How to Clean Abalone

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Abalone are quick and easy to clean! To clean the meat, simply remove it from the shell, trim off the liver, and remove any dirt from the flesh. If you want to clean the shells, use muriatic acid to help loosen the barnacles and then use a chisel and wire brush to remove them. Polish your abalone jewellery with a jewellery cloth to accentuate their natural colourings and add shine.


EditCleaning Abalone Meat

  1. Scrape the abalone meat out of the shell with an oyster knife. Push the oyster knife under the abalone meat to dislodge it from the shell. If the meat won’t come out, try scraping the meat out from a different angle.[1]
    Clean Abalone Step 1.jpg
    • If you don’t have an oyster knife, use a small serrated knife instead.
    • Scrape the meat out of the shells over a sanitised surface in case the meat flies out of the shell unexpectedly.
  2. Trim off the brown liver and guts with a pair of scissors. To the side of the pale abalone meat, you will notice a squishy, dark-brown bag – this is the liver and the guts. Use scissors to cut off all the brown areas from around the abalone. It is best to remove this as it doesn’t have a pleasant taste.[2]
    Clean Abalone Step 2.jpg
    • Wrap the liver and guts in paper before putting in the bin to reduce the smell.
  3. Scrub any dirt off the abalone meat with a scrubbing brush. Abalone often have a little sand or dirt on them after they are retrieved from the ocean. Simply agitate any dirt off with a clean brush. Don’t press too hard, as this can pierce the meat.[3]
    Clean Abalone Step 3.jpg
    • A clean toothbrush or nail-brush will also work well for this task.
  4. Rinse the abalone flesh under a tap. Hold the abalone water under cold tap water to rinse off any dirt that you scrubbed off. If necessary, use your hands to push off any residual dirt from the abalone. If you are cleaning lots of abalone, place them into a bowl to rinse them.[4]
    Clean Abalone Step 4.jpg
    • Avoid using hot water, as this can cause the abalone meat to start cooking.

EditSanitising and Shining Abalone Shells

  1. Spray the outside of the shell with muriatic acid. This helps to loosen the barnacles from the shell. Place the shell on a concrete surface outside and then spray the acid over the entire shell. You will notice the acid fizz as it reacts with the shell.[5]
    Clean Abalone Step 5.jpg
    • Purchase muriatic acid from a hardware store.
    • Work outside on concrete, if possible, or use an acid-resistant container.
    • Always be careful when working with strong chemicals, such as muriatic acid. Wear gloves and a respirator and keep the acid away from children and pets.
  2. Rinse the acid off the shell with water. Liberally pour water over the shell to remove all the remnants of acid. If you have a hose nearby, use this to rinse off the water. Alternatively, pour a bucket of water over the shell.[6]
    Clean Abalone Step 6.jpg
    • Wear gumboots to stop acid from touching your feet.
    • Keep your gloves on while you are rinsing the shells to avoid getting burnt by the acid.
  3. Chisel off as many barnacles as you can. Place the head of the chisel onto the barnacles and gently tap the handle with a hammer. This will help to dislodge the barnacles away from the shell. Avoid tapping too vigorously, as this can crack the shell.[7]
    Clean Abalone Step 7.jpg
    • If a barnacle won’t come off, try tapping it at different angles.
    • If you don’t have a hammer, use mallet instead.
  4. Scrub off any remaining barnacles with a wire brush. Press down firmly on the brush and agitate off any barnacles from the outside of the shell. Keep scrubbing until the all the barnacles are off the shell. This reveals the beautiful colours underneath.[8]
    Clean Abalone Step 8.jpg
    • Purchase a wire brush from a hardware store.
  5. Leave the shells to dry in the sun for 1-2 hours. This helps to remove any bad smells from the shells and makes them easier to polish. Place the shells in a sunny place where they won’t be stepped on by animals or children. A sunny window sill or porch works well.[9]
    Clean Abalone Step 9.jpg
    • If the shells are still wet after a few hours, simply leave them in the sun until they are completely dry. Drying time will vary depending on your climate.
  6. Polish the shells with mineral oil to add shine. Dampen a clean cloth with mineral oil and gently rub it over your abalone shells. This helps to accentuate the colours in the shell and adds a beautiful sheen. Microfibre cloths and cotton cloths both work well for polishing shells.[10]
    Clean Abalone Step 10.jpg
    • If you don’t have any mineral oil, use baby oil instead.

EditPolishing Abalone Jewellery

  1. Wear the jewellery regularly to coat it in natural oils. Your skin produces natural oil which will transfer onto the abalone. This helps to polish the shell and brings out its deep colours and patterns.[11]
    Clean Abalone Step 11.jpg
    • Avoid wearing the abalone in the ocean or in the shower, as salt and beauty products can damage the shiny coating on the jewellery.
  2. Clean your abalone jewellery with a cloth each time you wear it. Jewellery cleaning cloths work best for this task, but microfibre cloths will also do the job. Simply rub the cloth back and forth over the abalone shell to polish and clean it.[12]
    Clean Abalone Step 12.jpg
    • Avoid cleaning your abalone shell with chemicals, as this can damage the fragile shell.
    • Purchase a jewellery cleaning cloth from a jewellery store.
  3. Store your abalone jewellery out of the sun in a box by itself. Avoid exposing the abalone shell to extensive sunlight, as this can fade its beautiful colours. Keep your abalone jewellery by itself to avoid it from getting scratched.[13]
    Clean Abalone Step 13.jpg
    • If you don’t have a jewellery box, place it in a jewellery bag.


  • Muriatic acid is a caustic chemical. Wear thick gloves and a respirator when using it as it can harm your skin and lungs.

EditThings You’ll Need

EditCleaning Abalone Meat

  • Oyster knife
  • Scissors

EditSanitising and Shining Abalone Shells

  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Muriatic acid
  • Water

EditPolishing Abalone Jewellery

  • Cloth
  • Jewellery box


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