It’s time to switch from a strong chemical pickle in my workshop to a more friendly alternative which has less impact on the environment and is easier to dispose of. Now the question is what is my best alternative?
I have heard that people are using vinegar with salt, or citric acid, instead of the usual jewellers’ choice; sodium bisulphate. This afternoon I did a quick experiment to see which gives the best results in the shortest time.
I used this recipe that I found for the vinegar solution: 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 tablespoon of salt. I dissolved the citric acid powder in warm water until it was saturated.
I had some large silver jump rings to solder so I set up a bowl of hot citric acid and a bowl of hot vinegar solution.
After quenching my jump rings I put one in each pickle solution and waited.
Of course it took longer than the sodium bisulphate but after a couple of minutes it was clear that the vinegar was cleaning the silver quicker.
Ten minutes later and these were the results. I tried the test again in the interest of fairness and found the same.
Vinegar wins! Anyone know of anything better?