the skull in question

Hi there! First time poster here. 8 months ago I found a deer head in the woods. At the time it was less than 24 hours dead. So I put it in a tub and buried it in the woods. Dug it back up a few days ago. The tub had filled with water at some point and the skull was clean (ish) but stained brown. So I threw it on my back porch in a container of dish soap and h2o2. But the color is still the same. I’ve been replaced the peroxide occasionally and trying to clean off some bits of remaining flesh. I’m considering putting it in a stock pot and simmering it with the peroxide to really whiten it. Downside is that I have no access to an outdoor heating element so doing it inside could get gross fast. Any advice? Also picked up a doe skull yesterday on a hike. It also still has flesh attached to it. Should it get simmered?

Note: I live in an apartment. So I can’t hang up skulls outside, use a hose, or heat them outside as I have no outdoor property outside my porch.

  • Not an answer but... I know a farmer who does this sometimes after hunting deer on the farm, he simply boils the head up as soon as the butcher has taken it off - and they come out fairly white in the first place, it may be too weathered to whiten perfectly now (expect less than pearly white when you finish) - this colour actually reminds me of the bones we get for the dog where they've smoked the marrow etc.
    – Aravona
    Oct 29, 2018 at 10:22

2 Answers 2


You can use towels soaked in hydrogen peroxide and wrapped in plastic set in the sun.

This article shows the method being used on an old cow skull. For whitening, I don't think that you need any dish soap or extra water.

You should boil the other skull to help get the bits off.

  • Thanks for the advice. I did go ahead and boil them both. Both turned out nice and white. Unfortunately the one in the picture ended up pretty brittle and I lost the tip of its nose. Also it stinks. I didn’t boil the antlers because I wanted to keep their color. But oooh boy do they smell. I’ve scrubbed them but to no avail. Any advice on getting the smell off? Nov 3, 2018 at 21:53

Related: How to clean bones found outside?

The over the counter H202 isn't going to do the job with a skull that discoloured. You need to get some stonger stuff. Over the counter hydrogen peroxide is diluted, it's only about 3% pure. Taxidermists use 40 volume hydrogen peroxide, it's far stronger than the drug store stuff, and will produce the results you want. There are also other products you can use in conjunction with the 40 volume that will turn your skull bleach white.

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