My skull is beetled out. It still smells and is yellow. Is it true that peroxide is the best whitening agent? And will the peroxide alone deal with the lingering odor of decay?
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You need to degrease before whitening. A throughly degreased skull you may decide to not proceed with further whitening as a lot of the yellow will come out that way. You may also wish to macerate the piece after the beetles are through. Maceration will dissolved more bio matter - including that INSISDE the bone where even the smallest of instars cannot reach. Once you get to the point where you decide you do wnat to whiten artifically - then yes - hydrogen peroxide is the best agent. 3% like used on cuts n scrapes will disinfect better than a topical application and whiten sufficiently, but for a REALLY bright whitening job (which I personally think looks incredibly artificial, but many people like it), go with a paste formulation. 40 volume (12% or so) peroxide sold by beauty supply locations mixed into a paste with magnesium carbonate (or a developer like basic white), brush on the skull and allow ot to sit. Once it's all dry - wash it off. Reapply if neccesary. Magnesium Carbonate should be available from taxidermy supply places.