Creative Ways to Use Eggshells

Creative Ways to Use Eggshells

If you’ve paid a little extra for healthy food, or even produced it yourself, you know the value of using up every last bit. Many of my recipes rely on eggs as a healthy protein source, but have you ever thought about holding on to those eggshells?

And I’m not just talking about throwing them into the compost pile!

The Incredible, Edible…Eggshell?

The egg is a pretty incredible little package. Versatile, protein-packed, and–especially if from a pastured flock with quality feed–high in riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamins D, A, and B12, as well a complete amino acid source. (1)

But what about the shell? It’s composed almost entirely of calcium carbonate–the same material in our nails, teeth, and bones. If you’re trying to get enough calcium without dairy or currently take an over-the-counter calcium supplement (which I don’t necessarily recommend), “eating” your eggshells may be for you!

How to Make (Edible) Eggshell Calcium Powder

Follow these simple steps to transform your eggshells into a high-quality, food-derived supplement:

  • Save your eggshells (you can do this right in the egg carton if you like). Surprisingly, they really don’t smell. You can leave the membrane in the shells but be sure to rinse out any egg white.
  • Once you have a quantity of eggshells, sterilize them for a few minutes in boiling water. Strain, spread them on a baking pan or two, and leave them to dry overnight.
  • Bake eggshells at a low temperature in the oven for 10 minutes or so to dry them out. For efficiency’s sake you can put them in the oven when you are going to cook or bake anyway. I just take them out before the temperature gets too high.
  • Grind the eggshells to a very fine powder. A coffee or spice grinder works best.
  • Store in a tightly closed mason jar in a cool, dry cupboard.

Simply add about ½ tsp. eggshell powder per day to your favorite foods for 400-500 mg of additional bioavailable calcium. (2)

You may notice a slightly gritty quality when added to some foods, but I find it very tolerable in smoothies or yogurt, and undetectable in baked goods and heavier foods. Chia Seed Energy Bars or Breakfast Burgers work well.

Whenever supplementing calcium, be sure to get adequate magnesium and vitamin D in your diet for better absorption.

The Perfect Garden Companion

Not up for eating your eggshells? Calcium is equally important for your garden! Calcium-deficient soil causes slow growth and diseases like blossom end rot (when tomatoes, squash, or peppers turn black on one end). Use leftover eggshells as a:

Soil Amendment

The key to using eggshells in the garden: give it time. Plants take calcium in through the roots, so work the crushed or powdered shells deep into the soil in the fall or at the very least early spring to allow them to dissolve.

Pest Deterrent

Crush your leftover eggshells into small shards and sprinkle over the soil in your planters or garden beds. Slugs and other pests will find the sharp shells inhospitable and find greener pastures (hopefully!).

Seed Starters

While peat pots and simple seed starter kits are not expensive to purchase, half an eggshell makes an ideal and totally renewable seed planter!

Save the eggs that break more or less evenly, wash them out, and poke a small hole in the bottom. Fill with seed starting soil and plant as usual. Plant grown seedlings in the garden right in the shell! (Sidenote: My kids love drawing faces on the eggshells so the seedlings look like “hair.” Thank you Pinterest!)

This post has a handy chart to look up planting times for your zone.

But on to another great use for eggshells…

The DIY Beauty Booster

Of the many DIY uses for eggshell powder, here are some I’ve personally tried:

Facial

Mix 2 TBS of finely powdered eggshell into an egg white. Gently apply the paste as a natural facial mask, letting it dry for 10-20 minutes. Wash off with warm water and a circular motion to exfoliate. I really notice firmer, smoother skin after this treatment.

Homemade Toothpaste

Use eggshell powder in the place of the calcium powder in my DIY remineralizing toothpaste recipe. It will both whiten and remineralize. It can also be used as a calcium powder replacement in any of my homemade toothpaste or tooth powder recipes.

Body Scrub

Add several tablespoons to a homemade body scrub recipe for a double-duty exfoliant–great prep for a summer pedicure!

First Aid

Red, irritated skin, or bug bites? Let crushed eggshells soften in a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Once it liquifies, apply with a cotton ball for a soothing effect.

What do you think? Would you ever eat your eggshells? Are there other ways you’ve found to use them?

Sources:

(1) Self Magazine
(2) Eggshell calcium in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis
Eggshells- A Bioavailable Source of Calcium

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Reader Comments

  1. Here is a totally non-health related fun use for eggshells. Eggshell mosaics! The eggshells can be colored and then used to form designs on cardboard or other surface using craft glue. I once decorated an old picture frame with egg shell pieces. Once it dies, this item – now coated in calcium – will last forever! Just Goggle “eggshell mosaics” or search for the term on Pinterest.

  2. I use eggshells in your toothpaste recipe instead of the calcium. Works great but you have to grind it very fine, otherwise the toothpaste is quite crunchy 🙂

    I recently read about using the eggshells to make a fertiliser like your compost tea. Brew the eggshells with water, let sit overnight and then use for watering the plants who like calcium rich soil.

    Thanks for your always inspiring ideas!
    Greetings from Germany
    Judith

    • What a great idea to get that calcium to the plants sooner, thanks Judith!

