A couple of weeks ago I bought a composter for my garden. It’s a pretty fancy contraption. It’s actually TWO composters in one. The idea being that you can have one batch “brewing” while another batch is being utilized. They even SPIN…which is apparently important because compost needs to be “stirred” as its’ “cooking”.
As you can probably tell, I don’t know a whole lot about composting….YET. But I am learning…things like what you can and can’t put into your composter. One thing I have learned CAN go in, and is a rich source of calcium and other essential nutrients that plants need, is egg shells! So recently I started my egg shell collection in a container under the kitchen sink which has grown quite rapidly because we eat a lot of eggs around here. (Naturally gluten-free!)
Ironically, since I’ve started saving my eggshells for the composter, I’ve also been learning about many OTHER uses of eggshells. Now I’m torn between throwing them in the composter and using them for some of the MANY other ideas listed below. I guess we’ll just have to start eating MORE eggs so I can do them BOTH.
A few fun FACTS about egg shells:
- An egg shell is made of calcium carbonate, which is also the main ingredient in some antacids. Each medium sized egg shell has about 750-800 mgs of calcium.
- The shell makes up 9-12 percent of an egg’s total weight, and contains pores that allow oxygen in and carbon dioxide and moisture out.
- The shell color of an egg is representative of the breed of hen that produces the egg. White hens produce white eggs and brown hens produce brown eggs.
A few SURPRISING uses of egg shells:
Nourishing Face Mask
Pulverize dried egg shells with a mortar and pestle, then whisk the powder in with an egg white and use for a healthful, skin-tightening facial. Allow the face mask to dry before rinsing it off.
Treat Skin Irritations
Drop an eggshell into a small container of apple cider vinegar and let it soak for a couple of days. Dab the mixture on minor skin irritations or on itchy skin.
Ground eggshells make a wonderful (and nontoxic!) abrasive for those tough-to-clean pots and pans. Mix them with a little soapy water for a powerful clean.
Hummingbird feeders tend to grow all sorts of nasty stuff. Clean it by first by rinsing with hot water. Then add some crushed egg shells, fill 1/2 way with water, and shake. The shells act as an abrasive, removing mold or other built-up gunk. Rinse well before re-filling with hummingbird food.
It’s almost impossible to get a scrub brush down the narrow neck of a thermos. Clean your thermos using the instructions above for hummingbird feeders.
Eggshells are rich in calcium and other minerals that help your garden thrive. Crush eggshells into tiny pieces and sprinkle into each hole before planting. Then, sprinkle additional shells around the base of your plants every two weeks.
Start Some Seedlings
Fill an egg carton with empty, rinsed eggshell halves and poke a hole in each one for drainage. Then add potting soil and one or two seeds to each shell. When the seedlings are big enough for transplanting outside, just crack the shell at the bottom and plant them, shell and all.
Crush eggshells and scatter them around your vegetables and flowers to fend off slugs, snails, and cutworms. These soft-bodied critters don’t like crawling over sharp pieces of shell. The smell of eggs will also deter deer.
House Plant Booster
Keep a mason jar of eggshells covered with water for watering indoor plants.
Have a problem with cats using your garden as a litter box? Crushed up egg shells will keep them away, too. Just scatter shells in the areas that they frequent, and after stepping on those shells a few times, they’ll move on.
Better Tasting Coffee
Add some crushed eggshells to ground coffee before brewing it to make it taste less bitter. When you’re done, toss the grounds and shells on your compost heap!
Make Your Own Powdered Calcium Supplement
Skip the pills and simply bake your shells at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let them cool and grind them to a fine powder. Add your supplement (a teaspoon or less) to your favorite smoothie or juice once a day.
Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk
What you need:
- Approximately five empty egg shells
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 1 teaspoon very hot water
- food coloring (for colored chalk)
Wash and dry the egg shells.
Crush the egg shell into a bowl and grind it until it is a powder. Make sure all the pieces are ground. Take out any big pieces before going on to the next step.
Mix the flour and hot water in another bowl. Then add 1 tablespoon egg shell powder and mix into a thick paste.
Add your favorite color food coloring. Just add a drop or two for colored chalk. If you want white chalk do not add anything.
Shape the paste into chalk sticks or press into soap molds for fun shapes. If making chalk sticks roll the sticks up tightly in a paper towel.
Let your chalk dry for 3 days.
Some say that if you toss some shells in a mesh bag in your laundry, the gray tint to your whites will disappear.
The next time you have eggs for breakfast, carefully crack the shells in half and save them as a base to fill with beeswax for candles. Just insert a wick, let the wax set and remove the peel.
For most eggshell uses, it is better to make sure they are clean and free from bacteria. If you don’t wash the eggs thoroughly before using, bake the shells at 150 degrees Fahrenheit on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes.
What do you do with eggshells?