Asked on Jul 14, 2015

Getting gunk off of a seashell

by 861650
I have a seashell about the size of a small/medium bowl that has been flattened out a little. On the inside, there is this beautiful mother-of-pearl look and is so pretty. However, on the outside, there is all this hardened gunk--don't know what to call it. But, in spots, I can see the mother-of-pearl on the top as well. How do I get this "stuff" off without damaging the shell?
  5 answers
  • Kai Kai on Jul 15, 2015
    Soaking in bleach water cleans all the shells I collect, but we do not have mother of pearl here, so do not know for certain if it works on those shells.
  • Lane Maeve Alison Lane Maeve Alison on Jul 15, 2015
    Try soaking in white vinegar first. Less harsh than bleach and will dissolve lime and calcium based spots.
  • Markie Markie on Jul 15, 2015
    Sounds like it is an abalone shell. The exterior is naturally rough and barnacle like with a mother of pearl interior. I would leave the exterior as it is.
    • 861650 861650 on Jul 15, 2015
      @Markie Thank you for the info and I sure appreciate it. If you are 100 percent sure, I will leave it alone.
  • Diane Filipiak Diane Filipiak on Jul 16, 2015
    Try using a product called CLR. It's found in hardware stores. It's used to remove calcium deposits and we'll since shells are made up of calcium......I used this trick with a shell I picked up in California. It takes a little work but the results are amazing!
    • 861650 861650 on Jul 16, 2015
      @Diane Filipiak Thanks so much for the info. Come to think of it, I have some CLR. My question is how you did it. Did you use a brush, a 5-in-1 tool or what? What I'm asking is how aggressive can you get as I don't want it falling apart or ruining it?
  • Diane Filipiak Diane Filipiak on Jul 16, 2015
    Karen I wet a washcloth and let it sit over parts of the shell. I put mine in an airtight container. Next I went after it with a hard bristled nailbrush. It took some time but my shell is gorgeous! Good luck!
    • 861650 861650 on Jul 16, 2015
      @Diane Filipiak Thanks for following up with me. Going to try your method asap. However, you didn't say how long you let the shell soak in the CLR but I will figure it out...just have to check on it. I will tell you this calcium is thick in places and is hard as cement..and then, there are some soft spots. Been soaking it in plain water for 2 day. Thanks again!