker, polyurethane foam that is better at absorbing sound. Polyurethane foam is also easy to handle because of its lightness and flexibility. But if you need more than just one soundproofing solution for your room, read on.
First, you can line your walls with various products, like blankets, Mass Loaded Vinyl or MLV, and similar rubber soundproofing materials.
These will provide you with very high density and mass, which will help with any echo problems you may have.
An excellent idea you can look into is to move your furniture around. Cover as much of your wall with various things, like bulky pieces of furniture, to prevent sound from going through the walls.
Also, add soft materials as much as you can. You can do this by using pillows, blankets, sofas, and other types of soft furniture to absorb sound energy and prevent them from bouncing around like they would in an open cell.
Finally, add textiles to empty walls, whether you choose to use paintings, decorative quilts, and blankets, anti-vibration pads, or foam wallpapers.
Not only will this combined help soundproof your room, but they are also a great way to redecorate your space!
Ceilings and Floors
One reason ceilings and floors are incredibly difficult to soundproof is that they are most susceptible to impact or structure-borne noise.
Some people choose to hang dense materials or cloth to your ceiling.
You can work on soundproofing your floor to reduce disturbances to your neighbors.
One can use carpets, MLV, rubber, or a combination of these soundproofing materials to help lessen impact noises.
You can also use soundproofing foam carpet underlays if one has the extra budget. The reason these are special is that they are much thicker and made of a different material than your standard carpet.
While soundproofing with egg cartons may be a myth, there are still plenty of options out there that are just as affordable. We highly recommend using foam.
Acoustic foams are easy to maintain, affordable, and much more effective at noise reduction.
We hope the content of this article has helped clear things up for you and helped you determine the right combination of materials and methods for your soundproofing.
If you want a complete list of materials, check out our Complete Guide to Sound Absorbing Materials.