The next time you have eggshells to throw out after your morning scramble or Benedict, don’t just toss them in the trash.
When you have backyard chickens, you are going to get eggs. When you have eggs, you are going to get eggshells. You may be wondering “What can I do with eggshells?” Sure, you can compost them, and that is a great idea.
Most people will toss eggshells into the compost pile without another thought. Don’t throw away eggshells, use them! There are lots of ways to reuse eggshells around the house.
Eggshells have a ton of benefits, largely because they are packed with the nutrients and minerals necessary to support healthy development of the contents of the egg.
It might not be pleasant to think about, but every egg has the potential to support new life. Therefore, eggshells are packed with benefits that you can take advantage of in your home and garden.
#1. In the garden
There are so many potential uses for eggshells in your garden that we didn’t have room to describe them all in detail here! However, here are some tips, broken down to help you get the most out of your recycled eggshells in cultivating any kind of plant life:
- Fertilizer before planting
- Soil supplement to be used after planting
- Pest repellent
- Seedling starter trays
- Water additive for houseplants
See more garden eggshell uses here.
#2. Unclog your drains
While you shouldn’t dump pounds of eggshells down your drains all at once to do this, you can use small amounts of eggshells to unclog your drains.
The theory behind this is simple – eggshells themselves will get stuck in your drains, but since they break down slowly, they will help clear the built-on grime off your pipes as they gradually move out of the way.
#3. As a pet supplement
If your pet has been feeling under the weather, you might want to consider using eggshells. Start by drying your shells in the oven for thirty minutes at about 250 degrees.
Then, place the shells in a plastic bag and crush them into a fine powder. You can put the shells into your dog’s food, adding calcium to his diet in a tasty way. This will fortify his bones as well as his teeth and nails.
#4. Keep pests away
Eggshells can keep pests away from your garden plants and flowers, but they can also keep them away from your home. Gathering crushed eggshells and scattering them wherever you don’t want pests to come in is a great way to keep unwanted visitors out of your home.
#5. Upgrade your coffee
If your coffee has been a tad bitter lately, you might want to consider eggshells to sweeten things up a bit. Eggshells won’t add an unpleasant taste to your morning brew as long as you make sure to clean and dry them first.
Simply add some eggshells to your coffee grounds and then brew as normal. The coffee will taste less bitter, and when you’re done, all you need to do is toss the grounds and shells together atop your compost pile.
#6. As a chicken feed supplement
You can also feed eggshells to your chickens. Interestingly, eggshells can help increase your flock’s absorption and uptake of calcium. All you need to do is crush the shells and feed them back to your hens.
Many people purchase commercial oyster shell supplement from the feed store, but egg shells can be an affordable (read: free) alternative that will help your egg production soar. Just make sure you dry and grind the shells thoroughly so that you don’t accidentally encourage your hens to eat their own eggs.
#7. Bird feeder and feeder cleaning solution
Eggshells are for the birds! When you a good supply of eggshells built up, put them in the oven and bake them at 250 degrees for about twenty minutes or so. They should be brittle after they are baked, allowing you to crush them with ease.
Then, you can spread the mixture in a bird feeder so that the birds can eat it and receive an ample dose of calcium. This is especially useful to them during the spring which is when they lay their own eggs.
You can use eggshells to clean your hummingbird feeders, which tend to get crusty and hard to clean if you don’t regularly tend to them. All you need to do is rinse your feeder with hot water, and then add some crushed egg shells and shake thoroughly. The shell will act as an abrasive and help remove any mold, mildew, or other built-up debris.
#8. DIY chalk
If you have children, you know much fun a bucket of sidewalk chalk can be. You can forego the expensive store- bought kind and make your own by combining five to eight finely ground eggshells with some hot water, flour, and food coloring. Mix it up and pack it into recycled toilet paper rolls. Let it dry, and your kids will be illustrating the sidewalk in no time.
