How to clean shed deer antlers

Written by arthur barnhouse
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How to clean shed deer antlers
Cleaning deer antlers takes time and effort. (James Pauls/iStock/Getty Images)

If you've stumbled across a nice set of deer antlers, left in the woods by a stag that couldn't care less about his misplaced headgear, it's truly a stroke of luck. After all, picking up an antler or two is infinitely easier than hunting one or buying expensive antlers from an antique shop. Once at home, though, your task is still the same. You'll not only need to clean the antlers, you will also need to preserve them so that they retain their natural appearance.

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Things you need

  • Beeswax waterproofing product
  • Large pan
  • Clean rags

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  1. 1

    Moisten your cloth with some warm water and scrub the antlers, removing any layers of dirt and grime that may have accumulated. Don't use soap or bleach, as it may discolour the antlers. For antlers that are extremely dirty, where a simple scrubbing isn't working, you will need to boil them.

  2. 2

    Fill a large pan with warm water and place it on the hob. Put the antlers in the water, ensuring that they are fully submerged. Turn up the heat and allow the antlers to boil for approximately 15 to 30 minutes. This should be enough to loosen any caked-on dirt. Carefully remove the antlers and rub them clean with a cloth.

  3. 3

    Dip a clean cloth into some beeswax waterproofing and evenly spread it over the antlers, gently rubbing the beeswax into the antler in a circular motion. This will help bring out the natural colour of the antlers and protect them from dust or the weather (if you plan to keep them outside).

Tips and warnings

  • If the antlers you've found are still in velvet, you will need to boil them with some soap. Afterwards, remove any remaining strands of velvet. Antlers that were in velvet will appear porous and thus collect dirt more easily. Again, you can use beeswax waterproofing to seal the pores and protect the antlers.

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