While walking along the seaside, I often happen upon large, potentially beautiful shells that are unfortunately covered with some seriously disgusting junk. I figure other people might benefit from knowing how I clean them, so I thought I would list my process.
Here's what you'll need:
- vinegar (lots of vinegar)
- a steel/wire brush with firm bristles
- a nail file, screw driver, ice pick, or similar item to pick off excess barnacles
So here are the steps I took to clean this guy:
1. Submerge the shell in vinegar and let it soak for at least an hour.
2. Remove the shell and scrub it (hard) with the wire brush. Rinse with water, use the file to pick off some of the excess barnacles, submerge in vinegar again for another 30-60 minutes
3. Repeat step 2 again as many times as needed. You're going to be putting a lot of scrubbing effort in if your shell is anywhere near as dirty as mine was.
4. Once you have your shell more or less clean and free of debris, you might find it still has a bit of a green color to it (that's the algae). A soak in about 10 parts water 1 part bleach (for about 20 minutes) should take care of it. Brush it one more time afterwards
5. Let dry thoroughly and gloss (if desired) to help keep the color richness