Bone Cleaning Tools: What I use and what I use them for


1. Dissection Kit: $20-40 on Amazon. 

You can buy a starting dissection kit online on Amazon. When you buy your kit you should expect a few things. Most likely you will be getting 2-3 different kinds of forceps, 1 scalpel, 2 kinds tweezers, and possibly a few kinds of scissors.

These kits are always handy because they have a nice variety of instruments and a portable carrying case. Unfortunately this neat kit won’t have everything you need so you will most likely expand your collection. I will further explain the tools further along in the post.

2. Latex Gloves: $5-10

Gloves are important! When you are working with messy things you don’t want to have the risk in getting an infection of some sort. Gloves help protect you and your specimen. Our fingers are very oily and the oil will eventually leave stains on the bone.

Now I don’t always use gloves. This is, of course, under my own discretion. If most of the skin and fur is dried up, sometimes wearing gloves can get in the way. Gloves are definitely important, unless there isn’t much of a mess to deal with.

3. Forceps: $3+

Forceps are medical tweezers. There are different sizes and buying various sizes will help you out in the long run. Having different sized forceps will allow you to work more efficiently on different animals. I use forceps to assist me in skin removal and cleaning the small nooks.

4. Sewing Needles $.50-3

Sewing needles also assist in getting into small places. They are precise and sharp making them able to get to all the small places.

5. Disposable Scalpel w/ extra Blades $10+

You can either get a disposable or a replaceable scalpel. I use scalpels to help take off the meat off the bones. Whether you get a fresh kill or you found an animal that had died, a scalpel helps take off the hide, gets the bones off the meat and cut the tendons off the bone. Be very careful when using them. Cool enough there are actually different sizes in blades and shapes. Once again, getting a variety of tools can only help you more.

6. Teeth Cleaning Metal Instruments: $10

Teeth cleaning supplies are the best! They have interesting scraping blades on each end of the tool. I got mine from an online clay tool shop for around 10 dollars. They are easy to be precise with, but I do admit it hurts your fingers a bit. Along the handle of the teeth cleaning tool there is a texture in the metal, that after time is completely uncomfortable. I suggest getting pencil jelly’s so your fingers can rest easy.

7. Toothbrush: $.50

I use a tooth brush to further clean the bone. After I have done my soaks I take my BONE toothbrush and clean the bone in circular motions-as you would with your own teeth. I enjoy cleaning with a toothbrush because I love seeing the before and after of the bone. Since you can get different types of brushes I highly suggest getting 1 hard, 1 medium and 1 soft-once again for different situations.

8. Paint Brushes: $.50+

Paintbrushes are used to gently remove debris, dust and other obstacles. Getting different sized brushes can help you remove from a various amount of animal skulls.

9. Pipe Cleaner: $3

I use a pipe cleaner to help get into the different cavities in the skeleton. After cleaning the bones it is sometimes hard to dry off the liquid in the small holes.

10. Dull Knife: $free!

A  dull knife is easily attainable and easy to use. Just like pealing a pear or an apple, you can use the knife to gently pull back remaining skin with out harming the bone.

11. Serrated Tip Pliers: $4

Pliers with a serrated tip is my personal best friend when it comes to removing meat from the bone. Because it is serrated the plier is able to hold tightly onto the skin as you pull away.

12. Weldbond Glue: $4

I use this glue to glue the teeth back into space. It is a very sturdy glue and doesn’t make a mess. I take an uncooked spaghetti and dip the tip in the glue then into the teeth cavities in the mandible.

13. Plastic Containers: $1+

Bone cleaning w.o plastic containers of any sort is a crisis. I use plastic containers for every part of cleaning. The soaks, the touch ups, the final cleanings. I always have a container of some sort with me when I clean bones.

14. H2O2 Hydrogen Peroxide: $2+

2:2 ratio of water and H.P when cleaning. If you can, I highly suggest getting 6% Hydrogen peroxide. Not only does hydrogen sterilize the bone but it also bleaches it too! NEVER USE BLEACH. It breaks down the calcium in the bone making the bone very brittle.