Safety Pickle


I’m new to silversmithing and even newer to this forum… only just
joined and already have a question :slight_smile:

I bought some safety pickle, thinking I would be sent instructions
along with it… but nope! I’ve emailed the company I bought it from
but have yet to hear from them…

I’ve searched the web for instructions with no luck - although I did
find somewhere that says safety pickle has to be neutralised with
bicarbonate of soda before disposal - is that correct?

So, I have all this safety pickle with no idea how to use it :slight_smile: I
know it should be used with warm water, but in what proportions? And
I believe that with some pickles it matters whether you add it to the
water or the water to it… is it the same with safety pickle?

Many thanks in advance for any help with this! Hope you all don’t
mind me jumping straight in with all these questions and will bear
with me whilst I’m learning :slight_smile:


Hi Janie,

Pickle of just about any kind is an acid based material. For jewelry
use, it’s usually sold in a granular form that’s mixed with water &
heated in an old crock pot set on the ‘warm’ setting. Depending on
the chemical makeup of the pickle, about 1/4 -1/2 cup per quart/liter
of water will work. There’s no hard & fast ratio.

A very good pickle that may be available locally is Ph Minus for
swimming pools & SPAs. It’s chemical name is sodium bisulphate. It’s
usually less expensive than pickle from a jewelry supply & in many
cases is cleaner to use. It doesn’t leave a brown scum like some
pickles. In areas where pools are common, it’s available from pool
supplies, hardware, drug & grocery stores.

As with any acid based product, the item placed in it should be
neutralized in a solution of bicarbonate of soda (Arm & Hammer
Baking soda) & water after removal from the pickle. Before discarding
a batch of used pickle, it’s best to neutralize it with the same

If you haven’t already got it, I’d suggest you get a copy of ‘The
Complete Metalsmith’. It’s about 200 pages of very useful how to
info, drawings, tables & charts for the beginning & experienced
metalsmith. Depending on where you get it, it’s around $20 in the US.


Hello Janie,

Glad you brought the question and I have one for you. Please look on
the label for a chemical name for the “safety” pickle. I’m not
familiar with that name… Also, is the material a dry granule or a

The two pickles I’m familiar with (citric acid and sodium bisulfate)
come as dry granules and the proportions for mixing aren’t too
critical. In fact, after a while in use, evaporation constantly
changes the concentration. When the liquid level drops, I add a
little more distilled water to restore the liquid level. If the
pickle seems to take too long, I add a little more of the granules.

Good for you for asking and shame on your supplier for not
responding to your request for Judy in Kansas, trying to
figure out how to protect my wooden cases from the predicted rain,
while transporting them to a show in my pick-up tomorrow!

Before my first daughter was born I switched to Citpic pickle from
Gesswein. I understand this is just food grade crystallized / powder
type of citric acid and can be bought very cheap if you know where.
Gesswein gets about 9 dollars for large bottle, I guess a couple
pounds worth. I have been using it going on 6 years now and have no
complaints but one. as the water level evaporates, or if you spill
some of it, once it dries there is a sticky, but sweet, residue. Non
Toxic and basically harmless unless you are allergic to it. Lucky
for me I bought about 6 these when they had a sale the other year,
so I still have 1 left. I am going to start looking for a local
source though, like a place that sells food stuffs for industry I
would guess.