How to Clean and Whiten a Deer Skull

The Best Way to Whiten a Deer Skull | European Skull Mounts

There is something special about seeing an unblemished European mount on the wall. Deer shoulder mounts and even full mounts have their place, but the allure and simplicity of a skull mount cannot be denied. The problem that many people run into, however, is that they do not take the time to properly prepare their mount and often use the wrong whitening methods. Such problems can have unfortunate results down the road. Here is the best way to clean and whiten a deer skull.

How to Clean a Deer Skull

The first step in the process is to clean the skull for shipment. Cleaning a deer skull does not take much time, and it will save some shipping expenses if it’s being sent in for beetle cleaning. Once we receive the skull, it will be placed into the dermestid beetle colonies for them to work their magic. After they have thoroughly cleaned the skull of all its remaining tissue, it is degreased accordingly for the species. Some animals take longer to do this step than others because their skulls are naturally greasier, but deer skulls usually only take three to five days to finish the degreasing process. After drying, it is finally time for the deer skull whitening process.

How to Whiten a Deer Skull

There are several skull whitening products to use when whitening a deer skull. Most people are familiar with whitening a deer skull with bleach, but there are a few problems with this approach. Bleach is a strong chemical that can quickly cause a deer skull to deteriorate if not mixed properly or left in for too long. In time the deer skull mount will become brittle, which is largely because the bleach removed collagen and weakened it.

Beetle Juice Skull Works uses a safe, two-step whitening process to ensure a beautiful looking mount that will be strong for years to come. We start by painting on a generous amount of the skull whitening paste, starting on the back of the skull and working forward. In order to completely whiten a deer skull, the solution needs to be worked into every small crevice and joint area to ensure nothing is left un-whitened. This includes completely coating the teeth, which are often very dark in appearance. Then the back of the eye sockets are painted with the solution to ensure a uniform coat. We make sure to not paint any of the whitening solution on the antlers, or they could be unnaturally lightened. Finally, we liberally smear the solution into the nasal cavity area, which contains several delicate bones. After drying for a week, the skull mount is examined for any other blemishes that might need more whitening. If necessary, we will whiten a deer skull again to ensure a clean product.


Like a good bear skull, a deer skull is a trophy to be proud of. They seem to command more respect than smaller animal skulls (especially if they’re sporting a great set of antlers). If you want to make a recent deer harvest into a fun and lasting memory, consider getting a European mount whitened the right way.

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