In my opinion, washing hulls (and drying them) is a lot of work with possible adverse side effects and very little, if any, benefit. It certainly isn't NECESSARY and doesn't in any way improve the performance of the load.
Why go to all that trouble and risk duds and misfires just to keep the exterior of the shells slightly cleaner? I don't plan on sticking the loaded shells into my mouth or eating before washing my hands, so I don't see the need to wash shells and can see several reasons NOT to do so.
Hulls should be washed very carefully and throughly. Put them in your kitchen sink. Fill the sink with hot water . Make sure the temperature is between 140-155 degrees F. Fill the sink with 2.4 gallons of this water and add 3 ml. of Dawn washing detergent. This solution will wash 75 shells. Use a 20 ga. barrel wire brush to clean the inside of the hulls. This should be in an electric drill. Hold the shell firmly under water and turn on the drill at full speed. Next, use a battery terminal brush to clean the outside. Next, rinse the hulls in hat water that is at least five degrees warmer than the wash water. After rinsing, wipe the hulls with a lint free rag and stack in rows on the kitchen counter and dry them with a hair dryer set on medium. If the hulls are not dried, the steel in the primers will rust.
Another option is to place them in a mesh bag and toss them in a washing machine. This can be great fun when the machine reaches the spin cycle.
Still, another option is to load the dirty hulls as is and shoot them at doubles and let the hulls fly.
Wanna have great looking hulls-try this method. Put a few hundred in laundry bags-add a little laundry detergent-use warm water and a very short cycle on your wifes' automatic washer. Spin dry and rotate bags often. Then hang the bags on your nearest tree branch on a nice sunny afternoon. Hulls come out sparkling new!!
Sean, don't let these guys mislead you (Pat, you should be ashamed of yourself).
First you must deprime your hulls.
Next you must thread them through the primer holes with twine. I prefer to alternate green STS hulls with red AA hulls this time of year so as to give it a festive appearance. Place the hulls in the dishwasher and run on the pots & pans cycle. My secret is to use jetdry so they are nice and slippery smooth and really eject nicely from your shotgun.
Why not put your shells in a case tumbler with some media (?). That should get them clean. Then put them in a media extractor. ERGO: nice clean shells, and not a water problem. Just a thought, has anyone tried this method?
I have tried various methods to wash my fed paper hulls. All seam to make them come out looking like a fifth grade science project a freind of mine tried. I will admit I have not tried a wire bush inside of them yet. Guess I will shoot then three times then let them fly.
Sean, hope we didn't offend you; just couldn't resist having fun with your thread. I got a couple thousand dirty hulls once with debris in them too. We did kinda wipe them off with a rag and shake the junk out before reloading them. They were a pain in the @ss