Salt in the degreaser?

Submitted by Joey Font on 6/2/02. ( )

I've been going through the archives and can't find an answer to my question. If I degrease a hide after it has been pickled, won't I need to add salt to my degreaser to prevent acid swelling? Especially since the solution is 1 part degeaser and 10 parts water. The instructions say nothing about adding salt, but I believe I read somewhere to add salt if it is a degreaser/water combination. Thanks.

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Add degreaser to the pickle.

This response submitted by Todd B on 6/2/02. ( )

Simple as that.

Todd B


This response submitted by George on 6/2/02. ( )

There apples and oranges being talked here. A degreaser has a high pH as it is alkali in order to work. A PICKLE is low pH. Salt is inert, but adding degreaser to your pickle is going to change the pH drastically.


This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 6/2/02. ( )

George is right - you have to be extremely careful about adding a degreser to your pickle. It could be a disaster! And yes - a few of them are high alkalines which will drive the pickle's PH way up!

However, there are a few degreasers made specifically for use "in the pickle". In fact I'm testing one now that shows some promise. It has very little effect on the PH - but effectively does a great job degreasing the skins or capes after they've been shaven.

But to get back to your original question - Salt is not needed because usually the degreasing time is not that long. Hardly enough time for the skins to "acid swell". This is particularly true if you were using something like our Rittels Super Solvent. You only need to soak for 30 minutes - and the skin turns out "squeaky clean"! If you added Salt it would retard the degreasing action of the product.

I use the Epo-Grip in my pickle.

This response submitted by Todd B on 6/3/02. ( )

I guess I should have mentioned that. I did not think of telling you that about the ph. Sorry. I have never had a problem with the ph when using the Epo-Grip Bloodout degreaser.

Todd B

Salt is inert?

This response submitted by Mike Dunbar on 6/3/02. ( )

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't salt raise pH? Alkaline?


This response submitted by cyclone on 6/3/02. ( )

Salt is not exactly inert, but, it will not alter the PH of a solution.


This response submitted by Glen Conley on 6/3/02. ( )

Salt, if meaning sodium chloride is far from inert (inability to receive or donate ions. example: noble gases, example: helium). Sodium chloride is the salt of hydrochloric acid. Compound baking soda (NaHC03) with hydrochloric acid (HCl) > NaCl (salt) + H20 (water) + C02 (carbon dioxide). Sodium chloride in taxidermy applications could be considered a base (chemically). Using the Law of Conservation of Matter in application, you will find that sodium chloride can be again re-structured to form other compounds with the proper catalyst. You will find many chemicals that contain a high percentage of Hydrogen. These Hydrogen ions are bonded. pH would be considered not applicable, shown by the abbreviation N/A.

Protein=amino acid

Check the surface pH of a green cape, a little square of pH paper (tool) will suffice. You will get a very high 6 reading, pushing 7. Salt the cape and check the pH of the drained affluent. You will in all probability get a pH of 6. The sodium,with it's positive charge, has not only pulled the negative charged organic acids, but also the ionizable ions of the carboxylic and ammonium groups from the proteins. If you wish to further demonstrate to yourself the acid content of a green cape, drain fluids from the green cape, or use a freshly skinned cape, use a volt meter/ohm meter to test electrical conductivity and resistance. Use a 6 volt lantern battery for your electric source. I'm not giving you the readings, you're proving this to your self, remember?

Alkalinity!?! Test this. Place a very small handful of Borax in a bowl of water and check the pH IMMEDIATELY. You best be able to check to pH 12. Just more food for thought.

In the world of professional chemists, you will find them divided into two groups, general and bio. General can be very precise, bio is complex as Hell. Taxidermy combines the two. To quote a general chemist,"When you start mixing the two, weird stuff happens." Heed Bruce's above warning, and heed mine, go to the home page of, and you will see a picture of antelope hair. You will not see any "bacteria teeth marks" on those hair shafts. Those end results came about as a result of compounding products incompatable with taxidermy.

We have had them!

This response submitted by Mark on 6/4/02. ( )

We have had degreasers that you can use in your pickles, anyone of our three that we have on the market will work just fine in the pickle, tan and in a separate bath by itself. The Kemal 4 will work great it will not affect the Ph then we have Kemsol Degreaser, this will work great for waterfowl as well, the most concentrate that we have for bears,pigs,and beavers is our Super Solv. We have mixed and developed these products and have been on the market now form 4 to 15 years. Give them a try, contact us here for any literature or free technical handbooks. We have dealers across the U.S and Canada as well as other countries, Look for the Knoblochs line of Degreasers.
They will all work fine and are compatable with pickles.
Mark Daniels
email me at


This response submitted by Bill Mansell on 6/14/02. ( )

Glenn- I think I got oyr point but organic acids are not negatively charged and the carboxyl ion is a negative ion while the ammonium ion is a positive ion. Therefore, the sodium and ammonium ion will not chemically react in any way. Sodium salts of the carboxylic acids are all water soluable and will not form any new compounds (obviously though they can alter the pH of the solution)What does the electrical conductivity of the raw skin show about acidity? It doesn't matter if the ions are hydronium(acid) or hydroxyl (basic) , they will both increase electrical conductivity .


This response submitted by Glen Conley on 6/16/02. ( )

Well, Bill, looks like I have three choices here: 1) I quit trying to write.
2) I talk you into proof-reading me. 3) I take writing lessons from you.
I did make it sound like a positive was drawing a positive per se, didn't
I? Sorry 'bout that.

Electrical conductivity of a raw skin: Neither one of us provided that
reading. I used the pH paper and electricity to verify the acidity of
drained affluent.

I was not trying to imply that a carboxylic sodium salt could be formed
from sodium chloride. As far as I know it takes a carbonate form to produce
examples such as sodium citrate, sodium oxylate. However, implications
that I would be making ARE aimed at ammonium and chloride ions.

I just did a first for me. I used this computer for something other than
checking out taxidermy related web sites and photos. I was told you can
find any thing you want on the internet, if you know how to use it.
That's the catch. What I was looking for was the ammonium chloride
reaction. I'm not talking about the one used for commercial quantity
productions, but the bio-chemical acid induced version that causes the
heat in skinned out hides (or dead animals). It looks like I will have
to do some digging for that one. Dang it, almost forgot, ammonium
chloride used to be, and I'm guessing it still is, used for de-hairing

It has been written that any reaction that can be induced electrically,
can also be induced chemically. For entertainment and a broader general
knowledge, check out:

Another neat web site I came across was one where a tomato was used in
lieu of a battery to power a LCD watch, but I failed to take down the

Who is interested in this kind of stuff anyway? I guess it is just us
guys that are annoyed by "hair-slip.

Bill, did I do any better this time?

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