The best part of spending your vacation at a beach is you may have some fun activities to do. One of them is collecting as many seashells as you can. But wait! Do you know how to clean shells without damaging it? Cleaning seashells can be tedious, especially if you’ve never done this before.
Before we go straight to the cleaning tips and tricks, you should note that collecting live shells is prohibited in some regions. Just make sure to collect only dead shells, where there’s no living organism inside. Now, it’s time to learn how to clean and get rid of smells from the shells!
Table of Contents
- 1 Cleaning Seashells with Hydrogen Peroxide
- 2 Cleaning Seashells with Vinegar
- 3 Cleaning Seashells with Bleach
- 4 Cleaning Seashells without Bleach
- 5 Cleaning Seashells with Muriatic Acid
- 6 Cleaning Seashells Natural
- 7 Polishing Seashells
Cleaning Seashells with Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful cleaning agent to make your seashells ready to use. It works well to clean as well as remove the disturbing smell of the shells. The good news is, hydrogen peroxide is easy to find in nearby chemical stores.
This chemical is relatively strong but quite safe. Just make sure to wear gloves before, as it can leave a white patch on your skin. Here is how to clean seashells with hydrogen peroxide.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Microfiber cloth
- Damp the microfiber cloth with water.
- Pour the hydrogen peroxide, a small amount is enough.
- Wipe off particles, sand, and grime from the seashells.
- Rinse well.
Remember to be careful when wiping off the seashells. Some shells are sharp, just make sure you don’t cut your fingers when cleaning it.
Cleaning Seashells with Vinegar
There’s nothing vinegar can’t do. While it’s powerful to clean your kitchen appliances, vinegar also works well to clean freshly found seashells. Even if you want to do the cleaning project with the kids, vinegar is pretty safe.
Not only works to clean the shells, but vinegar also can disinfect them. Thanks to the high acidity that comes with this powerful cleaning agent. To start cleaning your seashells using the vinegar, pay attention to this cleaning procedure.
- Towel or microfiber cloth
- Warm water
- Dish soap
- Pour a small amount of vinegar to the cloth or towel.
- Scrub the seashell and make sure sand, debris, and grime are wiped off.
- Rinse with warm water and dish soap to altogether remove debris and odor.
Vinegar dissolves the calcium carbonate in the seashells and makes it fragile. So, scrubbing is much recommended than soaking.
Cleaning Seashells with Bleach
Cleaning seashells with bleach is one of the favorite methods among shell collectors. This procedure is pretty simple, and it works great to ensure the cleanliness and hygiene of the shells. Not to mention, it helps destroy bad smells from lingering.
However, you have to be careful when using the bleach solution. The shells can absorb the bleach smell, and it can’t be disturbing. Besides, soaking the shells too long can ruin the color.
- Plastic container
- Dish soap
- Paper towels
- Mix one cup of bleach and a cup of water in a plastic container, stir thoroughly.
- Put seashells and let soak for 30 minutes.
- Remove a shell from the solution and wipe gently with a towel. If you find the shells are not clean enough, return to the bowl and soak for another 30 minutes.
- Rinse and wash with hot soapy water. Use an old toothbrush to remove stubborn stains and dirt.
- Rinse then wash once more in warm soapy water to remove the bleach.
- Dry with towels or let air dry.
- Buff with mineral oil to accentuate its sheen.
Bleach effectively removes dirt and grime from the surface. Just make sure not to soak the shells too long.
Cleaning Seashells without Bleach
So, you just believe that bleach is a big no-no. Luckily, baking soda offers a great alternative to clean seashells effectively and safely. This chemical-free product isn’t abrasive, and more importantly, it’s cheap!
- Baking soda
- Warm water
- Dry towel or microfiber cloth
- Pour a tablespoon of baking soda into warm water, stir well.
- Add seashells and stir thoroughly, leave for around 5 minutes.
- Take out each shell and wipe with a dry towel or cloth.
Cleaning Seashells with Muriatic Acid
Muriatic acid is a strong chemical, but it’s known as one of the best methods to clean seashells. The chemical solution is sufficient to strip away the shells’ dull layers, giving you a fresh layer with vibrant color. However, this process should be done very carefully.
For beginners, muriatic acid may be too dangerous. But if you want to try it out, be sure to prepare proper safety equipment before cleanings, such as google, rubber gloves, and a mask.
- Muriatic acid
- Glass bottle
- Metal pick
- Paper towel
- Make a chemical solution by mixing ¼ cup of muriatic acid and ¾ cup of water.
- Prepare another glass bottle containing water.
- Dip each shell into the solution for around 3 seconds.
- Pick using a metal pick and dip in another glass bottle of water.
- Place on a towel and dry.
Dipping the shells longer than 3 seconds can compromise the color and shell thickness.
Cleaning Seashells Natural
Do you opt for natural methods to clean the shells? There’s a way you might have never known before. Just boil the shells!
Yes, boiling dead shells sounds ridiculous, but it’s an effective method to remove dirt, grime, and unwanted particles from your beautiful seashells. This method is highly safe, not to mention it helps disinfect the shells.
- Microfiber cloth/towel
- Boil seashells in the water.
- Wait for around 3 minutes, let cool.
- Remove seashells from the pot, dry with a towel or microfiber cloth.
This cleaning method works well to clean seashells from dirt and grime. Besides, you don’t need to worry about the smell as the shells are literally cooked.
For the better look, you can polish seashells before using it. Mineral oil helps restore the sheen, so it looks more attractive for the decoration.
Here’s how to do it:
- Pour a small amount of mineral oil to a dry microfiber cloth.
- Gently scrub the shell.
- You can also use clear nail polish for extra gloss.
Cleaning seashells is fun as you have a lot of methods to opt for. If you are a newcomer in shell collecting, you need to learn how to clean the shells without damaging it.