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Degreasing Troubles

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Jmartins, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Jmartins

    Jmartins New Member

    I macerate all my skulls with nothing but water, at temps around 85. They take about a week or so and come out nice and clean. I then degrease with some blue dawn at around 113 degrees. My problem is, when they go into the degreaser they are fairly clean and white but after a few weeks in the degreaser they are disgustingly brown and never seem to fully whiten when peroxided. I change the water every week. Not sure if this is common or if I’m doing something wrong. Thanks in advance for help.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    How much Dawn are you adding to the water? What are you using for a container? .. Have you ever had your water checked for high minerals or iron?

  3. Hardhorned

    Hardhorned New Member

    Im having the same issue however my skulls are beetle cleaned. I place my whitetail skulls in 5 gallon buckets with about 1/4 cup of dawn. Then place the buckets into a large rubber storage container that I converted. It holds two 5 gallon buckets. Temp is set at 120.

    I soak the skulls in plain cold water for 2 days before giving them to beetles to help remove any blood.

    The picture of the skull has been in the degreaser for 3 weeks now. The longer the stay the darker the seem to get. Ive tried adding ammonia and same result.

    Any suggestion on what to do are greatly appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  4. Jmartins

    Jmartins New Member

    I do most of my skulls in 5 gallon Pails, bigger ones in Rubbermaid totes. I add about a half cup of dawn for larger skulls and roughly a 1/4 for 5 gallon buckets. Mine are coming out very similar to yours hardhorned. Maybe some water testing is required.
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Out of curiosity, are both of you using blue buckets? Have to admit I have only seen white or orange ones around here. The brown is different. I would not say that it is grease. It is too uniform. If this is iron or mineral staining, one thing that will make a huge difference in it is a powdered product called Iron Out. I had a pot bellied pig skull that was essentially ruined from mineral stains. Iron out removed them. It is something you might find in with the cleaning stuff in the hardware store. Make up a 4/5 gallon batch of it with hot water. Try 3 tablespoons per gallon and let one of the discolored skulls sit in it for several hours. If it makes a difference, try a stronger solution of it and let it soak until it is white. I suppose, rather than make up a huge bucket of it first, make up maybe a gallons worth in the bottom of a bucket and let the nose end sit in it for a while. You will know if it changes the color or not.

    Look at some of the pictures in this post. The color is very similar. https://www.taxidermy.net/threads/169079/
  6. Hardhorned

    Hardhorned New Member

    Sea Wolf, thanks again for the info. I have always used the blue buckets from lowes and never had this issue. This has just started once I switched to using beetles. I really nervous bc these are customers skulls and i can't charge for an inferior product.

    Everyone said beetles are the way to go but Im not seeing it. I love that they do they the dirty work but what gives in the degreasing tank? When I would simmer skulls this never happened. After simmering I would place them in same buckets and same tank to degrease and never a change in color....

    I will try the iron out but again Im nervous. lots of time and money spent
  7. Hardhorned

    Hardhorned New Member

    Sea Wolf

    Should I try iron out before I put in BO? or should whiten then try iron out?
  8. Jmartins

    Jmartins New Member

    Thanks Seawolf, always appreciate all the knowledge with this stuff. My buckets are clear, and white. I’ll try out the iron out and see how it goes.
  9. I have terrible iron in my water some turn out that way. I use iron out on my white clothes because my water turns them the color of your deer. I was having issues with bears this year and tried iron out and it worked. Also if you have a water filter system it helps. Just be sure to change the filters often it makes a difference..
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Did you read that post?
  11. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Well, you did tell them to just look at the pics..
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Ah true. Was for Jmartins though referring to the color. So many posts on here with information that gets skipped over. :)
    BearBonz and SaskGuy like this.
  13. Jmartins

    Jmartins New Member

    Thanks seawolf, I did read that post. Very interesting. Mine are almost identical to the ones in your post. I was thinking about adding the iron out to the degreaser solution but I guess the effects would be reversed once peroxided. Maybe some kind of water filter is in order.
  14. Hardhorned

    Hardhorned New Member

    That was my bad. Sorry, I was too quick to type. Do appreciate all the help.
  15. I
    I have water filters and change them often but the iron still gets in. So I just dunk everything in the end. Just to be sure.
  16. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    You probably could use the Iron Out and see if it makes a difference before degreasing further. Might actually help you to see better where there might be grease in the bone still too. Curious to know if that also solves the problem. Yes, peroxide might bring back the off color but another dunk in the Iron Out will remove it.
  17. Skulltastic

    Skulltastic Member

    Just as an experiment you can buy a few gallons of distilled water for about $1 a gallon, that will tell you for sure if your water is the issue. distilled is as pure as it gets!