Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Pickling plated metal


I have to solder some gold plated stainless steel pieces and I was
wondering what do I do about pickling? Can you pickle plated metal or
does pickling remove the plating?

I apologize for asking such beginner’s questions!

Thank you,


this is a tricky one, while I have never done this, I do work with
stainless. I would worry about the plating dissapearing or doing
other weird things when soldering. Avoid hard solder for sure,
probably medium as well and avoid heating it for very long. You
shouldn’t have to pickle at all for the first soldering operation,
but your piece should be clean and grease free so your flux can
stick. I don’t rely much on pickle but instead sand things clean
whenever I can, but you can’t do that because of the plating. If you
have access to an ultrasonic and steamer that should get it clean
enough to start.

Actually stainless steel is okay in the pickle but it usually takes
stronger acids than the ones we use on jewelry to really clean it
effectively once it gets dirty. To do anything with jewelry pickle
you would at least need a wait of several hours and I don’t know how
good that would be for the plating. And don’t do it with other items
in the pickle since a few kinds of stainless could cause the usual
steel copper plating reaction (most won’t). Then you could also end
up with copper plating on top of your gold plating if you weren’t
using fresh copper free pickle.