When you are lucky enough to settle on a homestead whether large or small, you soon learn the value of recycling and reusing as much as possible. There are so many uses for eggshells on the homestead, so start saving those shells if you haven’t already.
Read on to find out how you can use them in various ways, in the garden, the kitchen, around the homestead, for personal hygiene, and more.
Uses for Eggshells in the Garden
Two of the most important things on a homestead are the ability to grow your own food, and to keep your plants healthy and productive year after year.
Unfortunately, there are so many things that can wreak havoc on your plants, which can mean less food for your table. Below are some ways to use eggshells to keep your garden healthy.
1. Pest control. Sprinkle in your garden to keep insects with soft bodies such as snails, slugs, and especially tomato worms away from your plants. They won’t crawl over the sharp pieces of shell.
2. Organic containers to start seedlings. Rinse the shells as you use them. Fill with potting soil and plants seeds within. When it’s time to transplant seeds to the garden, simply crush the shell a bit and plant entire thing in the hole.
3. Add crushed eggshells to your compost pile to boost calcium levels in your future garden soil.
4. Prevent Blossom-end rot in tomatoes. Place ground eggshells in the bottom of your holes when you transplant tomatoes to the garden.
5. Mix crushed eggshells directly into your soil to add calcium.
6. Add eggshells to your worm farm. Worms use the shells to help them eat organic matter and your worm castings will get a calcium boost too.
7. Spread over your garden soil to deter cats from digging in the soil. The sharp pieces are hard on their paws, so they will eventually learn to stay out of the garden.
8. Deter deer by placing fresh broken shells around your garden perimeter or fruit trees. Deer apparently dislike the smell of albumen, so don’t wash the shells.
In the Kitchen:
Whether your kitchen is powered by public electricity, solar, or wind power, there are so many uses for eggshells in the kitchen. Don’t forget there are many uses for egg crates too, so save those as well. Below are just some of the ways to use eggshells in the kitchen.
9. Use to make your own Sterno fuel. You’ll need 25 g of crushed eggshells or chalk as the CaCO3 calcium carbonate component in the formula.
10. Clean your garbage disposal. Once a month toss a couple of eggshells, along with a slice of lemon or orange, into the garbage disposal. The shells will clean and sharpen the disposal blades and the citrus will keep it smelling fresh.
11. Make your own lemon citrate for supplemental minerals. Soak for several weeks in lemon juice in fridge. Use about 1 teaspoon lemon juice for each broken shell. Add small amount to protein shakes or smoothies for extra minerals.
12. Extra calcium for salad dressings and cooking. Infuse apple cider vinegar with by adding a clean crushed shell along with other herbs rich in calcium) to ACV, letting it infuse for six weeks or more, and then decanting.
13. Keep blender blades clean. Freeze your used shells, then add several shells and some water to blender and pulse until blades are clean. Recycle the water from the blender by adding it to your compost pile to boost calcium.
14. Liquid fertilizer for potted plants. Put used eggshells into a mason jar, and cover them with water. Use it when your plants need a drink for beautiful healthy plants.
15. Add crushed shells directly into potting soil along with coffee grounds.
16. Clarify grounds and reduce bitterness by adding to your coffee during brewing.
17. Help filter and clarify homemade wine. Put into wine as it’s clarifying to filter out sediment. Decant when transferring to storage bottles.
18. Make calcium rich eggshell powder to supplement any food.
19. Add to ice cream to boost calcium.
20. Add one quarter of an eggshell to water kefir grains, a probiotic beverage rich in food enzymes, and good bacteria. Most people recommend adding during brewing and then removing before drinking.
21. Scrub pots and pans. Make a paste with crushed eggshells and dish soap to help remove stuck or dried on food without scratching surfaces.
22. Add eggshell powder rich in calcium to your beef broth or other soup stock to boost calcium and minerals.
23. Use to fish out broken shells from your cooking or baking bowl. The shell works like a magnet to catch the broken pieces from within your egg mixture. Much easier than using your finger!
24. Clean coffee, tea, or tomato stains out of your thermos. Crush shells and drop into thermos, add water, and shake. The abrasiveness of the shells being agitated when you shake it should be enough to remove the stains without scratching the thermos lining.
25. Fertilize dandelions grown indoors. Mix ground eggshells into soil in pot. Harvest dandelions, fry in olive oil, garlic, and sprinkle with sea salt.
Around the Homestead:
Uses for eggshells on the homestead aren’t just limited to the garden and the kitchen. Below are a range of beneficial uses for used eggshells.
