I have heard different Minhagim regarding washing at Urchatz. It seems that in some families everyone washes and in others only the Baal HaBayis. Does anyone have sources as to the different Minhagim or know of any others?
The opinion of most poskim (as per SA OC 158, 4 and Biur HaGra 12) is that one must wash without a beracha before eating a food that has been dipped in one of the halachic "drinks" (wine, blood, oil, milk, dew, honey, and water) and has not been dried.
In the MA there he does bring in the name of the Lehem Hamudos that there are those who do not wash for dipped foods based on an opinion of the Baalei Tosafos.
Based on all the above the custom at the Seder depends on the family's tradition regarding this halacha:
Sefardim and many Ashkenazim: Everyone washes for Urchatz but without a berachah.
Some Ashkenazim: Just the one leading the Seder washes as a way of evoking questions from the children. (As per SA OC 473 6 B'er Heiteiv 17)
See also web.archive.org/web/20080915215219/http://www.math.wustl.edu/….– msh210 ♦Mar 24, 2011 at 17:59