How to clean your viking drinking horn

The whole experience of drinking depends on the drink, the company, and the vessel used to drink. Drinking from a Viking horn is a thing of the past, but the glory and memories associated with its past only tempt us more to continue drinking in it. The use of a Viking horn for drinking dates back to the 8th century or even before when Vikings would use them with great pride and honor.

If you have just purchased a Viking horn to celebrate the glories of the past, or have owned one for long, you should know that Viking horns need a lot of care and attention for them to last long. Real horns of animals are used to make these drinking horns, or some use natural products to make them. Regardless of the material used, these drinking horns are precarious to extreme conditions and can wear out easily without proper care. 

To clean a Viking horn is not robot science, but most people may not have much idea on how to clean a drinking Viking horn. The cleaning process of a Viking horn will depend on the kind of horn you have. Most of the Viking horns available online are cured, cleaned, and sealed, so you don’t have to worry much about cleaning them. However, in case you purchased a raw drinking horn, then you need to perform the following steps:

Clean the horn before curing

The raw drinking horn needs to be cured because these horns come with a certain foul odor that can be off-putting. But, before the process of curing, the horn should be thoroughly cleaned. 

Soak the horn in a mixture of hot water and mild dish soap for about an hour. Thereafter, use a soft bottle brush to brush the insides of the horn and remove any residues. Rinse off with warm water and towel dry the horn. 

Cure the horn

To get rid of the smell, prepare a 50:50 mixture of water and alcohol. Soak the horn in the solution for 24 hours. Keep checking in between to add the extra solution in case the level decreases. Rinse the horn after that and towel dry it. 

Seal the horn

If your horn is unsealed, then use a salad bowl finish or beeswax to seal your horn. Doing so will keep your horn safe from any harmful conditions.

As important as it is to clean a Viking horn before use, you also need to make sure that your horn is well cleaned after every use. 

As mentioned earlier, since these horns are made from natural substances, the harsh acids or chemicals found in your drinks will harm the coatings or breakdown the seal of the horn. 

Don’t make the mistake of leaving your drinking horn unwashed overnight with the thought of cleaning it in the morning. Even leaving the remains of your drink in the horn for a few hours can cause permanent, irreversible damage to your horn. Another reminder is never to put your Viking horn inside a dishwasher. You should always hand- wash the horn. 

Follow the simple steps below to clean your Viking horn after use:

  • First, make sure that you drain entirely out any drink left in your horn. 
  • Use lukewarm water to wash the horn. You can even opt to use mild dish soap to clean it. Use a bottle brush to brush the inside and outside gently.
  • Rinse the horn using freshwater. Drain out the excess water, and air dry the horn or pat it dry with a soft cloth. 

By following these simple steps, you can easily preserve your Viking horn for long. Make sure that you don’t use any harsh chemicals to clean the horn as they can harm the surface of the horn. Even though Viking horns come with coatings and seal, carelessly using any cleaning substances can negatively harm these coatings. 

Prevention is better than cure, they say, and in order to safeguard your Viking horn from any damages, in the long run, it is imperative that you know all the tips to keep it safe. Apart from knowing how to clean your Viking horn, you should also be well-acquainted with the things you should and shouldn’t do while using a drinking Viking horn. 

Mentioned below are a few tips you should keep in mind to take care of your drinking Viking horn. 

  • Do not microwave your Viking horn.
  • Avoid using the horn to drink any hot beverage. 
  • Do not store the horn in extreme temperatures. They should be stored in a cool and dry place. 
  • The horn should not be exposed to temperature swings as it can lead to cracking of the horn. 
  • Do not use any hard or sharp objects to clean the horn as they can cause damages and scratches on the surface.
  • Do not use detergents, chemicals, or any harsh solvents to clean the horn. 
  • Always dry your horn with a towel instantly after every wash. Don’t let any drop of water remain in/on it.
  • Keep your horn free from moisture.
  • Avoid the dishwasher at any cost.
  • For sealed horns, gently wash with water and use a soft cloth to dry it after use. 
  • Natural drinking horns should be coated with beeswax periodically. Simply melt beeswax and pour inside the horn and let it dry. Pour out any excess beeswax. Once dried, wash it with clean water and towel dry. 


Using a Viking horn to drink your beverages can enhance your drinking experience altogether. Viking horns are sensitive items and need utmost care during and after use if you want them to last longer. From cleaning it with clean water after every use to periodically coating it with beeswax, Viking horns do need extra care and attention. But, all this routine is worth the experience you feel while drinking in a Viking horn. 

Follow the steps mentioned above to keep your Viking horn clean, and you will be using your Viking horn for a very long time.