what melts flesh but not bone?

2 years ago, for artistic purposes, I acquired 2 pigs heads from a slaughterhouse. To clean them down to the skull I first boiled them and then cut the flesh off.To remove their brains I used a high power hose and a knife. Having to do this unpleasant experience again soon I wonder, Is there a readily available and fairly cheap acid or chemical that dissolves skin, flesh and internal organs but not bone? Alternative solutions would also be appreciated.


Unless you need the skull in a hurry, I would rely on the fact that the soft tissues are highly biodegradable. Let nature do the work for you.

I say again: Yech.

A few years ago I read a magazine article about a woman who specializes in roadkill art. After picking up the possum or whatever it was from the middle of the highway, she’d cart it over to a local cave and let the cave beetles pick it clean overnight. It just took one day for them to do their work, according to this article.

you could try maggots

I used to prepare skeletons as a hobby when I was a kid. The standard way according to the texts, and also the most effective, is to remove as much of the flesh as possible with a knife while fresh, then simmer the skull in a solution of washing soda for some hours. This should remove 99% of the flesh. Yes the brains are a bit of a problem and may require removal with a garden hose after the boiing has loosened them up.
The skull is then smeared all over with a paste made of bleach powder and water and left to sit for about a day before thorough rinsing.
Comes out snow white, odourless and quite clean.

Or you could try bugs

Washing soda (BTW) is made by Arm & Hammer and is found in the detergent aisle next to the other forgotten laundry products such as Fels-Naptha and bluing. After you’re done boiling pig heads, you can use the rest to make homemade laundry detergent that is cheap as hell. (I’m cheap, so sue me.)


would make a hilarious sig line, lol.

Simmer your skulls in Borax and water.

Didn’t they use lye in the olden days to clean cow skins of all flesh and fat before manufacturing it into leather?

Thought I read that somewhere…

My, what an interesting childhood you must of had.

I remember watching an episode of Autopsy on HBO (love that show). A medical examiner used a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide to remove tissue from a partial skeleton.

When I performed a search on google.com, I found this site. I hope it helps. If not, maybe you can call your local Medical Examiner’s office and ask what the ratio of water to peroxide should be.