#9. Votive eggshell candles
Are you looking for a creative Christmas or birthday gift for a loved one? Perhaps you just need a craft to do around the house. If so, this decorative use for eggshells might be a good choice for you.
All you need to do is fill a dry shell with candle wax and then place a wick inside. You can keep it upright by putting it in a small, shallow bowl filled with some kind of filler, like sand or gravel.
#10. Nourishing face mask
Eggshells can add a youthful exuberance to your skin, making you look years younger while adding a nice luminescence to your complexion. Consider making an eggshell face mask that you can wear for an hour or so each day.
All you need to do is grind down clean, dry eggshells with a mortar and pestle (or use a food processor). Mix the powder with egg whites and spread it on your skin, allowing it to dry completely before you wash it off.
#11. Treatment for minor skin problems
Alternatively, you can drop an eggshell into a small glass of apple cider vinegar. Let it soak for a few days, and then use the mixture to treat minor blemishes, skin irritations, or itchy spots.
Fresh eggshells that are dried and then applied to the skin can draw minor infections out of your skin. For example, you can use plain eggshells or an eggshell paste to treat things like boils, pimples, splinters, and more.
#12. Water bottle cleaner
Just as you did with your bird feeder, you can also use egg shells to clean and sanitize other narrow containers, like your favorite water bottle. Simply drop a handful of egg shells inside the jar, add some water and dish soap, and shake until the shells have loosened the grime and debris inside your bottle. Just make sure you rinse it again before using!
#13. All-natural bandage
Shell membranes are incredibly resilient, helping promote cellular development in the early stages of a chicken’s life. Therefore, you can use the shell membrane as a natural bandage. This technique is reported to heal most minor cuts and scratches.
#14. Sharpen a blade
If you have a tough to clean and even tougher to sharpen blender, consider saving your eggshells just for this purpose. Freeze the shells first, and then put them in your blendr. Fill the remainder of the blender with water, and then run it for a minute or so. You can pour the resulting mixture into your compost, and your blender will be much sharper as a result.
#15. Heal your teeth
If your teeth have started to ache or are in need of some serious cleaning, why not use eggshells? You can use a mixture of comfrey root and fresh eggshells to remineralize your teeth. The eggshells have minerals that can help heal whatever ails you.
#16. DIY water for kefir
Are you a fan of kefir? If you have water kefir grains, you can add a quarter of a lan eggshell to your water kefir while it is brewing. This is a great alternative to mineral drop that is entirely free, helping make the process easier and less expensive.
#17. Homemade calcium supplement
If you’ve found you’re lacking in calcium and have a hard time getting enough of it through your diet, you might want to give eggshells a try. They have a ton of calcium, and while you probably won’t enjoy eating crunchy raw shells, you can also grind them up into a powder.
You can also turn your eggshells into DIY calcium pills. Steam the to sanitize them first, then let them dry and ground them into a fine powder. You can purchase small gelatin capsules and then fill them with the powder, which will provide a convenient delivery system for your much-needed calcium.
Alternatively, you can soak eggshells in lemon water in the refrigerator, then add them to a breakfast shake for added minerals.
#18. Enriched vinegar recipe
Eggshells can be combined with vinegar to produce a calcium-rich dressing, too. All you need to do is infuse regular apple cider vinegar with one clean eggshell for about six weeks, and then decant it. The calcium from the shell will go directly into the vinegar, offering an extra dose of tasty calcium that can be used as a salad dressing or over cooked greens.
#19. Nail and skin strengthener
Have your nails seemed weak or brittle lately? If so, consider adding a bit of powdered eggshells to your nail polish. It should strengthen them right up. You can even put the powder in your hand lotion to soften your hands or rub it directly on your face to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
#20. Bone broth fortification
Bone broth already contains a powerful dose of calcium and minerals, but if you’re hoping to get even more out of your soup stocks, you might consider adding ground up eggshells. When allowed to cook down long enough, you won’t even taste the eggshells – and your bones will thank you!
