Maybe it’s just good old-fashioned thriftiness, but these days it falls on us all to take a second look at things we might have thrown away yesteryear. (It’s one of the saving secrets we learned from Grandma!) With this in mind, we’ve collected a few uses for that staple of trashcans everywhere: the egg shell.
1. Fertilize the Garden
Rinse and remove the clear inner membrane of eggshells. Store dry eggshells in a large, secure container. We promise it won’t stink. (If you’re eating these tasty omelettes regularly, the jar will fill up quickly!) Mash them down to fine bits with a steel or wooden spoon. Then you can load up on eggshells again. Once the spring temperatures soften the soil, you can sprinkle and mix the ground eggshells you’ve been saving into your garden for a great source of calcium carbonate for the soil. An added bonus: they reduce soil acidity.
2. Create a Non-Toxic Abrasive Cleaner
You vowed to steer clear of powdered household and industrial cleaners (goodbye, Ajax!) but have no clue what to use instead of these powerful chemicals.
Firstly, collect the eggshells of about a dozen eggs. Once you’re ready to prepare the cleaner, wash the eggshells and line them up on a baking sheet. Dry the shells outside in the sun or on low heat in the oven for a few minutes. Use a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or high-speed blender to blend into a fine paste. You should have about 1 cup of powder. In a mason jar, add 3 cups baking soda to the eggshell powder. To clean, just mix the powder with vinegar (or water). Use this formula on pots and pans (with baked-on food), shower doors (with months of gunk), toilet bowl rings and grout.
3. Start the Herb Garden of Your Dreams
Daydream about covering every inch of your winter home with happy, green indoor plants? Here’s one step to realizing that dream. For your next weekend brunch, cook up a super yummy egg dish (eggs benedict casserole is always a winner). When cracking each egg, cut the top of the shell and pour the egg out of the shell to preserve most of the length of the eggshell. Gently rinse before storing. Remember to save the egg carton—this is where your herb starter plants will grow.
Once the shells have dried, use a sharp needle or awl to poke a hole in the bottom of each (for water drainage). Place an eggshell in each carton divot. Fill each most of the way with soil. Place seeds into soil, according to seed-sowing instructions. Mist soil with spray bottle and keep carton in full sun. Water regularly and keep an eye out for sprouts. Once it’s time to transfer into a pot or garden, you can transplant as-is.
4. Remove Stains From Thermos
If you use a metal thermos, you’ve totally experienced this problem: A brown film on the inside of your favorite beverage container. And no matter how hard you scrub, there’s no diminishing the patina. Here’s a solution…you guessed it: eggshells. Add a combination of warm or hot water and crushed eggshells about a third of the way. Close thermos and shake well for a few minutes. The mixture should help break down stains.
5. Make DIY Sidewalk Chalk
Win the best mom award (for the millionth time, right?) and attempt homemade sidewalk chalk with these recipes from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The main ingredients are eggshells, flour and food coloring. We can promise it will be fun—but we can’t promise it won’t be messy.
6. Add to Coffee Grounds to Mellow Out Brew
If your roommate (or husband) complains about the coffee being too bitter—but you still have a pound of coffee in the pantry, try this tried-and-true hack. Mix in a crumbled eggshell (that has been thoroughly rinsed in vinegar and then water, and dried) to the coffee grounds tomorrow morning. The eggshells, rich in alkaline calcium carbonate, help neutralize some of the coffee’s acidity.
7. Feed the Birds
You can also be an incredible neighbor to your local birds with this great tip from Birds and Blooms. When you have enough eggshells to cover a baking tray, bake them at around 250 degrees until dry. They will be brittle enough to crush easily. Spread the mixture in a feeder or on the ground for birds to munch on. It’s a great source of calcium for the birds—especially for females during the spring, prime time for laying eggs.
With all these great ways to recycle empty eggshells, you’re this much closer to a more sustainable household.