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How to clean shells
09-01-2007, 02:25 PM,
How to clean shells
[How do you clean regular sea-shells without bleach? (I like the colors!) DO you just rinse them in water or is there something special you should do? Thanks in advance! <img src="images/smiley/clap.gif" alt="" border="0" />

09-09-2007, 01:37 PM,
How to clean shells
Bleach is the best all around cleaning solution for shells. It doesn't harm the colors of the shells. It does remove periostracum, but on a shell with periostracum you can't see the colors anyway. Still, some serious collectors do like to have some specimenas with periostracum, and such specimens have to be cleaned without bleach. Bleach also removes many kinds of encrusting organisms as well as algae, ordinary mud and dirt, and most importantly, it removes any remaining soft parts of the animal from within the shell, thereby avoiding unpleasant odors. You don't have to use the bleach full strength. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water is sufficiently strong for most cleaning jobs. But stronger solutions can be used without harm to the shells. There are some exceptions. I don't use bleach on very thin, translucent shells, or on shells with a nacreous interior like pearl oysters and abalone. If you are nervous about using bleach, try it on a few less desirable specimens until you gain some confidence in the technique. After bleaching, just flush with water inside and out, and dry.

If the whole animal is in the shell, it has to be removed before using bleach. The usual ways of accomplishing this are:

cooking - start with room temperature water, put the shells in, bring to near boiling, then cool gradually. Avoid sudden temperature changes, or the shells may crack. Don't drop them into near boiling water, and don't remove them from very hot water and immediately rinse them with cold water. After cooking and cooling, the animal can usually be shaken or flushed or picked out of the shell with a narrow sharp instrument.

freeze/thaw - overnight in the freezer, then thaw at room temperature, after which the animal can be shaken/flushed/picked out of the shell.

microwave - some collectors like this method. I have tried it a few times. It's fast, and it seems ok for reasonably solid shells. But more fragile shells are likely to crack/break/explode, in my experience. put the shells inside a plastic container to prevent snail parts spattering all over the inside of your microwave.

You may find some more tips in the shell cleaning section of this website, here:

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.  <span class="petit">--Last edited by Paul Monfils on 2007-09-09 05:41:07 --</span>
04-13-2009, 02:51 PM,
How to clean shells
I am afraid bleach is the best. Can you get your parents or an older realative to do it for you?
04-18-2009, 10:38 AM,
How to clean shells
Not if you use rubber gloves.

04-18-2009, 02:31 PM,
How to clean shells
Also, you don't have to put the shells in full strength bleach.  1 part bleach in 9 parts water works quite well.  Perhaps you could get some help making the dilution.  10% bleach won't burn your skin.  Of course you should be careful not to splash it in your eyes. Or on clothing, furniture, etc.
05-01-2009, 09:46 AM,
How to clean shells
i was told by a malacologist that shells should be soaked in fresh water to remove salt, as over time salt will erode the shells. he suggested an hour soaking for tiny shells and overnight for the larger ones.
i am assuming that the bleach treatment is for xtreme makeovers where debris or mud etc, needs to be removed.
i was just looking at some shells today, from india, that need the heavy treatment and didn't know what to use, so thanks for that info.

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