What could cause Liver of Sulphur to spoil?
I use the chunk form of Liver of Sulphur because, for some items, I
like the rainbow patinas that are only possible with this. (For
things that don’t need color there are lots of easier things to
Twice now, the carton has “gone bad” on me. I’ll describe it, maybe
someone could explain what happened, and, even more importantly, how
I can prevent it in the future.
I opened a carton (plastic tub, 4 ounces), that I hadn’t used in
about 6 months. It had been closed tightly, and then sealed inside a
plastic bag. When I looked inside, I knew something was wrong.
Instead of the familiar yellow- brown color and distinctive sulphur
odor, the chunks had “glued together” and now looked crystalline.
The color was a light yellow, and there was almost no odor. I tried
dissolving it in hot water as usual, but it was totally inactive.
Most didn’t even dissolve, but formed a greyish powder in the bottom
of the bowl.
After a few inarticulate expressions of frustration (the cat hid for
a few hours), I ran out and bought another carton. I used the new
one, then sealed it up very carefully with eletrical tape sealing
the lid edges, and double bagged it in heavy plastic, with air
I went to use carton # 2 last week (after another 6 months), only to
find it had spoiled, too! This time the color was different, more a
muddy grayish green; but it was still crystalline, still inactive,
still didn’t dissolve, etc.
This time my screaming was more articulate, and a good deal more
protracted. I no longer have a jewelry supply store within driving
distance. After a few hours on the phone, I found a supplier in the
jewelry district in downtown Chicago. I sent my long-suffering
husband from his office to pick it up.
This time the Liver of Sulphur was in a metal canister, of the type
paint comes in, with a fitted metal lid. I was very careful not to
distort thie lid in removing it, and replaced it immediately.
What did the Liver of Sulphur transform into? How can I prevent this
from happening again?? The first two plastic cartons were $9 each,
and the second (8 ounces, the only size they had) was $20. The cost
is irritating, but the inconvenience is infuriating! Of course I was
on a deadline, etc.
Will the metal canister help? Is moisture the problem? I thought I
had done well with the electrical tape and double bagging. Should I
put a bag of dessicant inside the can? Seal it with hot wax?
Humidity is not a big problem in my studio: I use a dehumidifier,
except in the winter.
Any solutions/suggestions would be deeply appreciated!