To most people an egg shell would be rubbish, tossed in the bin and sent to landfill. Some keen gardeners may compost them or use them as snail repellent. Folk with chooks may grind them and add them to their chook's food as shell grit. But most people just toss them.
I have a little dish that sits on the sink and whenever we use an egg, the shell gets rinsed in cold water and then put into the dish. When I need egg shell for something, it's right there, ready and waiting to be used.
Egg shells are surprisingly useful. Here's a list of 10 ways I use egg shells around our home.
1. Use egg shells to whiten and soften linen. Soak greying linens in boiling water with the juice of a lemon and two or three ground egg shells added. Let them soak overnight, then rinse and hang in the sun to dry. The linens will be white and soft, no nasty chemical whiteners or softeners needed.
2. In the garden to keep snails and slugs off seedlings. Just crush the egg shell and sprinkle it around the tiny plants. Snails and slugs won't travel over the sharp edges so your plants will be safe - from those predators at least.
3. Add them to chook food. Egg shells are a great source of calcium and grit, two things hens need to produce nice health eggs. Wash the egg shells and when you have a few grind them, either in a blender, with a stick blender or with a mortar and pestle and add it to the chook food.
4. Boil the shells in your coffee. At home we have a coffee maker but when we're camping we use an old fashioned stove top percolator. Adding egg shells to the percolator with the coffee grounds takes away the bitterness than can happen when coffee is boiled accidentally.
5. Use them to feed tomato plants. Calcium rich, crushed egg shell is a good source of this mineral for tomato plants. Tomatoes need calcium to prevent blossom end rot, a common tomato problem. Put a couple of egg shells in the hole before you plant your tomato to give it a boost. Then through the growing season grind egg shells, sprinkle them around the base of the tomato and water in.
6. As tiny seedling starters. Rinse out the egg shells, poke a couple of tiny drainage holes in the bottoms and fill with potting mix. Plant your seeds and when they are ready to be transplanted, gently squeeze the egg shell to crack it and then plant it intact in the ground.
7. Compost them. Nothing more needs to be said.
8. You don't compost? No problem, crush them, sprinkle over the soil and then lightly rake them in.
9. Turn them into ornaments. Rinse them well and let them dry. Then let your creative streak go to town. Paint them, add glitter and sequins, fill them with cotton wool, add little tiny ornaments, cover them with braid, glue on a ribbon hanger - use your imagination!
10. Add them to the bird feeder. Crush them up and mix in with the bird seed to give the wild birds that visit your garden a treat.
So how do you use egg shells? Share your idea in the comments below