One of the treasured moments of a beach vacation is gathering seaside souvenirs or seashells. The gathering of seashells is fun for the whole family as everyone pursues what they perceive as the perfect shell. Every coastal visit usually entails bringing home a large bag of seashells. As pretty as these treasures are, they also come with a dead fish smell once you get home and put them on your dresser. Do not let the foul odor prevent you from keeping these treasures. There are a variety of ways to clean and remove the bad smell from sea shells with these quick easy steps.
Determining the cause of odor within shells
The primary cause of seashell odor is attributed to the organism within the shell. Smaller shells would contain microorganisms while a larger Conch shell contains a larger critter that will need to be removed. If the shell has recently washed ashore and there is potential for a living crab or other inhabitant of the shell, do the right thing and leave it alone. Gather up only those shells where it appears likely the inhabitant is dead or already vacated the shell. Now that you have your shells, it is time to remove the cause of the stink.
Removing the cause of stinky seashells
One way to remove the dead organisms found within your shells is to bury them in the back yard for a month or two. Sure it sounds strange, but the insects will do the “dirty” work and go in and remove the decaying material from your shells. Another tactic to remove the cause is to place the shells in a water tight container and cover with water. Place the container in the freezer and freeze the shells for a few days. Make sure the container is very airtight or consider double wrapping with a ziplock over the container. You do not want the rest of your freezer items smelling like rotten fish so double containment is recommended. Once the shells are thawed, remove the dead organism and prepare to clean.
The other suggested method to remove the stink is boiling the sea shells in salt water. This high temperature of the boiling water kills the organisms hidden inside the shell and even the smaller ones hidden in cracks or pores. Gently remove the shells from the pot with tongs and gently remove the dead organism if dealing with larger conch shells.
Once the shells are free of organisms, it is time to clean them. Grab a firm toothbrush and a bucket of warm water and bleach and give the shells a good cleaning. Once the shells have been brushed with the solution and rinsed, lay them out on a towel to dry. Do not let them dry in the sun as that may make them even more brittle.