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How to Clean Seashells the Right Way – Includes 2 methods

Learn how to clean seashells to remove gunk and smells. The methods below prepare your shells for crafts or for beach inspired home decor.

How to clean seashells the right way - no smells

Sea shells that have been left behind by the sea can be a fun souvenir to take home from the beach. There’s a ton of ideas on crafting or even creating art work with shells. But before crafting with them its a good idea to learn how to clean seashells the right way!

Cleaning them properly will remove the smells and gunk often left behind.

I also make sure I pick seashells that don’t have live animals in them- you don’t want to evict anyone from their sea homes! To check, just pick one up and take a quick peak under the shell to find out, it should be empty.

I’ve included two seashell cleaning methods below.

You’ll learn how to how to clean seashells with bleach first. This is the method I used with a bunch of shells I collected from the beach last summer and it it works well.

After that, I’ll go over how to clean seashells without using bleach. I wanted to include it just in case you have issues with bleach.

Once they’re cleaned, I’ll give you a tip on how to make seashells shine.

Also, if your looking for crafts to make with your clean new seashells, check these out:

And if you have some sea glass with your shells, you might like this

Here’s the tutorial…

How to Clean Seashells with Bleach

 
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Learn how to clean seashells with bleach so that they get rid of smells. Warning: bleaching them might lighten their natural color.

Materials
 
Instructions
  1. Mix 3 Tbsp of bleach per 1 gallon of water into a bucket. You want enough liquid so that your shells are fully covered in it
  2. Put on your latex gloves and gently place your sea shells into the water -bleach bath
  3. Place into a safe place and leave them in for about 5-8 hours (depending on how dirty they are).
  4. After 5-8 hours has passed, drain the beach water liquid and rinse shells with some clean water.
  5. Place the shells to dry on some old newspaper.

TIP: Once dried, take some mineral oil and polish the shells to bring out shine and color. You can rub the oil on with hands or a paper towel

 

How to clean seashells without using bleach

how to clean seashells boiling water

Learn how to clean seashells without using bleach, by simply boiling them! 

Materials

Instructions
  1. Soak your seashells in a bath of water overnight or longer if your not in a rush (up to 7 days) .
  2. Put sea shells in a large pot of water. Make sure the water is at room temperature before putting in the sea shells into water – this will ensure the shells don’t crack. Cover the shells with 2 inches of extra water.
  3. Bring water with shells to a boil. Let the water come to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes ( longer if you have a lot of shells or larger ones).
  4. Using tongs, take shells out and put them on a soft surface (like a towel) to cool.
  5. Using tweezers or another tool, pull out any gunk from inside the shells and throw out
  6. Your done and now know how to clean seashells without using bleach!

TIP: Once dried take some mineral oil and polish the shells to bring out shine and color. You can rub the oil on with hands or a paper towel

 

Et voila! You’ve learned how to clean seashells with bleach , how to clean seashells without using bleach, and how to make seashells shine.

Happy crafting and seashell collecting! If your crafting with them, drop a comment below and share your seashell craft ideas…

SEA ya next time!

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How to clean seashells the right way no smells
 
 
 
 
 

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Marie

Wednesday 9th of December 2020

Please can you give me a little bit of advice: Mom gave me a nice big shell a few years ago and I put it near my water future I now want to put it in my house as a ornaments but all the colors fade away Is it possible to paint it or wat can I do I will appreciate it if you can please send me some advice Is it possible to answer me on wapp? Thank you Marie Rademeyer

Jasmine K

Wednesday 9th of December 2020

Hi Marie, You can definitely paint it or even seal it with a clear coat of varnish if you want to preserve the natural coloring. Here is a post I did where I painted some seashells as an example: https://feelingnifty.com/sea-shell-diy-candles/. If you need more guidance please email me directly at [email protected]

Cheers, Jasmine

Kim Thorley

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

I use 1 part murratic acid to 3 parts water. If you use 1cup of murratic acid, use 3 cups of water. I used a glass bowl so I can clean it and use it again. You'll need a bowl of water for rinsing the shells immediately after putting them in the murratic mixture. Dip them in the acid mixture for about 8 seconds, you play around with the length of time according to the kind of shell. Rinse immediately! When your finished spread the shells out and rinse again. Let dry. This mostly brings out the colors of the shells. Cleaning them like describe above wouldn't hurt to do first. Then either polish them with mineral oil, or spray with a non yellowing high gloss clear spray from the spray paint dept. They'll stay BEAUTIFUL for a very long time!!!

Jasmine K

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

These are great tips Kim!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

Debi

Sunday 18th of August 2019

Do you have directions for using shells on glass with epoxy resin. What adhesive would be used or is the resin the adhesive that holds the shells and sand?

Yesenia

Tuesday 6th of August 2019

Thanks I am a mother and very busy! This helped me alot!

Kim Jager

Wednesday 17th of July 2019

Genial justo esto es lo que me faltaba para terminar mi trabajo, al fiiiiin T.T GRACIAS!

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