I have been using Zam to polish sterling silver. It works very well,
but I am having trouble removing the black residue that gets caught
up in tight spots. I have tried Dawn in warm water and a toothbrush
but it is time consuming to get the pieces clean. Can anyone suggest
an alternative method to clean the residue off?
Thanks, Richard Milazzo
I have a formula that I put together…it not only cleans the gunk
off the silver, but if you put it in your hand and suds it around
with your fingers, it cleans them too…that is if you haven’t worn
gloves! Responds with gentle scrubbing using a soft tooth brush,
also. I find that the build up of the black gunk inhibits
polishing… as I am polishing, I keep a soft cloth handy to remove
the build up… seems to help.
Formula: 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon Dawn or Palmolive liquid dish soap
(I don’t recommend Ivory) and 1 tablespoon of Ammonia. Put it in any
squeeze bottle and it’s just a squirt away! Label the bottle so
someone won’t use it for dish detergent!
Works all the time. You get used to the ammonia…Dawn smells good!
Rose Marie Christison
I use household ammonia from the grocery store and an ultrasonic and
have never considered using anything else. I have seen vibrating
footbaths used in place of an ultrasonic. The base of polish is wax
and it is tough to get off. I bet you are having fits. I clean my
hands using the ammonia which is do dilute in water even to clean
polish off. I probably use 1 to 4 ratio.
Try Gemoro ultrasonic cleaner.
Try Simple Green household product (in concentrated strength). You
can heat some up in the microwave and soak it, but I’ve found a
steam cleaner gets out the tough spots much better that scrubbing
with a toothbrush. There are some small, inexpensive units out there.
I make a home brew of liquid detergent, simple green and ammonia.
Works like a charm in getting rid of polishing compounds. I just use
a soft toothbrush which gets into all the nooks and crannies.
I have been using Zam to polish sterling silver. It works very
well, but I am having trouble removing the black residue that gets
caught up in tight spots. I have tried Dawn in warm water and a
toothbrush but it is time consuming to get the pieces clean. Can
anyone suggest an alternative method to clean the residue off?
For almost 30 years I used ammonia water in my ultrasonic cleaner, in
spite of objections from customers. (It stinks!) One day I ran out
and was unable to go and buy more so I used what I had available to
me: ZEP commercial heavy duty Floor Stripper Concentrate. It works
oh so well! It’s truly amazing. I tested it by dropping a pearl in a
small beaker of ZEP straight, and soaked it for a month (no
ultrasonic) and it came out clean with no ill effects. I use it
exclusively now and never have to smell ammonia again (assuming I
empty the litterbox…)
I was introduced to BCR (Oakite industries) when I attended the JMA
program @ GIA back in the early 80’s. Frankly, I wouldn’t trade it
for anything. Rio has a product they are calling BCR, but it is not
Oakite BCR. Big differences. If you are interested, I can give you
the name of my sales rep & they may ship out a gallon for you to try
out. Just a thought.
Don Rand Designs
That is a good fix! The detergent will loosen any grease and the
ammonia will break down a wax base carrier. Heat and an ultra sound
Re the build up of polish residue consider the following. I don’t
know if you are talking about the simple black residue around/under
embellishments or over broader areas such as a back plate, etc. If
the former, by all means try the formulas provided in the various
posts. If, however, you mean the latter read on.
While this may not apply to all types of polish, I.e. it depends a
lot on if you are using first cut (tripoli or bobbing) or second cut
etc. The point is, if you are getting build up either you are not
using a high enough motor speed and/or not enough pressure. You may
have also over loaded the buff with compound. The build up, which I
call ‘keep’ creates a layer over parts of your piece being polished
and ‘little or no polishing action takes place below it’. It is a
barrier between the buff and the metal. To remove it, increase motor
speed (if possible) and/or apply quick firm pressure against the
polishing wheel in the areas where the keep has built up. The wheel
will easily remove it. You may also want to consider raking the wheel
to remove the extra compound. Hope this helps. Cheers from Don in
Richard, I haven’t followed this thread closely, but just in case
this idea wasn’t mentioned, you might want to consider this idea. I
keep a Qt. Corning Ware dish on a single electric burner hotplate on
one of my benches as a boil-out pot. I use a bit of the cleaning
formula that Alma Rands mentioned (detergent + Simple Green+ Ammonia)
in a bit of water and bring it up to hot (not boiling) and put my
piece in it. After it loosens the residue, I take it out and gently
brush it with a very soft old toothbrush… I’m very conservative
with my polishing compound on my buffs, so I don’t have this problem
arise very often, but it does happen to us all.
Hope this helps,
I was introduced to BCR (Oakite industries) when I attended the
JMA program @ GIA back in the early 80's. Frankly, I wouldn't trade
it for anything.
Ill second the vote for Oakite BCR, great stuff.
James Binnion Metal Arts