Living so close to the beach, there is one thing our home never lacks for, and that is seashells! It seems like every time we go to the beach, we end up bringing a pocketful of shells back home. Apparently all that time collecting seashells has paid off though, because not only do I have an abundance of shells to decorate my home with, but I also know how to clean seashells the right way (aka get rid of the gunk and smell)!
Since we live on the coast, we are lucky enough to have our pick of beaches to explore. One beach in particular is an absolute treasure trove of seashells. I’m talking big, huge seashells in amazing condition just ripe for the picking. Who can resist such a find? Not me! Seashells are perfect for crafting and displaying in home decor, and best of all they’re one of nature’s many free craft materials, so I am all about it!
The very first time my husband and I explored this particular beach, we were going for a run. We didn’t have pockets to put shells in since we were wearing workout clothes (I know, tragic). But of course I wasn’t about to let that stop me from taking part in the smorgasbord of shells at my disposal. Needless to say, I started falling behind, and when my husband finally turned around to see what was going on, there I was, trying to catch up while carrying huge fistfuls of shells. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! 😉
The one drawback to picking up seashells fresh from the beach is that they’re a little dirty, and they can have an odor to them. I suppose it only makes sense… there were once creatures living in them! I used to rinse my shells with water after bringing them home to clean them, but I noticed after a few days the shells would start smelling again. So after a little experimenting, I learned how to clean seashells to get rid of the smell and ensure they last for years to come!
Materials Needed to Clean Seashells
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How to Clean Seashells
1. Mix bleach into your water. You really only need a small amount, about 1 TBSP of bleach per gallon of water. I recommend starting light on the bleach, as you can always add a little more later if your seashells are still smelly or dirty. Remember when you’re using bleach to keep it in a well-ventilated area and if you’re clumsy like me, wear gloves and clothes you don’t mind getting a bleach spot or two.
2. Let the seashells soak in the bleach/water mixture for a few hours.
3. Rinse the seashells off and use an old toothbrush to clean out the crevices and any gunk left behind on the seashells.
4. Once the seashells are dry, you can spray them with a clear acrylic spray or rub some mineral oil on them to bring out the colors and add a little shine. This step is optional, but it’s a nice finishing touch if you’ll be putting the shells on display.
And there you have it, squeaky clean seashells that will last for years to come! Seashells are such a beautiful and versatile craft medium. They look great displayed all on their own, or you can also get creative and use them for crafts. My favorite summer decor is to display seashells in my apothecary jars.
So, now that you know how to clean seashells the right way, how will you display them in your home? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love my newsletter. Sign up below for weekly craft, DIY, and home projects and tips!