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degreasing skulls #8211478 03/23/21 03:03 AM
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Sniper John Offline OP
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I had started my own dermestid crew and just as I almost had the population big enough to start cleaning skulls we had the 7 hour long rolling blackouts with below zero temps which wiped them out. I started over and finally have my first skull being cleaned right now. A fox skull. My bugs still need to populate some more before I get to the hog and deer skulls, but I should get there by the end of spring or into summer. Question is after cleaning, what are you guys using for degreasing skulls before whitening them in peroxide? Especially the hog skulls.

Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Sniper John] #8211553 03/23/21 03:48 AM
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Sodium carbonate sometimes called sal soda. A little goes a long way. Too much will actually dissolve calcium and not just grease & fat.

Don’t let your skulls boil or they will get chalky/flakey. Water somewhere around the 160 degree Fahrenheit mark works best for me.

Van Dyke's, McKenzie and evening Amazon carry Na2CO3. If you’re in a hurry Arm & Hammer washing powder is the same stuff just more expensive and can be found at Walmart or HEB.


Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Kentucky Native] #8211794 03/23/21 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Kentucky Native
Sodium carbonate sometimes called sal soda. A little goes a long way. Too much will actually dissolve calcium and not just grease & fat.

Don’t let your skulls boil or they will get chalky/flakey. Water somewhere around the 160 degree Fahrenheit mark works best for me.

Van Dyke's, McKenzie and evening Amazon carry Na2CO3. If you’re in a hurry Arm & Hammer washing powder is the same stuff just more expensive and can be found at Walmart or HEB.



I have a dry skull off a November natural death that I'd like to clean up. Still has mummified hide, etc on it. What is the best approach?


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Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Sniper John] #8212403 03/24/21 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Sniper John
I had started my own dermestid crew and just as I almost had the population big enough to start cleaning skulls we had the 7 hour long rolling blackouts with below zero temps which wiped them out. I started over and finally have my first skull being cleaned right now. A fox skull. My bugs still need to populate some more before I get to the hog and deer skulls, but I should get there by the end of spring or into summer. Question is after cleaning, what are you guys using for degreasing skulls before whitening them in peroxide? Especially the hog skulls.



With the water barely simmering, I use Dawn dish soap and Liquid Arm & Hammer laundry soap. Works great for me.

Re: degreasing skulls [Re: skinnerback] #8212421 03/24/21 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by skinnerback
Originally Posted by Sniper John
I had started my own dermestid crew and just as I almost had the population big enough to start cleaning skulls we had the 7 hour long rolling blackouts with below zero temps which wiped them out. I started over and finally have my first skull being cleaned right now. A fox skull. My bugs still need to populate some more before I get to the hog and deer skulls, but I should get there by the end of spring or into summer. Question is after cleaning, what are you guys using for degreasing skulls before whitening them in peroxide? Especially the hog skulls.



With the water barely simmering, I use Dawn dish soap and Liquid Arm & Hammer laundry soap. Works great for me.


Yelp dawn, make sure and cover antler bases or that fat will stick to them


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Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Sniper John] #8213007 03/24/21 03:24 PM
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Sniper John Offline OP
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Thanks for the responses y'all

Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Sniper John] #8213250 03/24/21 07:06 PM
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You'll want to degrease at lower temps than a simmer, I recommend no higher than 120, I personally regulate my thermostat from 115-120, once it hits 120 it shuts off until it goes lower than 115. Ammonia added to the solution will really help the process, although it will evaporate off pretty quick.

I set up a tank that's regulated with a thermostat and power supply, but aquarium heaters will work, you can manipulate the thermostat on certain brands. I've been doing the dermestid thing for 15 years, if you want more info just let me know.

Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Sniper John] #8224320 04/03/21 04:17 PM
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Sniper John Offline OP
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Thanks again for the tips guys. Fox skull turned out real nice. I shot the Fox only 20 days ago.

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Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Sniper John] #8228160 04/07/21 02:41 PM
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Dang Beatles lick em clean.

Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Sniper John] #8228663 04/07/21 09:08 PM
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Very nice. Beetles are awesome.

I’m about to start on 4 or 5 more heads here, the old fashioned way of course.

Re: degreasing skulls [Re: Sniper John] #8229484 04/08/21 02:23 PM
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I recently did a pig skull. I bought the kit from VanDykes...boiled the skull per the instructions. To degrease the skull, I just let it soak in hot tap water and a bunch of dawn dish soap for about 12 hours. Took it out and scrubbed it with a stiff brush and rinsed, bleached it and sprayed a coat of clear. Worked pretty good.


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