On one recent trip down to the Jersey Shore we collected some huge conch shells (whelk shells) and we found several small sand dollars floating in the surf. We were quite happy to find all of these items as it is very rare to find them anymore.
We knew before we headed back home to Pennsylvania that we needed to clean them up and preserve them for the ride home. Trust me, you don't want to be packing any stinky and dirty conch shells in your luggage! In our case, the animal was still alive, would of died and stunk up our car ride home!
How to Clean and Preserve Conch Shells and Sand Dollars
You will want to open up some windows if you can as our condo got stinky during this process, an over-whelming fish smell for sure! Once they are done boiling, remove them with tons and place into the sink. Run cool running water over them to help to cool them down.
The sand dollars are much easier to preserve. Rinse them thoroughly under cool running water. Make sure you hold onto them so they don't drop & break. We never submerge ours in water. Gently pat them dry with paper towels and then lay them on a cotton towel to air dry. They need to completely dry out.
Well there you have it! You will want to clean and preserve your precious shells while on vacation to help protect them for the ride home. If you can't do it while on vacation, rinse them and wrap them in towels until you get back home.