How to Clean A Conch Shell

Shells found in the wild, often contain a lot of dirt and sand, luckily, it’s relatively simple to clean them and reveal the shell’s true beauty. Here is how to clean a conch shell.

  • Soak the shell in a bucket of clean water for an hour. This will loosen up the dirt and debris.
  • Discard the dirty water and rinse all the dirt from the bucket.
  • In the clean bucket, mix 1 part bleach and 3 parts water. Ideally wear gloves to protect your hands and junkier clothing in case of splatters.
  • Carefully place the shell in the mixture, and let it soak for 24 hours. More than 24 hours is ok, but do it for at least 24 hours. This will kill any bacteria and remove any bad odor. This process also loosens debris such as barnacles stuck to the shell.
  • With your gloves on, remove the shell from the mixture, and rinse it thoroughly with tap water.
  • Use a wire bristled brush to scrub the sand and barnacles off the shell surface.
  • Let dry completely and use mineral oil to polish the shell.

A couple notes:

  • We do not recommend collecting the shells with live Conch in them. You will be able to see if the Conch is alive in the shell. If alive, throw it back.
  • Some do not like to use bleach in this process. There is a method for using only water and boiling the shells, I have never used this method.

Some seashells cannot be brought back to the US: Here is a website with more information:

Our Conch in the Belize Magic Gardens were from JoyMaster Lisa’s trip to Belize. Want to see all our gardens? Then be sure to take a look at our new book.