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How to Remove Solder-gold and Lead-from Gold Jewelry


Q. How can solder, both lead and gold be removed from the surface of old gold jewelry without damaging the surface of the object cleaned?

Richard Schulte
- Detroit, Michigan


A. You can remove lead from silver or gold by using a mixture of nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide.

Neil Jennings
- goldsmith - Abernethy, United Kingdom

April 9, 2008

Q. Where do I get nitric acid for removal of solder ?

jill garrett
Jill L Garrett
- Central City, Nebraska

April 11, 2008

A. Hi, Jill. It's readily available from jewelry supply companies, but they can be reluctant to sell it to people who don't have some kind of environmental certification and an actual industrial/commercial jewelry store (outside of the home) because of the liability of product stewardship. It's dangerous toxic stuff, and moreover a very powerful oxidizing agent that can set paper on fire.

I have a friend who tried to sop up a nitric acid spill with newspaper and nearly set his whole shop on fire -- had it been a house rather than a high-ceiling concrete and steel factory, he absolutely would have.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 16, 2008

Q. Hello, can anyone give a specific recipe for this mixture? And have you actually used it to remove lead from a non-Ferrous alloy? I want to remove solder form silver/copper alloys.
Please let me know your experiences. Thanks,

Peter Dehahn
- sherman, connecticut

thumbsup2Hi Peter. I don't know the ratio, but thanks for including "non-ferrous" in your question, because it reminded me of yet another warning about nitric acid: it will generate noxious choking NOx fumes if used on iron or steel.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 27, 2010

Q. Neil Jennings,

What is the mixture of nitric acid and Hydrogen Peroxide one would use to remove Lead Solder From Silver?

Ken Kindschi
- Middlefield, Connecticut, USA

December 13, 2010

A. Hi,
I used a mixture of (50-50) hydrogen peroxide, or blonde hair dye and photochem econostop, the stuff photographers use, basically it's acetic acid, and it removes lead from gold.
regards Neil

Neil Jennings
- goldsmith - Abernethy, United Kingdom

Safe disposal of nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide mix

January 27, 2016

Q. When removing solder from gold? How do you safely dispose of the nitric acid/hydrogen peroxide solution?

Ronald Hilton
- Rimbey, Alberta, Canada

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