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Silver cleaning

Hi everybody, today I joined your community and already have a
question. About silver jewellery straight from the acid, how to get
rid of the white residue on it without having to sand or polish it.
One can not get into all the intrications in the jewellery or at
least it’s very time consuming. Anybody knows any other way besides

Andrew Kuczynski


The white residue you refer to is actually pure silver. The acid
depletes the alloys at the surface leaving a fine silver.

There is no easy way to finish a piece with lots of detail or
texture. You have several choices to complete the task before using
polishing compounds.

You can test some of the 3M bristle disc wheels on a piece to see
how that works. You could also use a small bur or tapered steel rod
that has had the tip polished and use that as a burnishing tool with
a flexshaft machine or by hand.

If the texture or detail is not too deep you may also want to
experiment with a tumbler and different size and shape media.

And finally you can lightly heat the piece and use one of the silver
oxidizers on the market to darken the low areas. These oxidizers do
not work well on pure silver so you will need to heat the piece with
a strong light bulb, alcohol lamp or torch.

Good luck
Greg DeMark
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry

Hi Andrew,

About silver jewellery straight from the acid, how to get rid of
the white residue on it without having to sand or polish it.

I assume you’re talking about the white look that sterling has after
being removed from the pickle pot.

The 1st thing you should do is to place the item in a jar of water
to which has been added some Arm & Hammer baking soda. This will
neutralize the acid left on the item when it was pickled.

The white substance you’re seeing is actually ‘fine silver’. The
pickle dissolves some of the copper in the sterling along with the
byproducts of soldering. The result is the white appearance of the

About the only practical way to get rid of the ‘white’ appearance is
by polishing. The polishing can be done with a wheel or by placing
the item in a tumbler with stainless steel shot. & tumbling for a
short time.


Andrew, I’m answering this post several days late but, You don’t
want to lose that white coating. It’s pure silver. Silver is
probably the whitest metal available in it’s pure form. Polish it or
burnish it, maybe even tumble it, but every time you put it into hot
pickle you’ll get a fresh coat. It’s just silver that has had the
copper leached out of it (presuming it’s sterling that you are
working with originally). I’d advise tumbling it in stainless steel
pins/shot. Mechanical burnishing at its finest.