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Acetone For Degreasing

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by CJMartin, Jun 25, 2022.

  1. CJMartin

    CJMartin Member

    i just started using beetles to clean the skulls of small animals like turkey, pheasants, racoon and a fox. These guys are a trip to watch work! i want to try acetone to degrease the racoon and fox. How long do i keep them in, how will i know when it's time to pull them out? Thanks for any help you can give me.
  2. Penczak

    Penczak Active Member

    I use white gas or denatured alcohol

  3. CJMartin

    CJMartin Member

    Ok, how long (average) how do i know when it's time to take it out?
  4. Kendall

    Kendall Active Member

    Every species is different as well as individual animals as far as level of grease so there is not a hard and fast rule for time in the degreaser. They are done when they are done.
  5. CJMartin

    CJMartin Member

    Is there an indicator i should be looking for or am i just guessing?
  6. steve torna

    steve torna New Member

    Hello from Montana,
    When the degreasing solution turns brown, discard it and place the skull in fresh solution. Continue the cycles until the degreasing agent remains clear. Once the skull is apparently degreased, allow it to thoroughly dry and inspect; if you are not satisfied continue degreasing. I use ammonia but the principle is the same. Sometimes I degrease for weeks or even months before I am satisfied with the results. Good luck.
    Please note: I do not prepare bird skulls. You may have to be vigilant
    when soaking avian skulls to prevent them from disarticulating. My success with degreasing is limited to mammal and reptile skulls and does not include birds.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022
    jigginjim likes this.
  7. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    Have you done hog heads? I had a head soaking in Ammonia for threes changed water twice, but i have decided to try acetone in a 5 gallon pile. I am thinking it may need to be done in a white pile. As we just started in a red pile for today. How long would you leave it the acetone?
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Acetone is not needed with these as they are not really greasy animals 'cept for the coons. Do NOT just dump your cleaning materials when they are discolored. You will be wasting a huge amount of materials and $$$$ if you do, especially with acetone which is not cheap. Discoloration does not mean that your solution is no longer good. You can use acetone or white gas but they are really not that good of a degreaser for bone alone. If you are not going to try the heated detergent soak (which works beyond well for these smaller animals) try a solution of ammonia instead. 50/50 ammonia and water will work but you still are going to have to let these skulls sit for a fair amount of time which is why the heated detergent solution is better. The time in heated Dawn/water will be less than in room temp ammonia. I have found that acetone/gas alone did not produce that great of a result. They are going to have to sit for a long while before you get good looking specimens and deep grease is still an issue with this. As above, when it is done it's done. When *you* are satisfied with the appearance, they will be done. Room temp anything is going to take longer than a heated solution of Dawn/water. Heating the solution softens the fats and allows the detergents to pull them out of the bone a lot faster. You can't heat acetone and other solvents safely as they are flammable. Detergents are water based and can be heated with no dangerous consequences. They are also much cheaper and cost effective.