Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to Clean and Preserve Conch Shells

A couple of weeks ago we were down at the beach and dug up 2 beautiful large conch shells. I wanted these conch shells but knew it would be a chore cleaning them. Today, I am going to share with all of you how I cleaned my Conch Shells that I found at the Jersey Shore.

The first thing we did was run fresh water over them...I am talking about water from your kitchen sink tap. We did this for 5 minutes to remove sand and debris. We were not sure if the animal inside was still alive or not (he was definitely still in there) so we got a big kettle out and filled it with hot water. We brought the water to a boil and placed both Conch Shells into the water. We boiled them for 15 to 20 minutes and then turned it off. We left them sit for another 20 minutes in the hot water and then removed them with tongs.

Warning: Your house will smell fishy as you are cooking them.
Hubby then took a fork and jabbed the animal and with a little pressure they did come out all in one solid piece. (definitely deceased by this point). We then rinsed the shells under cool running water for about 5 minutes until they were clean. I did have to use an old soft bristled scrub brush to clean up the shells even more. I then aired them dry and packed them up for the trip home.
Once home I got out an empty spray bottle and filled it 3/4 of the way full with tap water and 1/4 of the way full with household bleach. I took the 2 Conch Shells outside and laid them onto newspaper and sprayed them with the water/bleach mixture. I like doing this part on a hot and sunny day as the heat/sun helps them to dry quicker and it also will help to lighten your shells. I repeated this about 5 times throughout the afternoon. Once done, I brought them back inside and ran them under cool water for a few minutes to help remove the bleach smell.

Now they are all pretty and I am going to use them in my coastal themed garden as accents. yeah! Do you collect Conch Shells and if so, how do you go about cleaning yours? I would love to hear about other methods when it comes to cleaning conch shells.

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