Getting the pickle out of hollow forms

I’ve been having a problem when making entirely enclosed hollow
forms. I generally drill two small holes somewhere to let the air/gas
out when soldering. After I’ve finished soldering and pickling some
pickle inevitably remains inside the form. I have tried toasting the
things in my (culinarily retired) toaster oven. Some liquid sputters
out, leaving a crusty bluish rim around the holes, but some liquid
always remains inside too. The same applies to the application of
silver black or liver of sulphur to pierced hollow forms.

Does anyone have a good method of really cleaning these nasty
chemicals out of the insides of things and leaving them dry? Are
ultra-sonic cleaners the answer here?

I was taught to inject a solution of baking soda and water, with a
syringe, into the hollow form after draining out as much pickle as
possible. Another option is to boil the object in baking soda and
water. After rinsing and draining the baking soda/water mixture I
usually try to wick out the remaining moisture with a paper towel
and/or aim an air compressor in one of the hole - this works fairly


You do not need fancy equipment to get the pickle out of hollow
objects. You just need a torch and a dish of water and baking soda.
Heat the object to a relatively low temperature and dunk it into
the dish of water and soda. The object should be hot enough to
sizzle a bit when it enters the water but does not need to reach
annealing temperature. As it cools in the water, the water is sucked
in and neutralizes the pickle. Pick it up in tongs , allow to drain
and put then put the flame on it again. Point any holes away from
yourself as steam will shoot out. Do this a few times. Do not put
back in the water when finished but heat just enough so the steam
comes out.

Marilyn Smith

Hello, The best way to get the pickle out, is not to let it in.
Before pickling jam a toothpick into the holes, this will keep the
pickle out. jena


When I took my first metals class we made hollow forms. Once they
were done pickling, we boiled the piece in a mixture of baking soda
and water to neutralize the acid. Then, your spirit holes can be

Hope this helps!

Hi Carla, I make many hollow forms and I usually boil out the
pickle after soldering. Then I remove the excess water after boiling
with a tiny syringe. That system works very well for me. Give it a
try. Of course, dedicate a pan to the process!!

Grace, Cleveland

You might try disolving baking soda in water and then using a
syringe (available at Rio) to fill the inside of the beads with the
solution to neutralize the pickle. You can use a syringe to take most
of this solution out of the beads as well.


G’day. The only way is to heat the item, put it water, and keep
repeating this until the unwanted liquid is rinsed out, then dry it
well with gentle heat- put it on the hot water tank overnight…

Cheers for now,
JohnB of Mapua, Nelson NZ

Dear Carla,

To neutralize pickle in a hollow object, boil the piece in a water
and baking soda solution. I use a stove-top safe glass bowl
(“Visions” cookware, I believe) on a hot plate in my studio. Use
more than enough water to cover the piece, as some will bowl away,
and sprinkle in enough baking soda to make a saturated solution.
Then, boil for “a while”, making sure bubbles are coming out of the
object and the pickle is being exchanged for the neutralizing
solution. Be sure the water does not boil away and keep your piece
off the intense heat of the coil on the hotplate, or it could

Boiling again in plain water is a good idea too.

Hope this helps.
Munya Avigail Upin

In addition to comments made by others, air cool the hollow object
before you put it in pickle. In a hot object, the air inside is
expanded and as it cools the air contracts and pulls in pickle or
water. If you are annealing, cool the item in water first. I use
dispenser bottles to insert baking soda/water or distilled water to
flush out pickle (Rio Grande has dispenser bottles with tips from
size 18- to 26-gauge). I usually drain two hole beads on paper
towels, but if the object has only one air hole, use an empty
dispenser bottle to push in air to force out water. Also, check the
Archives for additional on “soldering hollow objects.”


Hi there Carla

Right you are about the need to remove/neutralize the pickle/acid
from hollow forms; but I don’t think that your toaster oven will do
the trick alone. My understanding is that just drying it out will
only allow it to later rehydrate/get-wet-again at a later date from a
moist humid atmosphere on a rainy day or from condensation going in
and out of air conditioning and it will be back to pickle juice
again. I believe this will attack your solder joints first. My
recommendation is to make friends with someone in the medical
profession or maybe an insulin dependent diabetic or perhaps a junkie
because what I use is a hypodermic needle and syringe. I inject the
hollow form with a solution of plain old baking soda and tap water.
The ratio of baking soda to water is relatively unimportant as long
as you irrigate to form sufficiently. A good size syringe speeds up
the task; I use a 20 cc or so dependent on the forms size or course,
much larger than the diabetic size. The needle needs to fit into the
hole you drilled; but if the needle is too tiny it takes forever to
irrigate the form and the needle tends to clog up so try the largest
that will fit the tiny holes you drilled. BTW I usually only drill
one hole which I guess gets the job done. Then all you have to do is
dry out the baking soda and water and your toaster oven on low sounds
like a great idea to me. I’m not entirely sure about the liver of
sulphur issue really needing anything more than a quick wash with tap
water just to get rid of the stinky smell. I case you do not know
any junkies, I believe Contenti sells them and they have links at
the top and bottom of this page. I have no relationship with the
company, just a satisfied customer. Off the point there do, I’m
sorry to say, seem to be more and more postings that provide little
or no helpful or constructive and seem to be little more
than thinly veiled advertisements and seem to be merely for
self/business promotion. To those I recommend placing an ad at the
top of this page.

Thanks for listening.
Mark Kaplan
Providence Rhode Island

I deal with this by first boiling work in a dilute solution of water
and baking soda to neutralize the pickle, then clean water. I got a
can of compressed air from my husband, who uses this to remove dust
when he repairs computers. This comes with a tiny nozzel and is
very effective at blowing tiny voids dry. Then I wipe the piece
down again with a damp cloth to remove any external residue. Hope
this helps

Walk in Beauty,
Susannah Ravenswing
Jewelsof the Spirit
Winston-Salem, NC

Hi, get a glue syringe, and use it to “inject” clean water, to flush
out the pickle, etc.


It is, indeed, important to get the pickle out of hollow forms. The
best way I’ve found to do that is to first neutralize the pickle by
placing the hollow form in a fairly concentrated solution of baking
soda and water. You can then place the container in the ultrasonic
for 1/2 hour or so, or can boil it for about an hour. I’ve also been
told that you can microwave it safely as long as the piece remains
under water.

Once the baking soda has thoroughly neutralized the pickle, remove
the piece, rinse thoroughly and repeat the process with plain water.

To dry the piece inside, I place it with the hole-side UP on thick
paper towel and use a hair dryer to thoroughly heat it, then keep it
hot for several minutes. This doesn’t get it hot enough to oxidize,
but does evaporate out the water (you’ll see it bubble up and out).
Additional drying in sawdust or another dessicant might be a good
idea if you feel the piece is still not completely dry.

Have fun!

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs