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Abalone Shell ~ Cleaning

I love the beach and I have walked miles and miles collecting shells and stones. I love to create one-of-a-kind pendants with my finds.

The search begins

Cleaning the barnacles off and getting down to the top of the original shell seems to be an impossible task. There have got to be better ways to clean them, so the web searching begins. Tried several tips from others and what a mess. Some said to soak them in vinegar and water, or bleach and some said to use Acid. Vinegar and water started eating through the shell, where there were hardly any barnacles. So that was a bust. Bleach did not help, and I was not going to try any kind of Acid.

Acid Method

Acid Method

Even taking into consideration the usage of Acid makes me cringe. Muriatic acid is an extraordinarily reactive liquid acid, and one of the MOST DANGEROUS CHEMICALS you could purchase for domestic use. It is a business-power answer of hydrogen chloride fuel online dissolved in water, additionally referred to as hydrochloric acid. Yep, muriatic acid is a "notable belly acid"! Muriatic acid has many business and domestic uses, including business synthesis of vinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) meals additive gelatin manufacturing descaling leather-based processing family cleaning (whilst diluted) pickling of steel manufacturing of inorganic chemical compounds pH manipulate of water, meals, and drugs regenerating ion alternate resins' purification of desk salt constructing construction to dissolve rock in oil manufacturing takes place evidently in gastric acid to digest meals My different subject changed into whereinto you positioned the acid whilst you are achieved with it. Can now no longer position it down your drain, You do now no longer need to permit it to run down your driveway. This technique changed into now no longer for me.

Bleach Method

Bleach Method

I tried this method, and it did not do much. It took some colors out and loosen up some barnacles. I was so concerned about the bleach spilling and getting on my clothes, and I also did not get the result I wanted. I need to get all the barnacles to make the top as smooth as possible to use them to make jewelry.

What worked for me

What I discovered is that Liquid soap and hot waterworks. It is time-consuming, but the final look is what I wanted. I just did 1 at a time. I would soak it for a few hours in very hot water and soap. Then I would use a big wire brush. Keep the shell wet and scrub any loose barnacles. When you do not see anything breaking loose anymore start over by soaking them. Once the hard barnacles were gone and the top was smoother, I started using a smaller wire brush after soaking. When I finally started seeing the look I wanted, I changed to a soft wire brush and soaking. Here is finally my clean shell.....

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Abalone Shells


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© 2015 Shelli Godinho


Shelli Godinho (author) from Ontario, California on June 09, 2017:

It took several soaking and scrubbing. Soaking a couple days after each scrubbing. Scrubbing a few hours.

Sorry it took so long to answer

Merenia Stockley on December 13, 2016:

How long do you think it took altogether? Or how many rounds of soaking did you have to do on average per shell approximately?

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