When my family first adopted egg-laying chickens for our backyard, we did a lot of reading on the proper care of these new fluffy pets. In our research, we learned about the many eggshell benefits for soil. When our hens began producing eggs, I wondered if there are any alternative eggshell uses.
Turns out, the answer to “what can eggshells be used for” is lots! Check out my family’s three favorite, most versatile ways to reuse eggshells (that go beyond composting):
To begin, wash your used eggshells and set them out to dry. Then you can have your kids enjoy a sensory experience by using their hands to crush them. Once smashed, wrap the shells in a towel to pulverize them even more.
What you have now is a medium for art. Grab a few sheets of construction paper and white craft glue, and let your kids create a shape or scene using the eggshells as mosaic tiles. You’ll be surprised by what your youngsters produce. When inspiration runs dry, search ideas like “mosaic ideas” or “preschooler collage example.” What turns up is a host of other ideas to get your little artists started all over again.
Each year, I start seedlings indoors before transferring them outside for the growing season. This year I decided to plant the little babies in eggshells instead of disposable trays, which is a recommendation from the horticulture experts at Utah State University. The calcium in eggshells benefits your garden by decomposing just in time to let the little plants grow roots in their permanent home—with plenty of calcium carbonate to consume throughout the growing season.
To get started, gather your supplies:
- Eggshells, used and clean
- Potting soil
- A spray bottle
First, wash and dry your eggshells.
Next, use a sharp object to poke a small hole in the “bottom” of each eggshell. I use the sharp end of a pair of scissors. (Don’t worry, the orbs are stronger than you expect!)
Next, fill the eggshells with potting soil and plant the seeds according to the package instructions; each packet will tell you whether to plant them a quarter-inch below the soil or an inch from another seed, for example.
Use your spray bottle to water the seeds twice a day. Lettuce will sprout first, appearing within about two or three days. Then, the other veggies will follow suit and sprout within a few more days.
Once all your seedlings are growing well—and your local “last frost date” has come and gone—harden them off or repot your plants to gift to a friend.
If you want a special, homemade facial treatment without spending a ton of time and money at the spa, you can exfoliate your own skin naturally. Here’s how:
Crack a half-dozen eggs, and separate the whites from the yolks. Toss the shells into a pot of boiling water, and let them cook for at least five minutes. Then, carefully remove the shells from the stove and set each one facedown on a towel to dry.
Once dry, toss the shells into a blender and pulse for a minute (or until finely ground). I recommend blending the shells until they appear to be a fine powder. Next, mix the shell grit and egg whites, and apply in gentle circular motions to your face, avoiding your eyes. Let set for 10 minutes, then rinse off. Follow up with a coconut-oil diluted blend of frankincense and sandalwood essential oil.
You can complete your total-use pampering session with an optional hair conditioner, too. After shampooing, use those yolks to coat your hair, massaging them in from roots to tips. Let them stay on your hair for at least seven minutes before rinsing.
If you’re unsatisfied with just these ideas, don’t worry. Here are more ways to incorporate breakfast’s most prolific recyclable. Never again will you wonder, “What can eggshells be used for?”
- Crushed eggshells can be used for insect repellent in landscaping.
- Deter cats in garden beds by scattering crushed shells in veggie and herb plots.
- Sanitized (finely crushed) shells can be fed back to mother hens for a calcium-rich snack.
- Add eggshells to your coffee for a smoother, less acidic morning brew.
- Add clean eggshell bits to your dish detergent to make it more abrasive and capable of handling those char-caked pots and pans.
- Create your own homemade calcium supplement by adding the powdered eggshell compound to gelatin capsules instead of your facial. Then, take one with whole milk (or vitamin D3) each day for an easily absorbed calcium supplement.
How do you reuse kitchen scraps? Tweet your tips (and pictures!) to @TomsofMaine.
Image source: Bethany Johnson
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