The method of the invention can be used to unhair, dewool, or debristle animal hides and skins generally. To carry out the method, the cured skins are first thoroughly soaked. Thorough soaking is an absolute necessity if the method of the invention is to be fully effective. Dried hides and skins are soaked overnight while salted hides and skins are advantageously soaked enzymatically for from 4 to 6 hours. The soak liquor is usually discarded after the soak.