Lots of people have questions about how to properly care for their rug or mount. When it leaves the taxidermy shop it is clean and looks new and bright, at least it better be! And as a piece of art - and important memory - it is important to keep it clean. If you have ANY questions regarding the care of your mount, ask your taxidermist. Below are methods I have found work for me and the mounts I produce.
First of all - hanging any mount in direct sunlight (or even a very bright, window filled room) will result in the gradual fading of the hair/antlers - UV light is not good for fur/hair/horn/antler. Heat from the sun is also not good for taxidermy mounts. It is best to avoid hanging your mount in any direct sunlight.
Second - don't hang your mount directly above or place it near a heat source. Hanging near a fireplace, wood stove, furnace will cause your mount to 'cook' - heat and leather don't go together and eventually you could end up with cracks in the leather/skin of your mount. This is especially true of poorly tanned hides or poor quality mounts, but it is still not good for ANY leather/hide/mount.
Which reminds me - if you have shot a critter and have the tanned hide hanging on the wall until you can 'afford' that mount - don't wait too long! Far better to put that hide directly in a bag in a freezer where it will last for several years as a dry tanned skin. If you leave it hang on the wall or across the banister, it will not be mountable after 3-4 yrs..depending on who tanned it and the care it received in the field.
Back to cleaning....After six months or a year of hanging on a wall, sitting on a table, or decorating the floor of the den that mount is going to collect dust. Hopefully it hasn't been roughly handled by kids (or pets) or visitors. If it has - please take it to your taxidermist for attention.
I like to recommend that folks gently clean their mounts about once a yr - or when they notice dust collecting on the hair/fur/antlers. There are two basic methods that I like for just 'general' cleaning.
First, if you have an air compressor, you can blow off your mount with the air nozzle and pressure set at about 70lb. When you blow off the mount make sure the air is flowing in the same direction of the hair if it is a hollow haired mount - deer, moose, caribou, sheep. If it is a mount that has fur (wolf, bear, lynx, or other furbearer) or wool (goat, bison, muskox) you can blow the hair in any direction to fluff it up.
If you don't have a compressor a vacuum with a hose attachment will work to pick up the dust off the mount. using a small nozzle attachment go over the mount in the direction of the hair. Be careful around the face and don't try to vacuum the eyes, nose, or mouth (or any area that is painted)! Oh, and PLEASE don't use your upright vacuum on your rug! That will ruin the felt and possible the fur on your rug!
After blowing off or vacuuming the mount I like to take some lemon pledge and apply a light coat directly to all parts of the animal EXCEPT the face. Then you can gently wipe the pledge off with a clean cloth - again, this should be done in the same direction of the the hair with any hollow haired animal, but with fur/wool it can be rubbed into the fur in any direction. The pledge will pick up any 'dust' left behind and also condition the hair/fur, adding a nice shine and bringing out the highlights of the hair.
For open mouth mounts it is safe to blow out the mouth of dust - but generally is not a good idea to use anything else to try to clean them out, as you could scratch or mar the finish work. A thorough cleaning of the inside of the mouth is best done by a taxidermist.
Now you can apply pledge to a clean cloth and carefully wipe down the face and head - being careful not to rub the eyes or paint around the eyes/nose/mouth.
Eyes can be cleaned with a q-tip sprayed with windex or water - again be careful not to mar the paint job around the eyes.
Finally you can use a dog grooming brush or slicker brush to comb any 'ruffled' hair. With fur/wool animals a quick blast of the air nozzle at about 50lb will fluff the hair up.
Antlers and horns can be cleaned as well, using a rag with liquid gold furniture polish. This will give the antlers/horns a deeper hue - but it also can make them look shiny, so if you want a 'dull' looking antler/horn, don't use liquid gold, just use a cloth dampened with water.
Hope everyone finds this to be helpful!