Skull Whiteness

Submitted by Lisa on 01/17/2003. ( )

I have heard that people use peroxide to whiten the skulls when boiling them. Does anyone know the ratio of peroxide to water to use?

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Haven't tried it...

This response submitted by Mike Dunbar on 01/17/2003. ( )

while boiling them, the procedure is usually to boil the skull first to remove the meat and other tissue, and then to treat the skull with peroxide after the skull is cleaned. Boiling should be done carefully so as not to damage the bone, there are other options like allowing the skull to rot naturally, or using dermestid beettles to eat the tissue, although you don't want those critters around your mounts.

To soak your cleaned skull in peroxide, you can use a shallow pan and drape a soaked paper towel over the skull. Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide breaks down fast in light, so do this in a dark place.

Also, the archives, "search" orange button to the left will give you many, many answers to your questions.

Don't use the liquid

This response submitted by George on 01/17/2003. ( )

Use the paste and the evaporation problem goes away.

Don't boil

This response submitted by Raven on 01/17/2003. ( )

Don't boil - the damage it dies to the bones is incredible! If you msut use hot water - simmer it very lightly - do not allow it to boil. I generally only go as hot as I can bear to have my hand in for 3 seconds or so... macerations is the best tho. I'm lenaing towards that over dermestids. When whitening I just place the whole piece in straight 3% peroxide and allow to soak. Never had any problems doing it this way. Cleans nicely in 1-3 days

Peroxide and bleach.................

This response submitted by me on 01/17/2003. ( )

Peroxide and Bleach (usedseperatly for the beginners) will only turn the skull yellow. Use Sal Soda (aka:Arm&Hammers Wasing powder) and boil.. YES BOIL for 1 hour. Been doing this for 23 years now.


This response submitted by Bill Yox on 01/17/2003. ( )

How many times will we retype all this? Go ahead and boil, youll get a few years out of them before they get wiggly and loosen up. Like Raven, me, and so many others have said, it works, but its not the best way to do it. The small frontal bones that hold the teeth will be the first to go, but, as those teeth crack I guess it wont matter. TRUST us we wouldnt lie to yas!


This response submitted by Steve Shaffer on 01/19/2003. ( )

I have 4 colonies of dermestids that I use to clean skulls. I look to do 500+ skulls this year & I whiten them all with 35% Hydrogen peroxide. I leave them in this for up to 48 hrs., for deer & bear. If I'm doing young immature animals (button bucks, very small bear) I usually leave them for only 12 to 16 hrs. Other small animals like, fox skunks, opossum, fisher, marten, Etc take less time. I have done skulls as delicate as mice & pine squirrels this way that come out beautifully white with no damage. I believe that some of the damage that occurs when boiling is not from the boiling itself. With cold water maceration or boiling, not all the connective tissue in the bone sutures & cartilage is removed. When placed in the peroxide (even 3%), the foaming action that results from the peroxide reacting with the remaining tissue does damage to the bones. With the beetles their is nothing left & after degreasing them ( the degreasing kills all bacteria),the 35% peroxide doesn't even foam when a skull is placed in it. I have skulls that are 4+ yrs. old with no yellowing or deteriation. That said, my hats off to you taxidermists for the work you do. What I do with skulls is not the art that you perform. Me, I only raise bugs & hack the hide & flesh off. Ha! Ha!

P.S. You can see my work by going to Taxidermy suppliers at, then to M.O.A. Custom Skulls under skull cleaning services.

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