The Proper Way on How to Clean Deer Antlers

One of the popular types of hunting would be deer antler sheds. There are various ways you can get deer antlers, and they can be quite rewarding since you can sell it or have it displayed in your home with pride! But before that, you’ll need to make sure that you clean and maintain the antlers well, so you have a better-looking display. What if you don’t know how to clean deer antlers, though? It isn’t just about wiping them down!

To help you out, read on as I show you how to clean deer antlers the correct way and other tips to maintain its shine!

Where Do You Get Deer Antlers?

Before getting into how to clean deer antlers, where do you obtain them anyway?

What some people don’t know is that deer shed their antlers once a year, with the season depending on the area they are in. That’s why many hunters hunt for antlers or those who happen to stumble across those that were recently shed and left behind.

where do you get deer antlers

Deer shed their antlers in a matter of days, with the process taking about three weeks. They soon grow new ones over the summer, which takes about three to four months. Age will also play a huge role here, since the process may change as the deer grows older.

The reason why deer shed their antlers is that of their testosterone levels dropping, which weakens the connection between its antlers and body. Rubbing it on the trees is also a factor of their antlers falling.

The whole antler shedding process does NOT harm the deer unless it was forced out from a hunter or predator.

How to Clean Deer Antlers

It’s important to know how to clean deer antlers because it will help retain its beauty and lengthen its lifespan. What many also don’t know about is the process of cleaning the antlers, as there are specific products that can help keep its good looks.

All hunters and collectors should be aware of the proper way of keeping their deer antlers clean so as to improve its worth and have it look great when displayed on their property.

Prepare the following materials when cleaning your deer antlers:

  • Deer antlers
  • Hacksaw
  • Clamp (optional)
  • Wire brush
  • Pot of water
  • Salt and/or bleach/hydrogen peroxide (optional)
  • Fire pit or stovetop
  • Prongs
  • Cloth
  • Nonabrasive soap
  • Damp and dry towel
  • Mount or wire ( for display)

You can follow these steps when cleaning deer antlers:

Step 1: Remove the Antlers from the Skull

If you hunted for deer or purchased a whole deer head, then you should remove the antlers properly by sawing it. Use a hacksaw and target it against the antlers where it meets the skull.

Saw the antlers off, but make sure you hold on to the head, so it won’t move and ruin the evenness of your cut. You might want to use a clamp to hold the skull, making this step easier.

If you found the deer antlers or purchased them separately, then proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Scrub Antlers

wire brush

Get a wire brush to remove organic material. Clean all parts of the antler efficiently, focusing on the skull cap that meets with the antlers. Concentrate on that area since this is where hair and tissues are.

Wire brushes are better than harder scrubs as they can remove any material without it being too forceful on the antlers.

Step 3: Boil Antlers

Fill a pot with water (make sure it can fit the ENTIRE a pair of antlers) and let it sit in a fire pit or stove outside your home. When it reaches its boiling point, submerge the antlers in the pot and leave it for half an hour. Be sure to boil the antlers outside, as it would create a pungent odor.

You can add a pinch of salt for even ether results. To lighten the antlers’ color, soak it with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Only use two tablespoons of bleach or only 40% of hydrogen peroxide. If you do use bleach or hydrogen peroxide, use safety gloves and rinse the antlers properly after.

Boiling the antlers will help remove any form of dangerous bacteria found in the antlers. If you don’t have a pot big enough, then you can use prongs to force the antlers underwater, or you can adjust it now and then to boil them evenly.

Step 4: Remove Antlers from Water

Take the antlers out of the pot using your prongs. Don’t worry about the antlers softening up, as they will harden and return to its normal state after a few minutes.

Let it dry for a few hours. You can air dry them, but don’t leave it out under the sun for longer than 24 hours, as the sun would erode the antlers’ color. Avoid drying them using heaters, air conditioners, or places with excess humidity.

Step 5: Wash Antlers

Once the antlers are dry, you can now disinfect it with water and soap. Be sure not to add too much water on the cloth. The cloth should be damp enough, but not soaking wet. Squeeze it before wiping the antlers down. Too much water would damage it.

When wiping the antlers, use non-abrasive soap. Avoid using any bleach or products that contain the ingredient. Regular bleaching of your antlers would result in more damage. You can use a wood cleaning or polishing product.

Step 6: Scrub Antlers


Using a towel, rub the antlers until all the dust and other materials are removed. Avoid over scrubbing the antlers, just enough to remove any form of dust and dirt.

Step 7: Dry Antlers

After you have wiped and scrubbed the antlers, dry it with a new dry towel, wiping away moisture or any other wet areas. If it’s still slightly damp or wet, then that’s fine.

Step 8: Display the Antlers

display the antlers

Once you’re done, you can now display the antlers! They look great now on white walls, keeping a rustic look. You can hang them on plain walls and tie it up with copper wire, or use a mount. It’s best to hang the antlers using a screw and not a nail for strength.

And you can now display your deer antlers in your home or sell it quickly! The cleaning process only takes a day or so because of the drying time. But, you can do it yourself without the need for an extra set of hands.

You are only required to boil the deer antlers if you have just acquired them, as it removes all grime and bacteria the deer may have touched with it. You’ll need to wipe and scrub the antlers regularly, though. At least once every few weeks is good enough. Be sure to clean and scrub your antlers to retain its look regularly.

See also:

In Conclusion

When hunting, you might come across deer antlers, which make an excellent display in your home, or even for selling. Keeping them clean and looking shiny will improve its worth and make it the perfect addition to the hunter’s home. That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to clean deer antlers and maintain its shine.

I hope that this article helps you learn about the right way on how to clean deer antlers. Now that you know what to do, why not give your home more of a design and get a pair of antlers today?

Do you have any queries or want to share your tips on cleaning deer antlers? Then comment down below. All your comments will be greatly appreciated.

3 thoughts on “The Proper Way on How to Clean Deer Antlers”

  1. I just got a set of alters from a vintage fair and they are green in places from bring outside. I have washed them with soap and water but they are still green. I am soaking them in oxyclean in hopes it helps. It maybe an over night process. Any suggestions? I don’t want them bright white and may never get that but I wonder if bleach or peroxide is the way to go.

    • You can try soaking them in Oxyclean but avoid using bleach or perozide, which can affect the quality and strength of the antlers. Try a stronger soap that contains a small amount of bleach or whitening properties.

    • Nothing works, I have tried everything from hydrogen peroxide to the boiling water and using a wire brush. The only thing that will clean them is sanding them down with a very fine sand paper


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