Seashells are inexpensive souvenirs for people who love collecting them during a vacation or trip to a beach resort. But the problem is how to bring them with you on travel without emitting its awful smell inside the bus or airport. Definitely, you need to clean them first before packing them inside your bag and be part of your seashells collection at home. Check out the steps below on how to clean seashells to remove dirt, algae, barnacles and outer coverings.
How to clean live seashells
Things you need: (Depends on the method you choose)
For burying: a small shovel for digging
For freezing: water tight bag, water and freezer
For boiling: pot of water, tongs, hand gloves or towel
When using microwave: Microwave device
For bleaching: a container with water and bleach solution and freshwater
Methods and steps on how to clean live seashells:
Choose any of the methods you may possibly opt to when cleaning live seashells.
If a yard is available in the place where you are staying that allows digging holes, you may choose this method. Bury the seashells in a hole about 18” just enough to keep animals from digging it. Leave them buried for at least a couple of months to allow bacteria, worms, larvae and insects eat or remove the tissues of the shell.
Place the shells inside the bag with water then put it inside the freezer. When the seashells are already freezing solid, thaw them at room temperature. After defrosting, you can now grab the animal inside the shells and remove it gently.
Get a pot of water enough to hold the shells to be cleaned. Boil it. If you are cleaning plenty of shells, boiling should take longer. Use tongs in removing the shells out of the pot, grasp them with your hands in gloves or with a towel then pull the animal tissue out of the shell. Be careful while removing the shells, the hot water may burn you.
Using the microwave
Cooking time for your seashells depends from one microwave to another. So, it is you who will figure out the duration of cooking the shells similar to the boiling process. This may be deemed an easy step for cleaning but opting to this kind of method may leave the awful stench of the shells inside the microwave.
After choosing one of the methods suggested above as well as pulling out the rest of the tissues inside the shells, you need to immerse them in a 50-50 solution of water and bleach. There is no time set for bleaching but it typically depends on the type and quantity of shells you are cleaning. However, when you notice that the periostracum or the flaky covering of the shell is removed, that is your cue to take out the shells from the solution. Then, rinse them thoroughly using fresh water.
How to clean dead seashells
Dead shells are those with no animal tissue inside. Actually, these shells are easier to clean in contrast to the live ones.
Things you need:
– Container with water and bleach solution
– Dental pick, water pick, toothbrush or grill brush
– Rotary file or grinder or Dremel
Steps of cleaning:
1. To remove the outer covering including the algae and periostracum, soak the shells in the 50-50 water and bleach solution. Same with the bleaching method for live seashells, no time is set for soaking the shells in the solution, you just have to wait for the covering to separate from the seashells to remove them out of the container.
2. If the shells still contain barnacles and other matters, use a dental pick in picking them off from the shell. You may also use grill brush, water pick or toothbrush.
3. For shells with chipped or rough lips, smoothen it with a rotary file or grinder or a Dremel.
– To make the seashells shiny, rub it with mineral or baby oil after drying.
– Use protective eyewear while cleaning seashells.