I know liver of sulfur is supposed to be kept in a dry container as
air tight as possible but I cannot seem to keep it from losing its
potency or drying up & sometimes going rock solid, even after just a
few months of storage. I use the semi-crystalline solid. Does anyone
have any tricks on how to prolong its life or resuscitate it? I use
it seldom, try to get small amounts but every time I need it, it
seems it’s lost all it’s usefulness.
I know liver of sulfur is supposed to be kept in a dry container as
I know liver of sulfur is supposed to be kept in a dry container as air tight as possible but I cannot seem to keep it from losing its potency
Ditch it and switch to the new liver of sulfur gel sold by CoolTools
and Grobet. It’s WAY better than LOS lumps–you can leave it open
for a year and it won’t go bad. You can either brush it onto the
straight from the jar, or dilute it in warm water and dip the pieces.
I’ll never use old-fashioned LOS again.
Art Clay World, USA carries a liver of sulfur gel that has no shelf
life. It stays potent forever, and can be used full strength at room
temperature, or diluted in hot water. artclayworld.com.
I get mine from Rio, comes in little chunks in a metal can, I’ve had
the can for years, still works great. I just close it up tightly
after getting any out.
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
Does anyone have any tricks on how to prolong its life or resuscitate [LOS]?
I wonder if storing it with those gel sachets (“DO NOT EAT!!!”) that
fall out of vitamins and practically everything else we buy would
One way to prolong the life of mixed Liver of Sulfur is to keep it
in a very DARK bottle. By dark, I mean like a peroxide bottle. Then I
sore that mixture in a dark cabinet. But once it’s mixed, even in
peroxide bottles, it does not survive long. When I purchase mine in
crystallized form it comes in a very tightly sealed black container.
The liver of sulfur is sensitive to both light and air, so I save all
my peroxide bottles, mix it in there, and I can usually get a couple
months out of it. Once it stops giving me good patina, I mix a new
Hope this helps
Beverly; I assume you live some place where it is humid.When I lived
in the east my L of S would go bad all the time. Now that I live in
Arizona it keeps much longer. My suggestion is to get it out of the
can and put it in some type of airtight container such as a canning
jar. You could also try putting a silica packet in to absorb the
moisture although I haven’t actually tried it but it makes sense as
it is most likely moisture that is causing it to go bad.
LOS is pretty darned susceptible to small amounts of moisture in the
parent storage container. A tiny droplet of water inadvertently
transferred from a pair of tweezers or introduced by any other error
will wipe out an entire container in a matter of a day or two. The
next time the container is opened gray powdery skeletons greet you
rather than lumps of active LOS.
I put a few lumps in a tightly sealed “working” container. The
mother lode in the parent container stays safe; only the working
container is used in the mixing area around water.
All the best,
Art Clay World, USA carries a liver of sulfur gel that has no shelf life. It stays potent forever, and can be used full strength at room temperature, or diluted in hot water. artclayworld.com.
I’ll second that. The gel form is new (this year), and is advertised
as having a much better shelf life. It’s available at many of the
jewelry tools suppliers, though not yet in most catalogs (since it’s
new). Frei and Borel has it, so does Allcraft, and I’d assume Rio,
Gesswein, and the others have it too. The smaller sized jar in
particular (which likely will still be enough to last many people for
years) is a lot cheaper than the usual sized can of the liver of
sulphur chunks. And being already in gel/liquid form, it’s quicker
and easier to use. Mixes in water quickly without needing to be
heated if you want more dilute than the full strength gel (which is
probably stronger than you want, and less useful for dipping a whole
piece.) Even the mixed solutions seem to last a bit longer than mixed
solutions of the chunk variety of LOS.
For me, despite being careful to close the cans well, no matter what
I do, they always end up degrading in a couple years. Even brand new,
never opened cans have turned out useless after a few years storage.
How long the stuff lasts may be related to the humidity levels of
where you live. Don’t know. But here in Seattle at least, and prior
to that, in Detroit, the usual form of LOS does not have a good shelf
life no matter what I’ve tried. Paying twenty five bucks (or
thereabouts) for a can of the stuff and ending up getting use out of
only ten percent of the can before it’s degraded is annoying to say
the least. Keeping the chunks as large as possible helps because they
degrade from the outside in, and an older container that’s mostly
worthless may still have some larger chunks which, when split, will
still have a bit of the active dark brown LOS in the middle. The
outer light green degraded material does not interfere with the
action of the solution you mix, if there was still some of the dark
brown material in there, but the latter is the only part of the
chemical that’s doing the work.
