River clam shells can be used for a variety of purposes, from decorative ash trays to sculpture adornments. Preparing the shells for use requires delicate procedures to ensure the shell remains intact. There are varying ways to clean clam shells, including sun bleaching and a chlorine beach bath. The cleaning method will likely depend on the desired purpose of the shells. Regardless of the method used, take care to preserve the natural beauty of the shell.
Things You'll Need
- Sauce pan
- Chlorine bleach
- Cookie sheet
Removing Animal Matter
Bring 6 cups of water to near boiling in a medium sauce pan. Place river clam shells that still have animal matter attached into the water.
Cook the shells for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat source and pour the contents into a metal strainer or colander.
Place the shells on a sheet of newspaper.
Gently remove the animal matter from each shell with your fingers and a spoon.
Cleaning the Shells
Place shells on a cookie sheet and leave them outside for three full days. The sun and other natural elements will help to bleach and roughly clean the surface of the shells.
Fill a bucket with one part water and one part chlorine bleach.
Place shells in the bleach solution and allow them to soak over night. The bleach will remove mineral deposits and unsightly stains from the shells, revealing the natural array of colors.
Tips & Warnings
- Use the sun bleaching method for a more natural appearance.
- Do not overheat the water when cooking the clams. Excessive heat may damage the nacre (opalescent layer).
How to Clean Clams
How to Clean Clams. Clams are a simple shellfish to clean and prepare once you know the best way to do it....
How to Polish Seashells
Before using seashells as home decor or in crafts and jewelry making, you can bring out their true beauty by polishing them.
How to Clean Soft-Shell Clams (Steamers)
Fresh clams are a delicious addition to a seafood dinner or a raw-bar spread. Care must be taken when purchasing, cleaning and...
How to Cook Steamed Clams
Steaming clams in a light, aromatic broth retains all the sweet, briny juices released by the shellfish during cooking, and requires very...
How to Clean & Cook Clams
Cooking clams for the first time can be a little intimidating. When purchasing clams, look for tightly-closed shells. Clams must be cooked...
How to Polish Clam Shells
Before using a clam shell in a craft project, polish the shell to make it stand out. Clam shells found on the...
What Are Mahogany Clams?
The mahogany clam masquerades under several monikers: ocean quahog, mahogany quahog, black clam and golden neck clam. According to the online food...