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Diluting Peroxide

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by J7, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. J7

    J7 Member

    I have 13 deer skulls and one elk skull that I have been degreasing and I'm about to start whitening with peroxide. I purchased a gallon of Soft Swim C and it wont be quite enough to cover a skull completely in the small plastic container I plan on using. I dont want to buy more Soft Swim so diluting it will get the volume required to cover the skull. I understand that this will lower the H2O2 percentage and increase whitening time and I'm OK with that. Can I dilute Soft Swim with 3% grocery store peroxide? I want to mix 1 gallon of Soft Swim with two gallons of 3% for a 3 gallon total.

    This would be 0.275gal + 0.03 gal + 0.03 gal = 0.335 gallons of H2O2 in the 3 gallon total

    0.335 gal/ 3gal = 11.2% peroxide

    Has anybody done this before? How many skulls can I expect to complete with this amount and percentage?
     
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    6,216
    2,077
    MN
    News flash, you can do this without diluting it. Take a container bigger than you need partially fill it with water. Lay a sheet of heavy plastic over that, set skull onto plastic sheet. add peroxide to skull until it is covered. if need be add more water outside of plastic to cause peroxide to cover skull. ! gallon will do a bunch of skulls, one at a time, this way.
     

  3. J7

    J7 Member

    I had contemplated using that method but I don't have any plastic heavy enough. I would no doubt poke a hole in it somehow and then be diluting anyway to an unknown concentration. Using a small container and diluted peroxide seems to be the best course for me. Seems a little safer for a first timer. So, asking again; Can I dilute Soft Swim with 3% grocery store peroxide?
     
  4. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    You can also cut an old towel into 3" wide strips about 12" in length. Wet them with peroxide, and drape them across the part of the skull not immersed, allowing the ends to be suspended in your solution. They will "wick up" peroxide and whiten the non-submersed areas of your skulls.
     
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Wicking and the plastic sheet method will work and make better use of the peroxide than diluting it. Gallon of the pool peroxide should be under $15.00. For the length of time that it will last, 3 gallons or so in a bucket is not a bad investment. If you want to still dilute it, yes, you can use 3%. Safer than using tap water which could have a high iron content and cause the same issue as the pinned article (it has happened).
     
  6. J7

    J7 Member

    Well I went ahead and diluted it down and tried it. I threw in one of my abused for a test.

    The "abused" are six of my deer that went through hell for flesh removal. This was before I new anything about proper skull care. These were just put in the garden first and let the yellow jackets and maggots go at it. Then they were buried for the winter and soap water boiled in the spring in an aluminum roasting pan on the grill side burner. Then they were set on a shelf for years. Recently they have been going through proper degreasing procedures.

    Anyway, I threw in an "abused" doe. The diluted stuff worked great. The parts of the skull that aren't mineral stained are very white.

    Next, I put in a spike that I harvested last year that was simmered for flesh removal and immediately went into degreasing. This one turned out awesome although it looked pretty good as natural bone white before it went in.

    Next, I tried a large buck that was taken to another taxidermist first. I dont think he knew what he was doing on skulls. It only took him a week to get it back to me. I think he boiled, pressure washed off the flesh, and then applied cream peroxide. There was still flesh inside. This skull sat on a shelf for 5 years before I macerated the dried bits left in it and degreased it this summer. So, I put this buck into the diluted peroxide last night and pulled it this morning. Since I do not have a good way of getting heat to the skull while it is drying I have been rinsing them off in hot tap water and letting them sit in hot tap water bath for an hour before letting them dry (heat is heat). During the hot soak I noticed something different about this buck. About two or three table spoons of grease came oozing out of it. I thought I was done degreasing for sure on this skull. It must have come from inside the skull because the outside was beautiful bone white before going in to the peroxide. My question on this one is; should it go back into degreasing or did the peroxide hot water shock the remainder of grease out?

    Other lesson learned were to test gloves for leaks first. The gloves I used had a pin hole in one of the fingers and small spot on finger turned white and burned a little. Other lesson learned was that I need to do a much better job at wrapping and sealing antler bases. I dont think put enough plastic wrap on it for one thing. I used a liquid rubber latex to seal the plastic wrap at the burr. Somehow peroxide got in and turned the antlers white. Oh well, now I will get a lesson in antler staining.

    Thanks for your suggestions and help! I think I will try the wicking method as I have a surplus of towels and it seems it will give a little more control around the antler bases.
     
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Pin holes are great for surprises. Wait till it happens with 12% or 35% straight. Good opportunity to learn new cuss words. :) For your greasy buck, get it back into detergent. Shoot for 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Dawn concentrate in a 5 gallon bucket. The bigger trick is to make sure it stays heated to 120 degrees 24/7. Peroxide doesn't degrease per se but it can alter the structure a bit and help it to move. The hot water you were using might have had a bigger effect on it though. Was the lower jaw included with this? If so, the inside of the lower jaw can be a great place for chunks of fat and other nastiness to hide. If not, going to assume that there is still grease/fat trapped in it in the sinuses and brain cavity area. Good example of why a week to do a cleaning really isn't a good job well done by most.

    For your mineral stains, try a soak in a solution of Iron Out. Or you can even soak the skull in water for a bit and then try painting a strong solution of Iron Out on the stains directly. Then rinse well. Soak only until the stains are gone. I have used it with success but I still don't trust it for long soaks. Haven't tested it yet.
     
  8. I use liquid(clear) 40 volume, but I don't know why this wouldn't work in other strengths.

    You can use less H2O2 by basting it onto and into the skull like you're basting a turkey. Just catch the "drippings" and keep on basting until you feel it is covered inside and out. Then wrap the skull in plastic to keep it wet and add heat, if you prefer. If you choose to do antlered critters this way, do not just put the entire thing in a garbage bag. The peroxide vapor that is contained in the bag will lighten the antlers somewhat. I learned that from experience. It was summer time in MS. I basted with 40 vol, put the whole head in a garbage bag, and placed it in the car for a couple hours. I retrieved a bright white skull and lighter antlers.
     
  9. J7

    J7 Member

    The lower jaw were included but I had cleaned them out really well with pipe cleaners long ago. I think you are right(seawolf) in that the grease was trapped in upper sinuses. I degrease in a 5 gallon tote instead of a bucket. So the buck skulls sit a little more level and the grease may have got trapped that way. I'm surprised that it didn't come out when I rinsed after degreasing. When I put it into the hot water bath it was at a steeper angle and the peroxide bubbles lifted the grease right out of it. I will put it back into degreasing because there is a slightly yellow spot in the center of the skull above the upper sinuses now that it has dried.