How to Clean Shells
FLORIDA SHELLS BEACHCOMBING TIPS
A lot of fun is a day at the beach wandering along the shoreline finding pretty seashells and other sea life, sand dollars, starfish, seahorses and more. Young and old enjoy the search and so happy when a special shell is found. Below are some tips and “How to clean” your seashells and sea life treasures.
- Bring a bucket, net bag, scoop, sun lotion, and hat.
- Best to shell at low tide and after a storm.
- Do not take live shells or sea life – return to sea.
How to clean shells.
Soak shells in a 50/50 solution of water and bleach a few hours or overnight. If any barnacles or other matter is left remove with a pick or toothbrush, even a grill brush. To make shells shine wipe with mineral or baby oil.
How to bleach a Sand dollar.
When you collect a sand dollar first check to see if it is alive, turn it over, there are little centipede feet up and down the backside, gently touch them with your finger to see if they move and if it is alive. If alive gently place back into the water and if they do not move then you have found one of the “treasures “ from the sea.
To bleach a sand dollar white it is important to soak in fresh water first. Water will be a brownish color, change water frequently until fairly clear or just continually flush with water until water stays fairly clear. Soak in a 50/50 solution of bleach and water for 5-10 minutes. CAUTION. Do not soak too long in bleach solution as sand dollar may crumble. Rinse thoroughly in fresh water, let dry preferably in sun to bleach further. To harden a sand dollar for crafts or display: Mix equal portions of white flue and water. With brush cover sand dollar with mixture. Let dry.
Preserve a Starfish.
Soak starfish in 70% solution Isopropyl alcohol overnight. Let dry thoroughly in the sun, if possible. Do not leave out in the rain or dew as an odor will remain. Weigh down legs to prevent curling up as it dries.
Preserve a Seahorse.
Seahorses are preserved similar to a starfish.
Preserve Sea fans.
Sea fans are hard to get the odor out of. Best to rinse with fresh water and dry in the sun.