Embalming is a common practice for people who pass away. Family members may want to preserve the body long enough for a wake, or religious beliefs may call for the process to take place. Here’s a look at how the process works and how long it takes for an embalmed body to decompose.
Embalming A Corpse
The first step to embalm a corpse is to clean it. Many morticians clean the eyes, nose and mouth first, since those areas decay easily. Next, rigor mortis has to be stopped, which is the stiffening of the corpse shortly after death. Once those two things are done, the mouth is closed. Next comes the draining of the blood and filling the arteries with formaldehyde. The same has to be done for the internal organs as well. The final task is to trim the hair and cover the person with makeup to hide any bruises or other unsightly marks.
How Long It Takes
The length of time embalming will last depends on how well the job was done, how the person was buried, and the conditions of the area where the person was buried. Corpses in mausoleums tend to decompose faster because more heat reaches the corpse. A body buried deep underground may not decompose for some time. In fact, there have seen some instances where bodies have been exhumed as much as 5 years after being buried and were still in decent shape.
Embalming is a common practice that is used if there is going to be some sort of viewing ceremony, or if a corpse has to travel by plane. It is also very customary in some cultures to embalm a body.
So how long does the body take to decompose?
Overall, how long it takes an embalmed body to decompose depends on where it’s buried, how it’s buried, and how good a job the embalmer did.