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What Do I Use for Cleaning Deer Head Mounts?

Penny Porter

Polishing your trophies can be a little unconventional if you are a deer hunter. You must take special care to protect the fur from discoloring, remove dust buildup and prevent pest insects that may damage your deer mounts.

Preserve your deer mounts with proper cleaning and maintenance techniques.

Fortunately, the maintenance required is simple and requires only five minutes per week to keep your deer head mounts looking like new.


Dampen a soft cleaning rag with furniture polish to remove dust and debris from the fur of your deer mount. The oil in the polish will keep fur shiny and prevent drying out the hair follicles. Start at the head of the mount and move toward the tail or mount base. Wipe with the grain of the hair, instead of against it, to prevent loosening hairs and prevent clumps of hair from sticking up unnaturally. Experts at Savage Taxidermy Studio recommend this dusting method once per month. However, if your home is prone to becoming dusty quickly, you may consider dusting once per week instead.


Clean the mount’s glass bead eyes with alcohol or window cleaner. Never spray or pour either solution on the eye, as it may damage the surrounding fur. Instead, wet the end of a cotton swab with the alcohol or window cleaner, and wipe over the eyes to remove dust. Because the surfaces of the eyes are slick and rounded, preventing excess build , cleaning the eyes is not necessary weekly and may wait for monthly cleaning.


To keep the mount’s antlers clean, wipe them down with a damp rag followed by applying a wood cleaner that includes furniture polish. To apply the cleaner and polish, spray or pour it onto a rag and wipe the rag over the antlers. The solution will look shiny when first applied, but it looks natural when dry. If wood cleaner and polish is not available, Savage Taxidermy Studio recommends, apply an oil lubricant (such as WD-40) and wipe excess oil away with a rag.


Additional maintenance practices can help protect deer head mounts from insect damage, hair loss and discoloration. A twice-a-year application of a moth deterrent (such as Protex Mount Care) protects mounts from pest insects such as moths and dermestid beetles that will eat the hide and fur off the mount. In addition, avoid placing mounts in sunny locations of your home or near heat sources; excessive sunlight can bleach the mount’s fur. Smoke from wood, grease and tobacco also causes discoloration of the fur. To prevent this, avoid smoking inside your home if you have deer mounts, and avoid placing mounts near heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.