26. Feed to chickens to provide calcium for better egg laying, and stronger shells. Rinse and then bake shells at approximately 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 C) for about 8 minutes. Crush them, and add to your chicken feed.
Although this is an often-controversial practice, there is no evidence that feeding cleaned and baked shells to your flock will cause egg eating issues. The process of rinsing, baking, and crushing changes them enough to prevent this in most cases.
27. Burn eggshells in your chimney to enhance your wood ash for use as fertilizer.
28. Increase the silky, shiny fur on your cat. Grind or crush and sprinkle over your cat’s commercial food or add in to your homemade cat food recipe.
29. Eggshell powder for diarrhea in pets. Crush or grind into powder. Sprinkle a teaspoon or two over dog’s food to clear up diarrhea quickly.
30. Feed the birds. Although it may sound a little strange, sterilized crushed eggshell can be beneficial to birds when they are producing and laying eggs every spring.
31. Balance pH levels for your aquaponics garden. Thoroughly wash and dry eggshells and crush do not powder. Sprinkle crushed shells over the plant beds. Do not add to fish tank.
When pH goes too low, water coming through the beds will acidize, and it will melt the eggshells. This releases calcium and naturally raises the pH level.
32. Eliminate peach tree leaf curl by handing a mesh or net bag of eggshells in the branches of your peach tree.
33. Fertilize your cactus plants.
Hygiene Uses for Eggshells:
Believe it or not, many of our ancestors knew the benefits of eggshells for personal hygiene. Return to your roots, save time and money, look and feel better by using eggshells in various ways for your health and hygiene needs.
34. Quicker healing of blisters. Place the wet side of the eggshell membrane over a blister and cover with gauze or a commercial band aid overnight. Ballerinas use this to quickly improve and even heal blisters from pointed shoes overnight.
35. DIY Calcium pills. Sanitize egg shells by steaming and letting them air dry. Crush using a blender or coffee grinder. Spoon resulting fine powder into 00-size gelatin capsules.
36. Add eggshell powder to your DIY personal hygiene items, nail polish to strengthen, ice cubes and rub on face to reduce look of wrinkles, powder in lotion to soften hands.
37. Remineralize teeth. Although this is a bit controversial, there are some who believe that adding crushed eggshells to homemade toothpaste and then swishing the mouth regularly with comfrey root (aka knit bone) rinse can accelerate the repair of teeth. (source: Natural News).
38. Brighten white clothes by putting lemon slices and broken eggshells into a small breathable bag (such as cheesecloth), and tossing it in the washer with your clothes. It stops detergent from depositing on clothes and turning them grey.
39. Scented talc powder. Clean and dry used shells well and then blend to a powder consistency similar to cornstarch. Put powder into glass jars that have been painted a dark color, add a couple drops of essential oil. Seal tightly with lid and place in cool dark place for 6 weeks. Unseal jar and use as talc powder.
40. Treat Itchy skin. Dissolve ground eggshells in apple cider vinegar for two or three days. Use cotton ball or Q-tip swab to dab on affected areas.
41. Make your own facial mask. Grind or crush eggshells to a powder, and use a whisk to mix them in with the egg white. Spread over face and let dry and then rinse off for smoother, tighter skin.
Still More Uses for Eggshells on the Homestead:
I found a few uses for eggshells on the homestead that didn’t really fit into any other category. See if any of the ideas below will work on your homestead.
42. Gauge depth and current when ice fishing. Drop a handful of broken shells, and watch as they fall to the lake bed to help gauge depth. The direction and speed of the fall will also indicate current strength and direction.
43. Add texture to craft projects such as mosaics, paper mache, or suncatcher ornaments. Mix crushed or broken shells with paint and glue, even glitter to make texturized layers.
44. DIY Sidewalk chalk. Grind 5-8 eggshells using a blender. Add 1 teaspoon each of flour, hot water and food coloring. Mix well. Fill old toilet paper tubes, or similar container.
45. Make Cascarones for your next celebration. Use a stick to make a hole in one end of your whole eggs instead of cracking them in half. Rinse out the shell and place on pins stuck in Styrofoam so they can dry out. Color and let dry.
Decorate, and then use a funnel to fill with confetti or anything you like. Cover the hole with tissue paper once stuffed.
With all these uses for eggshells on the homestead, there’s little reason for eggshells to go into the trash bin. Reusing eggshells can save you money, make life a little easier, and keep you, your garden, and your animals just a little healthier.
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart.
For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.