Statistics say the average American consumes 250 eggs per year. Remember, we’re not just eating two at a time, sunny-side-up, we’re using them in our homemade baked goods, batters, main dishes, and more. And if you think the only two solutions for all those eggshells are the trash or composting pile, you may want to think again.
In the age of recycling, eggshells —nature’s suit of armor and an excellent source of calcium and minerals—can be reused in many ways that don’t readily come to mind. Enterprising consumers can make the best of what most would consider a highly disposable item.
Top 10 Uses for Eggshells
These ideas can help you raise your eggshell IQ. In all cases, except where specified, eggshells should be crushed, made either coarse or fine, depending on the use:
- Use eggshells as a calcium- and mineral-rich additive to wild bird feed and chicken feed.
- Add them to ground coffee before brewing. The shells help reduce any bitterness. Wash the shells throughly to remove any egg residue, dry, then crush and add to your ground coffee.
- As a soil additive for houseplants, they add minerals and help keep soil loose and aerated.
- Love camping? Use those shells with soapy water as a natural abrasive for pots and pans, especially when cleaning products and really hot water are at a premium.
- Bake clean eggshells at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let cool and grind to a fine powder. Add as a calcium supplement (a teaspoonful does it) to juice, smoothies, etc.
- Add to your garden to keep cats away that may be using it as a litter box. Cats will not like the sharpness under their tender paws. Their smell can also reportedly deter deer and repel slugs, snails, and cutworms without resorting to toxic chemicals. Maybe tantamount to that, mineral-charged eggshells can be crushed and scattered into each hole before planting. Sprinkle additional crushed shells around your plants every couple of weeks. Use them to start your seedlings! Here’s how.
- Skin irritations? Folklore tells us to drop an eggshell into some apple cider vinegar for a couple of days. Apply to skin irritations or itches.
- Unclog drains: Placed in your sink strainer, they can trap errant solids. When they ultimately break down, they will serve to clean pipes on their way out.
- Doggie defense: Dry eggshells in a 250-degree F oven for 30 minutes. Place in plastic bag and roll/crush with a rolling pin to a fine powder. Add to dog food as a supreme calcium supplement (be sure to check with your vet for the proper amount).
- Looking for a fun art project? Crush and add to paint for decorative textured walls or furniture!
Share with us your ideas for eggshells!
Beth Herman is a freelance writer with interests in healthy living and food, family, animal welfare, architecture and design, religion, and yoga. She writes for a variety of national and regional publications, institutions, and websites.