How to Clean & Bleach Buffalo Skulls

By Megan Shoop

Animal skulls have long been used as hunting trophies and interior decoration. Bison skulls in particular evince a feeling of the Old West when used as decoration and represent strength and wisdom in many Native American cultures. When preserving any animal bones, the most important part is disinfection. If using bleach, use one cup per gallon of water. More bleach will cause the bone to flake. Thirty to 40 percent peroxide solution is usually used to whiten the skull, and also to prevent flaking. Bleaching kits with all the necessary tools are available at most sporting good stores or websites.

Scrape away any large remaining areas of flesh with the wire brush. Try to make as few scratches as possible.

Rinse the skull thoroughly with the power hose. Pay close attention to the brain and horn cases, eye sockets and nasal cavities. Place the skull on top of newspaper in a cool, but not cold, dry area and allow it to dry for about three weeks.

Mix a solution of one cup of bleach per gallon of water in a pot large enough to hold the skull. Make sure there is enough solution to cover the skull completely, not including the horns. The horns are made from different matter than the bone; soaking them could cause damage.

Bring the bleach solution to a boil and add the skull. Boil for no more than an hour. Remove the skull from the solution and dry it with an old towel. Allow the skull to dry for about two weeks.

Mix enough powdered peroxide with warm water to make a thin paste. Coat the skull, including the horns, with the paste and place in a black plastic bag. Allow the paste to work for 24 hours, rinse with warm water and allow the skull to dry for two weeks.