  3. THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE POST KATIE. I enjoyed it so much. It had tips using egg shells for so many things! I had 2 hard boiled eggs yesterday and didn’t save the shells. Ugh…

  4. Well, now I feel bad for having wasted so many egg shells through my life. Three only yesterday! X(
    But I plan to use many of your recipes. Thanks!!!

  5. Interesting! I was going to ask you about using egg shells for toothpaste and supplements. I have read that egg shells can be used to make chalk.

  6. It’s best to soak the eggshells in vinegar for a day or two, stirring once in a while, before you put the whole mess around your plants as a fertilizer. Plain, crushed-up eggshells would not be absorbable by the plant, I don’t think. An acid medium frees up the calcium for the plant. I read this somewhere in a gardening column.

    • Vinegar makes sense. Wellness Mama’s bone broth recipe recommends Apple cider vinegar to help release nutrients.

  7. Would the sterilizing of the egg shell destroy some of the nutrients? How does that work?

  8. I love the idea of using eggshells as seed starters! I am forever scrambling to find suitable containers come springtime. I am definitely trying this idea!

  9. Here’s what I do with my eggshells.After cracking them for whatever purpose, I use the tiny bit of leftover egg white (which is stuck to the inside of the egg shell) and apply on my acne scars. I’ve been doing this for a couple of months and my scars are getting clearer day by day. And then I mash the eggshells and dump them in the plant pot and mix them with the soil. My plants are growing beautifully, my skin is happy and of course my body too is !

    • Wow, haven’t heard that use before. Wonder if it will work on other types of scars. Will have to remember to give it a try and see what happens. Thanks!

  10. I save my eggshells until I make bone broth and then add them for an extra calcium boost 🙂

  11. Dumping vinegar into your planted plants is probably not a good idea unless they are an “acid-loving” plant like blueberries. It doesn’t take much acid to change the ph of your soil. Too high a ph and your plants get sick and die.

  12. I use eggshells to clean bottles and jars when i cant reach with a bottle brush. Just crunch them until you can fit them through the neck of the bottle, add a little water with a bit of soap an shake it. It will scratch and get rid of all the dirt 😉

  13. My Mom always put her used egg shells in her watering can for houseplant fertilizer, like once a month.

  14. I crush up my egg shells and feed them back to my chickens to increase their calcium levels. Hopefully I get the nutritional benefit of this in the eggs they produce for me.

  15. You should take K2 to put all that well-absorbed calcium where it belongs, in ur bones and teeth, not lining ur arteries with deposits that cause atherosclerosis or building plaque on ur teeth with calcium deposits.
    Vit D is going to cause increased absorption but the K2 is very important too. Thats why CLO with HVBO is the way to go. Or eat lots of high K2 foods, which isnt easy.

    Never take magnesium with calcium or high calcium foods. The two minerals are frenemies…they need each other but block the other’s absorption if taken together.

    Also, dont add the eggshell powder or any other calcium supplement to a dairy smoothie or when having cheese at your meal. You can only absorb 500mg of Ca at a time. Anything beyond that is just wasted. Space your dairy intake or Ca supplement intake.
    Remember dont take it with Mg either or youve wasted both. They block each other.
    Ive devised to take or eat Ca in am, take Mg at bedtime and perhaps some more Ca in pm at lunch or dinner, leaving several hrs between each supplement’s or food-containing’s ingestion.

    • Thank you, Helene, for this useful information and thank you, Katie, for a really interesting post! ?

    • If this is true of Calcium and Magnesium, why do they put them together in supplements? I just bought one today in fact. I would hate to think that if one cancels out the other that that means my supplement will do me no good at all. I have always thought I read to take them together for better absorbable?

      • Nope, they package them together because you need both to properly use them. However, biochemically speaking, they should not be taken together. Manufacturers dont care. They would have to have 2 separate pills in the bottle and instructions to take the pink one in the a.m. and the blue one at night. Manufacturers also make 1000mg pills for Ca. You waste that excess 500mg every time you take it. You can’t take in that much at once. No one tells you to eat fat with your mineral pills either. Skim milk gives you little absorbable Ca…unless you eat some fat with it. I cringe when I see parents give a glass of lowfat or skim milk to their kids. What a waste of the calcium and other minerals in that milk.
        Pills rly arent the answer. Real, whole, properly prepared food is. Bone broth is another source of nondairy calcium if you re not able to have dairy. Believe it or not, citrus fruit with its high vit C is a good companion to calcium intake. Vit C increases Ca absorption, like it increases iron absorption.
        Have an orange and a piece of raw milk cheese…YUM

  16. My mom made egg shell powder and put in our food when I was a child.the best way to absorb the calcium is to soak it in vinegar overnight and then drink that vinegar or add it to recipes. Mom also used to add ground egg shells to plants. I love the idea of adding it in smoothies or baked goods or when cooking food. Ahh Never buying calcium tablets again. Lol

  17. Anyone know if non-organic egg shells are ok to use?

    Any differences?

    Note:
    I avoid non-organic eggs because the factories kill chicks and treat their birds humanely.
    But I have family who throw non-organic egg shells all the time.

