Skull Cleaning

Submitted by Jason on 11/16/99. ( ) 204.201.225.170

Whats the best way to clean skulls so there clean and bright white. I will be doing this at home. If someone could give me some basic steps to follow it would be great.

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Here is what I do . . .

This response submitted by jeff hughes on 11/17/99. ( grimlock@crcwnet.com ) 208.23.145.144

My apologies for posting this same info again, but you asked :)
The only thing I would add to the text below is don't boil the antler bases to vigorously and don't slop the peroxide paste on the antler burrs, you have to stain em' dark again . .

Without a doubt having dermistid beetles do your work is fast and efficient, but unless you want to raise
bugs or mail your skull around the country . . .
Boiling in sal soda or I have found going to the grocery store and buying arm and hammer washing soda in
the laundry detergent isle,(not baking soda-different stuff)works well.
The skulls can get over cooked so check it every 15 minutes or so and scrape any loose meat off with a
dull knife. The boiling will leave the skull a little dry and probably not as durable as the beetle version
would be.
Use a toothpick to clean all the blood vessel passages through the jaw and yes the teeth need to come out
and be cleaned-sockets too or it will stink :( super glue or epoxy the teeth back in when done.
Pick the brain out with a hooked piece of wire through the spinal cord hole.
I hesitate to use household bleach, I think if left too long the bone may powder, instead hit up the local
beaty supply store for 40% volume peroxide cream and powdered bleach or "whitening". Mix them as per
the directions on the bleach package and make a toothpaste like substance, BE CAREFUL this stuff is
caustic and if slopped on anything . . .
paint the entire skull and put it in a plastic bag for about 2 days in the sun, I suggest placing white paper or
something white and clean under it to ensure good reflected light.
As long as the paste is wet it is working, but 2 days is usually plenty- rinse the skull under clean running
water and soak it in white vinegar solution about one cup to a gallon of water for 30 minutes or so.
There are a dozen different ways to do this, but this works for me . .
Here is a link from a science/zoologist teacher that uses detergent with enzymes and bleach, I ended up
boiling a little in the end anyway, maybe check this method too.
http://www.d91.k12.id.us/www/skyline/teachers/robertsd/skulls.htm

Good luck, jeff


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