We collected a bunch of mussel shells at Venice beach we wanted to clean them and use them to serve appetizers at our wedding celebration.

2 Answers 2


Mussel shells are robust. Hot water, soap and a brush will work fine. If you have a lot the dish-washer is an option as well.

  • Dishwasher detergent can be pretty aggressive, I wouldn't count on the shells surviving that unharmed.
    – MaxD
    May 16, 2023 at 1:09
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    And don't use any vinegar or similar, they will dissolve
    – Zibelas
    May 16, 2023 at 7:18
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    @MaxD I'm pretty certain they'd be fine with dishwasher detergent as they're calcium carbonate, and the detergent is alkaline (CaCO₃ reacts readily with acids, not with bases). Eggshells are also calcium carbonate, and I've put them in the dishwasher to use for a craft project. The only worry might be that they'd fade a little. However I'd use a program without a drying cycle and give them an extra rinse afterwards. That's because being bowl-shaped and light, some of them will end up with water inside
    – Chris H
    May 16, 2023 at 9:07
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    I would suggest if you're going to put them through the dishwasher, try one first to see how it affects the appearance. May 16, 2023 at 19:06
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    @peter they're definitely so light they'll get blown over if you layer them flat. You could stand them up in the cutlery basket but they wouldn't get as well washed as they would spread out, and would tend to nest together as they moved around.
    – Chris H
    May 17, 2023 at 6:19

Make sure you remove all of the mussle meat. This might require some scraping. After good cleaning, perhaps with detergent, I would put them in some type of sanitizing solution and make sure they dry fully.

  • Would this + a good wash be sufficiently safe for guests with seafood allergies? Probably a good idea to prep some alternate serving mechanism for some appetizers for guests with severe allergies that don't want to risk it. May 16, 2023 at 20:19
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    I would not risk serving to guests with seafood allergies. I don't know if could possibly trigger a reaction, but it would just be weird. I would hope it is one of a selection of appetizers. It would, of course, be obvious enough for people with allergies to self-police.
    – moscafj
    May 16, 2023 at 22:44
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    Agreed. I mostly wanted to leave a reminder for the OP that they should consider this possibility and make sure there's a good snack option for people who don't want to eat out of seafood shells but are hungry when these are being served. May 16, 2023 at 22:52

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