If you're interested in selling the shells you own or you just want to preserve the ones you have, you should clean them thoroughly. Soap and water might remove some of the dirt and grime on the shells, but only a process that involves bleach will remove all of the shells' impurities. After the shells have been properly cleaned, you might be surprised by how much detail you've been able to reveal.
Items you will need
- Paint stick
- Ice pick
- Hand soap
- Mineral oil
- Small paint brush
Combine one part water and one part bleach in a bucket. Stir the mixture with a paint stick. The amount of diluted bleach you prepare depends on how many shells you are cleaning. Prepare as much of the mixture you will need to completely submerge the shells when they are in the bucket.
Place your shells in the diluted bleach. Do this gently to avoid cracking or breaking the shells.
Allow the shells to soak for between 10 minutes and 3 hours. The amount of time depends on the amount of dirt and encrustations on the shell.
Check the shells once every half hour if you're leaving them in the diluted bleach for a half hour or more. The dirt, grime and encrustations should be completely removed or easily removable by using an ice pick.
Take each shell from the bucket and remove all of the remaining impurities that the bleach solution didn't remove.
Rinse all of the shells in cool water to wash away any remaining dirt or grime.
Allow the shells to air dry completely before you apply mineral oil. This might take a half hour or more.
Wash your hands with soap and water.
Dip the tip of your paint brush in mineral oil and apply a light coat of the oil to each shell.
Allow the coat to dry for 15 minutes. Add another coat if you wish to bring out more color and shine in the shell.
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