the little worker guy had taken the container, shook a bunch
of chips into his hand, and then tossed them back into the
container after he'd picked a few out to use. Leaving, undoubtedly,
his finger oils behind on the chips which are much to small to try
to clean up.
Thank you, Zen Soujourner, for opening an opportunity for me to post
a tip here. All you really need to clean up small chips of silver
solder is a wire basket. Just put the chips inside and use your
favorite degreasing agent to get the dirt off. Mild detergent and
Simple Green are the two choices that immediately come to my mind. Do
NOT place a steel wire basket in your pickle pot unless you like your
pieces copper plated - just use a degreaser.
For tarnished silver solder chips, the familiar "washing
soda/aluminum foil" trick should work quite well. Make certain you
rinse the solder chips well to remove any soap or other residue
before soldering with them.
For those of you who aren't familiar with it, look in the detergent
section of your local grocery store (laundry and dishwashing
detergents, that is) for a product called washing soda (not baking
soda). Dissolve as much as you can into warm water, and pour into a
plastic container. Line the bottom of the container with aluminum
foil, and place your tarnished sterling silver into the container,
making sure that the silver touches the aluminum (obviously, you
can't use the wire basket on this one). This process will remove most
tarnish from sterling, including solder chips.
James in SoFl