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Please help, tumbler trouble

Oh woe is me…we have a 1.5 lb. tumbler made of black rubber. I
recently bought some stainless steel shot to work harden some ear wires we
are making. I noticed how much brighter and shinier they came out of the
tumbler compared to all the other sterling components I have in the
Studio. I was thrilled and thought why not clean all these beads, clasps
and chain bits up.

We filled the tumbler with water up to the stainless steel shot and gave
it a good squirt of regular dish soap. Left it going over night and in the
morning voila` !!! Beautiful bright shining sterling. This worked for
three nights, each day picking the clean pieces out and throwing a new
patch of dirty sterling in. UNTIL yesterday…I opened the tumbler
to find everything had DARKENED including the shot! I thought maybe there
was a chemical in the soap that didn’t ‘agree’ with the rubber but was
doubtful as it had worked so well before. Last night I tried a chemical
free detergent and this morning it’s even worse. Everything is black!

What have I done wrong and can I fix it ??? Any suggestions or comments,
like “you fool don’t you know x y & z about tumbling ?” I can take it just
tell me. I would love to get back to the clean shinny sterling of the
first 3 days.

Yours truly confused in Seattle, Susan

Have you changed the water? Did you clean the shot between batches (at
least rinse it?) Someone once said that Pepsi or was it Coca Cola may
help clean the shot. I have never encountered such a problem (yet.) Good

Dear “confused in Seattle”

Don’t lose any sleep over this one. Your solution is just dirty from all
of the dirt that has been taken off of the jewelry. Try running the
tumbler with just the shot and clean soap solution for a while. Inspect
it every hour or two and keep replacing the solution with clean stuff
until the shot is clean and the solution is white or clear (depending on
the color of the soap). I use Rio Grande’s burnishing soap but in a pinch
have used Spic n Span, just not too much of either. Hope this helps