    • Personally, I wouldn’t do it. I thot about as we have access to real eggs rite now, just COFA junk. Personally, I decided it was silly to go to the trouble.

  18. I put the dried egg shells in my dog & cats raw food!! But love the idea for starting seeds! Cheers

  19. I make my coffee on the stove, and add eggshells to it to remove a lot of the bitterness, as well as neutralizing some of the acidity. I’m a major MAJOR fan of Norwegian Egg Coffee though, so I picked the habit up from that. I find that many people can’t “stomach” the idea of the Norwegian Egg Coffee though lol so just the shell is a close second.

    • Is it eggs added to the coffee?

      • No no, it would be added during the making of the coffee, and removed before drinking. In my case, I add them to the metal pot on the stove when I add the grounds. I’ve never tried it, but I don’t see why you couldn’t also add them to the glass pot of a coffee maker if you have one. Just make sure they have been rinsed inside so you don’t end up with bits of poached eggs in your coffee 😀

      • Ohhh wait, were you asking about the Norwegian Egg Coffee? If so then yes, the whole egg (and shell) is mixed in with the coffee grounds to make a paste. This mixture is added to boiling water and left to simmer for a couple minutes (2-3). Afterwards, the pot is removed from the heat and a half cup of cold water is added. The eggs neutralize a lot of the acidity and bitterness as well as clump together with the grounds to help filter them out of the remaining prepared coffee. I was surprised the first time I tried it many years ago, it doesn’t taste of eggs at all, and I can even drink it with no cream because it’s much smoother.

        There is an eggcellent (lol) video online about it, if you can search youtube for “norwegian egg coffee” I’m sure it will come up.

  20. Thanks for the article and thanks to all the people who have contributed to the list of ways to use eggshells. I always love finding ways to repurpose/reuse things that might otherwise just end up in the garbage. Have known about some of these uses, but others are new to me. Great!

  21. A few years ago I ordered a supplement for joint pain consisting of egg shell membrane. I had both minor consistent joint aches and occasional periods of exacerbated more widespread joint pain. Well, after finishing the bottle and eliminating the minor joint pain, I decided to start eating the membranes from my organic eggs. After experimenting, I finally came to the following simplest approach, which I do almost daily: Thoroughly wash the outside of the egg(s) because most salmonella risk is on the outside shell. After cracking the shell, while cooking the egg, rinse the shell and the intact membrane. Break off a little of the edge of the shell and pull it so that it pulls the membrane out. My assumption is the chickens with the healthiest lifestyle have the strongest membranes that come out in fewer pieces. The membrane is raw and the risk of Salmonella from the inside of the egg is possible, but much less then the outside of the egg, Other than that very small risk, I assume raw is healthier than cooked. Okay, here is the challenging part: getting used to eating the raw membrane. Yuck, right? Its just the idea you have to get used to. The membrane is tough and presumably most digestible if chewed well and dissolved in the mouth. The first time is disgusting. The second time you know what to expect and the third time its no big deal, like you’ve been doing it all your life. My joints stay typically pain free now due in part to the membrane and probably a few other factors including not wearing clothes with high polyester content. I finally realized the periodic attacks of “arthritis” like symptoms would start the day after wearing (against my skin) one of the 2 polyester shirts I used to own.

  22. I have pails full of eggshells in the yard that I have been meaning to do something with, so I’m happy to see this post. 🙂 In the past I have made eggshell powder for my homemade dog food. I also have made a calcium supplement with lemon juice and Eggshells. But recently I have just been collecting them!!

    • Lemon juice…interesting. Can you explain that to me? I know it’s in place of the vinegar. Thanks!

  23. I am thrilled to read about egg shells to help with bone mass. I have chickens, nice brown eggs. I was just told that my bone density dropped 18.8 percent since my last scan which was 2009. I do not want osteoporosis drugs. Have many friends who have had negative reactions from shots and medications. I am so willing to try the egg shell powder.
    Thank you Thank you so much for all the information you share so freely with me and others. I never realized that while utilizing my egg shells for my chickens, I can actually use them (along with those wonderful eggs) to help my body even more.

  24. Great read! Do you need to bake the shells if you’re putting them in your smoothie? Occasionally I’ll throw a raw egg in it. Never thought about trying the whole egg in there. I’d only do this if I bought my organic eggs at the store. I try to buy them directly from farms whenever I can (and then I ask for them dirty and unrefrigerated!). Thanks!

  25. In my Family Herbalist classes we talked about using egg shells for calcium intake. We were taught that the calcium is not readily absorbed by the body UNLESS you mix it with Apple Cider Vinegar and take it that way.

    • So we should soak the eggshells in acv before drying them? How much, how long?

  26. I save my egg shells for the birds. They love them. What they don’t eat, goes into the soil.

  27. I was so excited to finally try this and I had enough to get started. After I boiled them I left them in the oven to leave overnight before I was going to lightly bake them but as my luck would have it I had the oven set to 375 to bake some goodies and I forgot the eggshells. I did remember early on but not soon enough. Some of the eggshells are lightly browned, not even burnt, and others are fine. Would it still be safe to use this batch or do I need to start anew?