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Hello Everyone,

I recently changed my pickle to Citri-Pickle for a safer pickle to
use during my pregnancy. I know it is supposed to work slower than
regular pickle, but it seems to be taking a really long time. Does
anyone have experience using this pickle, and if so, do you have any
tricks you wish to share? Thanks so much.

-Tavia Brown
Charlottesville, VA

With Citri-Pickle you must heat it to get it to work. I tried it
once and the results were almost as good as Sparex but not quite the
same. I found the sticky goo that built up on my pickle tongs the
most annoying trait of Citri-Pickle.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hello Tavia,

You must heat the citric acid pickle for any kind of speed. I use a
coffee mug on a coffee mug warmer. If you want to heat it quickly,
use the microwave before placing on the warmer. Works for me,

Judy in Kansas


I noticed this stream a while ago but didn’t pay close attention.
Now I’m wondering were to get it. One of the jewelers at the shop
has a persistent cough and I was thinking that it might be an
allergy to the sparex we use. Thanks in advance.

Robert L. Martin
since 1976

another thing about citrus pickle is that you must use very high
ratios of citrus to water, we use a small beaker in an ultrasound
and use close to 1.5 cups of citrus acid. takes a while to
dissolve, but it works as fast as sparex in my humble opinion


another thing about citrus pickle is that you must use very high
ratios of citrus to water .... 

Hello ringdoc,

I don’t know the chemistry behind it but my experience is quite
different. I currently use 400ml of distilled water with 40ml of
citric acid crystals. Yup, that’s 10:1 and I can’t say that it works
any better or faster if you up the concentration, at least not in my
experience. I use the pickle at about 75 or 80 degrees C. The average
pickle time is 2-4 minutes, maybe as much as twice that if there’s
really heavy scale or soldering slag.

For those who might be interested I’ve compiled my notes on using
citric acid pickle into a web page at

Trevor F.

    Now I'm wondering were to get it. 

Hello Robert,

It may seem a bit odd but you can get citric acid crystals at almost
any ethnic grocery store. I currently get it at an East Indian
market for about $4 per 400 grams. I’ve also seen it at Asian and
Kosher shops. Sometimes it’s called “sour salt”.

I’ve shopped around on the web a bit and it looks like you can get it
for less than 1/2 the price quoted above if you buy from a chemical
supply site such as I know I’ve seen even better
prices on the web (as in around $15 for a 5 gallon pail) but I can’t
recall the particular site at the moment.

Trevor F.

Just one word of caution about the proportion of water to citrus
pickle. Thinking I could speed up the process of pickling, I added
much too much of the citric acid. It did a speedy and great job of
cleaning my silver, but the next day, when I went to use the pickle,
I found that it had solidified into a solid mass at the bottom of
my pickling container and had cracked the ceramic insert of the crock
pot which I use for pickling. What an unpleasant surprise. One
nice crock pot totally ruined. So, watch that citric acid/water
ratio when using a crock pot. Wish I could join you all in Tucson.
Not possible this year—maybe next. Have a wonderful time all of


Hi Robert

Otto-Frei Company offers Citri Pickle in a 2 1/2 lbs Jar that makes 1
gallon (cat #145.143 @ $4.95), Tel. (800) 772-3456. This is a
reputable company located in Oakland California and they are
supplying my tooling needs while I attend the Revere Academy.

Citri pickle is advertised as having no reaction to steel which
would cause copper plating.

David L. Smith

Citric acid sources:,; and there are others out there if you look

I have been using a wonderful biodegradable pickle product…I
think it is called black magic. It works fairly well!

julia potts
julia potts designs

The pickle maybe biodegradable, but if the residue is the blue/green
of copper oxide, the copper oxide is somewhat toxic to most
organisms. I’ve understood that a quart or so of spent pickle can
"kill" a private household type septic system. So unless you first
precipitate out the copper oxide somehow, the “biodegradability” is
to me suspect?

Yes, the citric acid I use, in it’s un-used state, is a food grade
acid, a prominent ingredient to many soft drinks, candies and some
baby foods. Once “contaminated” with copper oxide, bad stuff,
dispose carefully, but it is effective and not as environmentally
reactive as sulfuric acid and it’s derivatives.

Yes, by the way I was taught to mix it, at room temp it doesn’t
dissolve fully till heated then it should stay in solution, so it’s
not quite a super saturated solution, just in the neighborhood.

QUESTIONS: Is there a litmus or hydrometer test “standard” for
Citric? or for Sulfuric for that matter? And would some standard
bench mark indicate when the pickle is fully used, other than color

Hoping my comments and questions help others as well,

Where did you obtain this pickle