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How to clean conch shells

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What is the best way to clean a conch shell. Found one in the attic, want to clean it up.

Nel Lull
- Crozet, Virginia


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If you want to discuss this further, I suggest that you visit shelllovers.cjb.net/cleaning.htm. We have cleaned thousands of seashells.


Lee Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.

McHenry, Illinois


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We just returned from the beach with seven conch shells. The conch has already been removed, but we would like to know how to clean the shell (i.e. remove the horrible smell, polish, etc). Can you help?

Jennifer Keeling
- Tulsa, Oklahoma


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I am also interested in knowing how to clean the conch shell. I have a few of them from a trip to Greece. They were brown, and my friend had a bright idea to put them in bleach to clean them, so now they are white, but they can get cleaned. It's just a film like substance over the actual shell.

Thanks.

Kelly Mass
- Westfield, New Jersey


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We just returned from the Caymans with a couple of conch shells. The conch has already been removed. I have soaked them in bleach to get them white, how do we clean the shell to get the bright color on the inside and get the shiny finish like the store bought one's.
Can you assist?

thank you.

donald basemore
- Conyers , Georgia


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I have a conch shell from Bahamas. I removed the conch myself by simply pulling on it(probably a bad idea because it ripped off and its tip is still attached inside the shell). I want to know how to completely remove the conch and get rid of the smell. Thank you.

Inna
- Brooklyn, New York


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Thanks for the site! I followed the instructions and the conch looks great!

Jimena del Azar
- Toronto, Ontario


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I found a conch shell in Jamaica, but it's sort of brown and covered in a thin layer of something.... how do I clean it?

Corinne Schlick
student - Oceanport, New Jersey


August 19, 2008

How to clean shells:

If the animal is still in the shell, you need to put the shell in some water and SLOWLY bring it to near boiling to "cook" the animal. (Good eating, usually!) Some shells are not compatible with boiling, as it may craze the nacre. Pull the animal out slowly after it is fully cooked and make sure that you get all of the liver out (the last little curly-cue part that is in the shell- dark colored).
Another method the get the animal all out is to place the shell on an ant hill. The ants will clean it out in a couple days, usually.

Once you get the animal out:
 
Cleaning seashells can be easy or hard depending on the condition of the shells. The best and simplest system for MOST shells (some are too fragile for this) is to soak them in diluted (1:1) bleach for 10 minutes to a few hours (depending on the degree of encrustation, etc.) then cleaning any detracious material from the surface with a pick, if necessary. Repeated bleaching could be necessary. The pariostricum (the "skin" that covers the shell) will come off in the bleach.

After the shell is clean, brush on some diluted mineral oil or baby oil.(some people use other oils). You can dilute it 1:1 with some lighter fluid or paint thinner (FLAMMABLE!). This will bring out the color and shine of the shell.

For a more professional method, use ultrasonic cleaning machine.

Sheldon
- Nassau, Bahamas


September 11, 2009

live in bequia, st. vincent for 30 years, used to dive conch for food, other than ants to clean them. we used to take fish hook , set into foot of conch and hang from tree over grass, after the conch died weight of shell would remove the flesh

bob demmans
- Sarnia, Ontario, Canada


March 8, 2010

I found the best way to clean Conch shells, once the animal is removed, is to soak the shell in a diluted solution of CLR and water to loosen the pariostricum (the skin covering the shell). While still wet, the skin will peel off like peeling an onion. Use a stiff brush and a pick to remove the hard spots. Let dry for a couple of days, then rub with mineral or baby oil to shine. CLR will not bleach out the shell and it will retain the beautiful color.

Karen Fickies
- Irons, Michigan

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