How to Clean Oyster Shells For Crafts

oyster shells on the Mississippi beach

We spent this Spring Break at my parents house on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It is truly one of my favorite places on the planet. Days are slow – spent lounging by the pool, walking the beach, or just hanging out with family. And, the sunsets from the front porch (with wine glass in hand) can’t be beat.

The coast is my happy place, so I had been wanting to bring a little of that feel home by creating some decor out of oyster shells. We gathered a bunch during our beach walks and while I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with all them, I knew I would figure out something.

But, before getting crafty on any sort of project, the oyster shells have to be cleaned thoroughly. Just rinsing them in water is not enough to remove any leftover bacteria or other yuckiness. Read on for complete instructions on how to clean oyster shells for crafts.

Sanitize And Disinfect The Oyster Shells

Oysters are not clean critters. I mean, they do live in the dirt on the bottom of the ocean after all. So, before you do anything crafty with them, you are going to want to give them a good sanitizing. The process is super easy, but allow yourself several hours for soaking.

Gather your shells in deep bowls and fill the bowls with 1/2 water and 1/2 bleach. Let the shells soak for about 4 hours. This will kill anything that might still be clinging to life.

gather oyster shells into large bowls for bleaching
cleaning oyster shells for crafts

Remove Excess Residue From Shells

The bleach & water mixture will be pretty gross after a few hours. Pour out about 1/2 of the liquid and give the shells a good squirt of dish soap. Fill the bowls back to the top with warm water and let the shells soak in the suds while you work on each one individually.

Use a small stiff brush to scrub any excess residue off each shell. Scrub the front and back thoroughly to dislodge any sand or dirt that might still be stuck in the crevices.

Bleach and dish soap will clean and disinfect oyster shells

Lay Shells Out For A Sun Bath

Once your shells are scrubbed clean, it is time to let the sun finish the bleaching process. Lay them outside in the sun for a few hours and you will see the browns and grays of the wet oyster shells change to softer shades of white.

clean white oyster shells for crafts

That’s all it takes to clean oyster shells for craft projects!

Read about how to make an Oyster Shell Jewelry Dish here!

How to Clean Oyster Shells For CraftsHow to Clean Oyster Shells For Crafts

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