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How to Remove Hog Hair

| Updated August 11, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • 55-gallon metal barrel cut in half for a scalding vat and a heating vat

  • Hot water

  • Thermometer

  • Sharp scraper, razor or knife


  • At higher temperatures, keep the carcass in motion and pull it from the scalding water several times. Over-scalding cooks the skin and tightens it around the hair, making it hard to remove.


  • In the hard-hair winter season, add one-fourth cup rosin or other alkaline material to the scalding water to help remove scruff and yield a whiter skin.

    On the farm, begin with water that’s 155 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and add cool water to adjust the temperature.

    Scrape the hot carcass as quickly as you can. As the skin cools, it becomes harder to scrape.

    Cover difficult patches of hair and scruff with a burlap bag, and pour hot water over it. Let the tough area steam for a few minutes.

    To make scraping easier, move the legs or head to stretch the skin. This smoothes the skin and makes it and easier for your blade to cut the hair.

    If you’re using a scraper and you’ve got most of the hair removed, pour more hot water over the carcass and scrape in circles. This helps remove the remaining hair, scruff and dirt.

    If you can’t get all the hair with a scraper, use a knife or razor.

    If you’re working with hard water, you can add a cup of laundry detergent to help remove grease and dirt.

    If the hog has coarse hair, you can add a few handfuls of sawdust to help you grip the carcass.

    Some people use a small propane torch to burn hair that’s hard to get at with a scraper or knife, but you risk burning the skin.

The classic way to remove hair from a hog is to scald the carcass in hot water and scrape the hair off with a scraper, razor or sharp knife. Traditional scalding and scraping a hog's skin remains the method of choice, but there are issues involved. Paying attention to details and lessons learned by hunters, butchers and slaughterhouses over the years can make your job easier.

Bury the scalding barrel in the ground at a slight angle to make it easier to get the hog in and out of the hot water. If the angle is too flat, the barrel won’t hold enough water to cover the hog.

Heat the water in the other barrel to about 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, it will take three to six minutes of scalding to remove the scruff (the oil, dirt and outer layer of the skin) and loosen the hair. Winter hair is harder to remove and requires temperatures of 146 to 150 degrees.

When the water is nearly ready, kill and bleed the hog.

Place the hog head-first into the scalding barrel.

Rotate the hog in the barrel. Remove it from the water occasionally. Check the hair often to see if you can pull it out easily. The hair will first be ready on the sides and back of the hog, followed by the flanks.

When you can pull the hair easily from the flanks behind the shoulders, remove the hog.

Place hog’s rear in the scalding water.

While the rear of the hog is scalding, insert the top of a hook into the toenails and dew claws of the front feet. Pull to remove the toenails and dew claws.

Use your scraper, knife or razor to scrape the head. Pay attention to the ears and snout.

When you can pull the hair from the rear flanks, remove the hog from the water.

Use the hook to pull the toe nails and dew claws from the rear legs.

Pull the hair from the tail and scrape the rear legs.

Scrape the feet and other difficult areas, then move to the easier back and sides of the hog.