So thanks to the developers of the Gel form. Let’s hope the shelf
life is as good as they claim it will be.
I put a few lumps in a tightly sealed "working" container. The mother lode in the parent container stays safe. only the working container is used in the mixing area around water.
I do the same, however I put most in a zip lock bag in an airtight
container separate from a small amount just in a airtight and light
proof container. And I am in a very dry climate, but as stated, if
not well protected, a whole batch goes bad quickly with any slight
Richard Hart G.G.
Or use a device like a foodsaver to vacuum seal the solid los
My suggestion is to get it out of the can and put it in some type of airtight container such as a canning jar.
Also ref the desiccant packages some people are mentioning adding in
with the LOS to absorb moisture. Often they can be useless or worse
release moisture if they are not fully dried before being put in
with the package.
Say someone in Seattle has a container they toss the packets into as
they arrive then a month later they go to use them after they have
spent the time soaking up humidity out of the air. It would be worse
than not adding them.
I assume you live some place where it is humid.When I lived in the east my L of S would go bad all the time. Now that I live in Arizona it keeps much longer. My suggestion is to get it out of the can
I live in SC (humidity central!), and my studio is under my house,
so humid I keep a dehumidifier running around the clock. I keep my
LOS in the can it came in from Rio, make sure it is tightly closed
each time, and I have it had for years. Still good. So I would
question the can as the issue, unless it has developed holes, or the
lid isn’t closing securely.
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
I live in the Washington, D.C. area and it’s humid here. I had no
problem with my LoS when I lived in Wyoming where it’s very dry, it
would last for around 18 months. Here, I make sure it’s tightly
closed, then I put it in a small zip lock bag in the original
container and put one of those silica packs (2" x 2") on top of the
container, squeeze the air out of the bagand close. My current can
is a year old and going strong.
Donna in VA
The lumps I have are inherited… and somewhat old (1979 vintage).
It has been stored for years and as I mix new batches it is just as
strong as ever.
I use the approach mentioned of having my “working LOS” in a
separate container… in fact, that is the system I inherited. The
parent LOS being super protected…The parent container is inside a
wooden box with a bunch of those little packets of desicant around
it. I change those every now and again with fresh ones from vitamin
and other Rx bottles and as shipped with electronics and computer
parts. My “working LOS” container is a nice shallow mason jar-type
thing (the top is one piece instead of two with a thick rubber
In casting, the investment is likewise SUPER sensitive to
water…even a drop can ruin a whole 100lb canister. So, this is
I have noticed, as also mentioned, that after mixing up a batch in
water its shelf life is numbered. I use a single batch for about a
week to two weeks before I notice a diminished effect. Mine is
stored in an old glass photography Developer bottle (since developer
is also light-sensitive it has very dark brown tint).
So far the system is still working well and I have gotten lots of
use from my current parent LOS.
When I do eventually run out I’ll have to try the gel. I imagine
that there is a reaction with the water that causes the shelf life
issue (rate of formation might be influenced by reducing the
temperature as via standard chemistry, I’d think). I’ll bet they have
a more inert suspension with the gel making its shelf life quite
good…but I’d have to think that the RAW LOS is still going to have
the better shelf life… if stored correctly. As a gel it just seems
more easy to accidently get water into it and have at least a portion
of the gel product go bad. Maybe not. But, it seems to me that it
still depends on good storage and handling.
Experimentation might be fun! I think I’ll get some gel to see.
Thanks for the idea!
I’ve had a bottle of Oxidising Solution that I bought from
Cooksongold.com years ago (when it was still called Exchange
Findings) and it is still good. It is a liver of sulphate solution
in an ordinary plastic bottle. I keep it closed tight and wrapped in
another strong plastic bag at the back of my chemicals cupboard but
it stays good even though my work place is often very damp. (I have
to keep everything greased and wrapped and put in plastic boxes with
silica gel bags etc - a right pain but hey - we do what is
necessary). Cooksons still sell this stuff. The product number is
998 161 it is described as ammonium hydro-sulphide 500ml for UKP
9.50. I certainly wouldn’t bother with the hard stuff that we used at
college any more.
Thanks, Peter for your very informative comment. I’m going to try
the gel and hope it goes through the same color changes as the lumps.
Yesterday, based on what you said about how the lumps degrade, I
smashed some with a hammer and dumped that in and had some success.
I always appreciate your Orchid responses because they are informed
and detailed. There are certain names that I always open when they
appear among the list of responders and yours is one of them. Thanks
for all of that.