Soaking of hides and skins

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General description

Soaking is carried out to allow hides and skins to reabsorb any water which may have been lost after flaying, in the curing process, or during transport. Soaking also cleans the hides and skins (removal of dung, blood, dirt, etc.) and removes interfibrillary material. The soaking methods used depend on the state of the hides. The process is mostly carried out in two steps: a dirt soak to remove the salt and dirt, and a main soak. The duration of soaking can range from several hours to a few days. Putrefying bacteria can thrive during soaking and biocides may be added to curtail their activity. Depending on the type of raw materials being soaked, other additives may be used, such as surfactants and enzyme preparations.

Typical process parameters

Process Temperature [°C] Heat transfer medium Residence time Details Literature
Soaking 28 °C water and chemicals continious BASF. (2007). Pocket book for the leather technologist (4. Auflage).

Source: Joint Research Centre, Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document for the Tanning of Hides and Skins, 2013

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