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Alternative to Liver of Sulphur

I recently read about an alternative to using Liver of Sulphur. I
think it’s baking soda, but I’m not sure. Can someone out there help

Tamara Wright

Liver of Sulphur is an alloy of Sulphur and Sodium. We use to cook
our own by melting together Sulphur and regular salt which is Sodium
Chlorate. Baking soda is Calcium BiCarbonate. Calcium has very
similar chemical properties and can substitute Sodium in some
compounds, but it is not a substitute for Liver of Sulphur. The way
oxidize with baking soda is to combine it with common vinegar and add
some Hydrogen Peroxide. Heated solution will produce similar
coloration on Copper based alloys.

Of course, all precautions of working with chemicals must be

Leonid Surpin

Perhaps you are thinking of Lime Sulphur. You buy it at garden supply


not quite liver of sulphur…you are referring, I think, to sulphated
lime, a different creature all together… and for the record, sodium
bicarbonate = baking soda

salt, table salt = sodium chloride

calcium chloride is an enitely different salt/compound, derrived
from lime,and commonly used to melt snow, or salt roads in winter.It
corrodes steel when it is present in a space ( generally as a dust
that is tracked in, or near agricultural operations) and reacts with
humidity drawn from ambient room air.

sodium chlorate is a very nasty herbicide, and is highly corrosive,
and a major health hazard as it destroys mucous membranes on contacy
with the vapours from heating it!..It is also highly explosive when
combined with sulphur or any organic ingredients and should be
avoided in the home and home studio!..

Baking soda has a lot of uses in metal work, but not oxidizing. A
good alternative to LOS is lime sulphur. It is less expensive and is
available as a fungicide solution sold at garden supply shops. Mix
about one teaspoon to a cup of hot water and you are in business. My
favorite oxidizer is Win-Ox. Bob Winston made it for many years and
I think his family still produces it. The only place I know that
still stocks it is Thunderbird Supply in Gallup.

Its In The Works Studio

Liver of Sulphur is an alloy of Sulphur and Sodium. 

Sorry; non metals or metal salts do not form alloys; they form
compounds. Liver of Sulphur is potassium polysulphide, and the sodium
compound works just as well for blackening silver or copper. Another
choice is calcium polysulphide which is sold in gardening shops as
lime-sulphur for fungus treatment of plants It will react with, and
blacken silver and is much cheaper and easier to get, and works just
as well

We use to cook our own by melting together Sulphur and regular salt
which is Sodium Chlorate. 

Regular or table salt is Sodium chlo_ride_ Heating sodium chlor_ate_
and sulphur would result in a powerful explosion! Beloved of
schoolboys a mixture of sodium or potassium, chlorate plus a little
sugar, is called white gunpowder and is a much more powerful
explosive than gunpowder, Just by grinding the compounds together may
well lose you a hand and mess up your face! I KNOW!!!

Cheers for now,
JohnB of NZ

Term Liver of Sulphur comes from the time of Alchemy when sulphur
was considered a metal; so the terminology in this particular case is
appropriate. If you do not like term alloy, then term liver should
not be used as well.

To make a gun power you need Potassium Nitrate, not Potassium
Chlorate; addition of sugar will not do anything, you need charcoal
for that.

To make LIver of Sulphur using Potassium is not advisable, because
while it will blacken the silver, it is to strong to allow shading
and it is to active to store for reasonable period of time. That is
why in practical world we using sodium.

About salt exploding while melted with sulphur, you may get some
cracking noise which is hardly an explosion, but technique is
important of course. It is the same like combining acid and water,
one way it will get just warm, and another way it will explode.

And the last point, I am sure there are people who can manage a great
deal of harm to themselves just by trying to boil some water. It is
always assumed that basic familiarity of working with chemical is
present, otherwise even the elementary procedure can prove

This little tidbit for kicks!!! We boiled two eggs—more if you
need the larger quantity. While still hot, remove the cooked yolks,
smash them in a container (Plastic with lid) and put your silver
item/items in the container. Close the lid and shake it all - the
silver will show oxidation. (You might reheat the yolks in the
microwave (no metal) to rewarm them and repeat the shaking.) We did
this with PMC. Gave great results - good old sulfur!!!

In another instance my sterling ring turned dark the other day as I
was dicing a cooled boiled egg in my hand to put in a salad (for my
consumption). I am careful about cleanliness - thus I don’t feel it
was unsanitary to do this!!! In case I get comments!!!