#21. Arts and crafts projects
You can also mix eggshells with acrylic colors and Elmer’s glue and use the paste to texturize various decorations, such as Christmas ornaments or suncatchers, adding a new dimension to any arts and crafts projects you decide to take on. You can even use eggshells to make mosaics or other mixed-media art projects!
#22. Abrasive for cleaning pans
Ground-up eggshells make a fantastic abrasive to get stuck-on grime off difficult-to-clean pots – you know, the ones you forgot on the stovetop all night?
Even better, eggshells are nontoxic, making them a smart alternative to chemical cleaners. All you need to do is mix some ground eggshells with a bit of soapy water, and then apply it to the pans. You’ll have that gunk off in no time.
#23. Laundry whitener
If your laundry whites habitually turn grey despite your best preventative efforts, consider putting a handful of clean eggshells and a couple of slices of lemon into a cheesecloth bag while your clothes are in the washer. This mixture will prevent the soap buildup that turns white clothes gray, and will also help make your clothes smell fantastic. No bleach or harmful fragrances required!
#24. Garbage disposal cleaner
This tip is a bit of a controversial one, but some people recommend putting eggshells in your garbage disposal. As with cleaning your drains, you need to be careful not to add too many at a time to avoid clogging it.
However, adding just a few eggshells at a time can help scrape any gunk off the edges of your disposal, keeping it cleaner over time. Adding a few ice cubes can help them work even more effectively, as the melting ice will break down the shells (and the accumulated grime!) more quickly.
update- some are saying this may not be a good idea, that they have seen garbage disposals get clogged up with eggshells. So, use your best judgement and caution with this idea
#25. Yolk separator
You don’t need to turn to an expensive gadget to separate egg whites from yolks – all you need are, counterintuitively, more eggs! To do this, simply crack an egg in half and pour the whites into a bowl. Once the white begins to pull at the yolk, use the jagged edge of the shell to separate the white.
#26. Clean away burnt food from your pans
When you have a burnt on mess that is hard to clean, eggshells can help! Crush the eggshells into a cloth, and use them to scrub away. This works great on cast iron or stainless steel. Avoid doing this with pans that have non stick coating.
#27. Reuse eggshells in your vermicomposting
Worms love them! Egg shells provide extra calcium and they compost quickly, creating great, nutrient dense compost for your garden and seedlings. Worms love them!
#28. Give them to your tomatoes.
Tomatoes need calcium to grow, and eggshells are a great way to give it to them. Simply add half an eggshell to the hole where you are going to place the tomato plant, cover with a bit of dirt, then add the plant.
As the shell composts, the tomato plant will get the nutrients it needs. This is a great way to help avoid blossom end rot. (for other ideas to avoid blossom end rot, read this post here)
#29. Start your garden seedlings
Eggshells are great seed starters. Just wash them carefully, add dirt and then the seed. When you are ready to plant your seedling, the shell goes right into the ground and will compost away, while providing calcium for your seedlings. This is perfect for tomatoes, basil, rosemary and other herbs.
#30. Make your own calcium citrate
Did you know that many people are calcium deficient? It’s true. Our bodies need calcium to process proteins, and with so many of us eating lots of protein, calcium supplements are often needed.(get the recipe here).
If you’re not into any of these tips and really just want to throw your eggshells away, consider this alternative. Instead of tossing your shells in the trash, put them in your compost pile. They break down quickly and create nutrient-dense soil. You can also sow them directly into the soil, which will help boost the production of your vegetables.
No matter what you choose to do, there are plenty of alternatives to throwing your leftover eggshells in the trash. Avoid contributing unnecessary waste to the landfills, and implement these tips for a healthier garden, home, and body every time you nosh on eggs.
What are some ways you reuse your eggshells? Be sure to pin this for later!
Rebekah is a full-time homesteader. On her 22 acres, she raises chickens, sheep and bees, not to mention she grows a wide variety of veggies. She has a huge greenhouse and does lots of DIY projects with her husband in her ever-growing homesteading endeavor.