Pickling query

a jeweler friend of mine asked me a question that has me
stumped. he is working in silver ,gold and steel. after he
solders he throws the work in the pickle and of course it plates
copper on the surfaces. how can he either clean up the flux off
the piece after the soldering operation without pickle or how can
he clean off the copper plating without mechanical means which he
says will destroy the surface texture ? thanks in advance. sb in

sb, there are two parts to this dilemna: first of all, only put
precious metals, brass or copper into your pickle - it’s the
steel that is causing the plating effect. Should the pieces
become copper plated in the pickle, make a pickle compound and
add about 25% hydrogen peroxide to it - immerse the articles in
question, and voila, the plating will disappear. Good luck,

Hi Mike, I saw your remedy for pickle plated copper on precious
and non-ferous metal. My question is: what concentration of
Hydrgen peroxide do you use? Is it from the drug store or
industrial source? Thanks., J.A.

A great tip thanks for sharing. Can you still use the pickle
after you have added the hydrogen Peroxide? thanks, Victoria

A great tip thanks for sharing. Can you still use the pickle
after you have added the hydrogen Peroxide?

Victoria Take some pickle out and add peroxide to that. No need
to add peroxide to the whole pickle pot.


I have been instructed that the peroxide will evaporate from the
Sparex solution in a few hours and the sparex can be reused. I
have no formal data to support time schedules, but do know that
the peroxide/sparex solution loses its “punch” during the course
of a day.

Tim Glotzbach
Eastern Kentucky University

Hi all,

I think I posted this once before but perhaps one more time
won’t hurt too much.

We had this problem with copper plating of pieces put into the
pickler even when we KNEW for a fact that we had not put any
steel into it. We had similar discussions with customers by
phone who assured us that no steel or iron binding wire,
tweezers, etc were going into the pickle. So what was causing
the copper plating?

Turns out the plastic basket that holds the jewelry in the
pickler has a steel wire for a handle. If we filled the pickler
with enough solution or put enough parts in that the
displacement raised the level of pickling solution up to the
steel wire - well there ya go, steel being introduced into the

We contacted the vendor asked them to use a plastic handle or
copper or something other than steel. But I guess they get the
basket from another source and bottom line was they can’t do it.
We recommend you take the steel wire handle off the basket and
replace it with copper. Hope that helps.

Best Regards,

Elaine Corwin
Phone: 1-800-544-2043 ext. 287 for me.

Scott, re your question of how to clean the flux off a piece
after soldering, without pickle, a strong solution of baking soda
will do the job. Soak the piece for 5 to 15 minutes. This
solution won’t remove any oxide colorants, however. (This
technique can also be useful when you want to keep the oxide
color after heating, and pickling would destroy it.)

Rene Roberts