Pickling is a process that removes oxidation and flux residues called fire scale that develops during the soldering process. Pickles are typically a mixture of acid or acid salt and water.

Use a ceramic or pyrex pot for the pickle. The pickle will eat away at metal pots. The handling of corrosive acids and acid salts used in pickle requires specific safety precautions. Pickles, like vinegar or citric acid pickle, are less dangerous than sodium bisulfate or sulfuric acid pickle.

Once you’ve removed your piece from the pickle, it’s a good idea to dunk it in a mixture of baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) to neutralize the acid. If you don’t neutralize your metal after pickling, the acid will continue to corrode the metal.

I typically don’t do this but according to Nancy L.T. Hamilton, “it is best to simmer or boil jewelry in the neutralizing bath to reach into enclosed spaces. Clean with soap and water and rinse well. Simmering or boiling is important to do, if there are enclosed areas, like a hollow-formed ring, or a two-part dome. Before boiling in baking soda make sure that any stones or materials, used in the construction of your piece of jewelry, will survive at or above 212°F.”

Mark your studio supplies and keep them separate from your kitchen supplies. Never mix the two.

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