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Qwicksilver Electrolytic Silver Cleaning Plate(2002)
Q. Are you familiar with Qwicksilver TM? It is a self acting electrolytic cleaning plate, imported from England, that I have purchased from Antique shows? I am in need of some new ones and cannot seem to find them! Are you familiar with either a comparable product or something else that cleans silver "like magic"......without rubbing and for large objects?
PLEASE HELP! Thanks!Zoraida Fiol-Silva, M.D.
- Pomona, New Jersey
A. Hi, Zoraida. Not familiar with that brand, but I have an electrolytic cleaning plate about 60 years old. You may also wish to see letter 4785, which explains the chemistry of cleaning silver with aluminum.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Where can I buy Qwicksilver TM cleaning plate. I used a friend's and it is terrific. Any help would be greatly appreciated.Diana Henry Mann
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Qwicksilver plates are available by writing QWICKSILVER P. O. Box 2118 Bristol, TNGinny Mullendore
- Madison, Mississippi
Does anyone know how I can purchase qwicksilver online or do I use the TN address here? Thanks!C. Sue Cooley
Bed and Breakfast - Bethany Beach, Delaware
A. Qwicksilver is a trademarked and internationally patented product. You can buy it for delivery worldwide.Brian Morris
Qwicksilver Inc - Cape Town, South Africa
Q. I have purchased a Qwicksilver Plate and on the instruction it does not say what kind of sink or container to use when cleaning. We have a stainless sink and want to know if it would be okay to use it to clean the silver pieces we have or do we need to use a non metallic receptacle. It says not to mix other metals with the silver pieces when cleaning.
Thank You,Sal Seidita
Hobbyist - Kingston, New York
Q. What type of laundry detergent do you use to activate this product (in the USA) as we don't have Persil in this country?Jean Walker-Wiley
home owner - Reston, Virginia
Ed. note: Some say washing soda [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] works as well.
A. About 7 years ago I called Quicksilver to order more reaction agent, and the person on the phone told me to use Arm & Hammer Super washing soda [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. He told me it's a lot cheaper, and it's basically the same stuff.
It's been working fine for us.
We recently installed a black enamel sink, replacing our stainless steel one. I am now using a 3 gallon stainless steel lobster pot.William Olson
- Holland, Pennsylvania
Q. I purchased a Qwicksilver plate about ten years ago. Today when I used it, some silver pieces were cleaned effectively. Others were not. I tried a second time on these items with no better results. Also, the plate is now very gray/brown in color--not silver. I tried to clean it as indicated on the envelope slip that the plate is stored in with no results. What do I do now to restore it and why were some things not cleaned?Beatrice L. Wallace
collector - Hemlock, Michigan
A. From the description you give your Qwicksilver plate is almost totally corroded with the residue of old tarnish. Tarnish must be washed off the plate immediately after cleaning (as the instructions clearly state) or it will eventually become inert. It is surprising you were able to clean ANY silver. After ten years perhaps you should buy another one. Contact Qwicksilver.Brian Morris
- Cape Town, South Africa
! I just used a "Quicksilver" electrolytic plate that I found to clean some silver and it works quite well with WASHING soda. An internet search turned up info that the "secret" is the plate is simple aluminum and one can get the same reaction using ALUMINUM FOIL, WASHING SODA, and Boiling or Hot water. Much cheaper!Richard Heppert
- Kingsport, Tennessee
Ed. note: For more about electrolytic cleaning of silver, please see letter 34314.
A. This old wives' tale again. Clean with aluminium foil and you'll strip your silver plating. Sure it produces electrolytic action, so does salt and a tin can. Electrolytic action needs to be controlled, which is why the Qwicksilver plate has an international patent.Brian Morris
Qwicksilver International Inc - Cape Town, South Africa
Ed. note: Hi, Brian. This forum is for technical discussions related to metal finishing. Most of our readers are here for the science of things, not distributorship info for one brand of consumer product. We made the mistake of allowing this particular thread to get commercial, which we try hard to avoid. Please post the patent numbers so readers can investigate the issue. Thanks!
A. I came to this site to find out where I could obtain another one of these plates; I have one and it is fine. For an activator I have always used Calgon water softener, but Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is also fine. I have made a note of the supplier in Tennessee and will follow it up.Jewell Margaret Clark
Retired - Surrey, B. C., Canada
A. One of course CAN use a commercial cleaning plate IF one can find one without spending a arm or a leg.
In simple terms here is what is going on. Sulfur likes to bond to Silver (oxidize/tarnish) and will do so naturally over a period of time. You CAN polish it away, but you WILL remove some of the silver in doing so.
Sulfur also likes to bond with Aluminum MORE than it does silver, and given the chance, will move. So . . . getting a "tarnished" piece of silver in direct contact with ANY piece of aluminum (plate, pot, foil) with the catalyst of HOT water and WASHING soda (look for Arm&Hammer) sets up the proper environment for this transfer.
Once the item looks clean, remove and completely rinse and wipe down or residue will result.
As the water cools, the reaction will slow and stop, so start with the hottest. Washing and Baking soda are NOT the same chemically. Baking will work, but Washing Soda will work Better.
- Kingsport, Tennessee
Q. I have a Qwicksilver cleaning plate that has worked like magic for about 2 years. (My girls have actually offered to clean the silver on their own!) However, it seems to have stopped working. Actually heavily tarnished items seem to get worse. I am left scrubbing off the remain tarnish. It's as though the plate only "loosens" the tarnish - if that's possible. The instructions say to rinse the plate with vinegar after use which I have been doing (if this means anything). Is there anything I can do to get it working again. I really need it my In-laws are coming for the holidays Yikes! Thanks for any help you can give.Cindy Charness
home owner - Montreal, QC, Canada
A. After I sent you the query I was looking at the plate and realized that it was not as nice looking as it was originally. I scoured them with a non abrasive scrubber (I was afraid to use steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] but have since found out I can). Anyway it came back close to shiny and now works! Hurray!Cindy Charness [returning]
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada
A. I too love this product. I was able to locate it on-line at www.iKitchen.com for around $15.00. Type in Jewelry cleaner in the search field.Autumn Broadway
- Valley Center, California
Ed. note: We don't see it there anymore, using that search term or any other :-(
I have had my plate for 20 years or more. I love it! I collect sterling miniatures, and I would never be able to enjoy them without Qwicksilver!
Regular old baking soda works for me. Find it, buy it, LOVE IT!
- Racine, Wisconsin
September 14, 2008
A. After a bit of googling, the activation chemical for the qwicksilver plate is actually "soda ash" available at your local pool supply store. Common name is "pH UP" =>David Bird
- Adelaide, S Aust, Australia
December 17, 2008
Q. Hello, where in South Africa can I buy the plate as well as the powder. ThanksShalandra Sitharam
HOBBYIST - South Africa
July 15, 2009
Q. I cannot get my qwicksilver plate to work properly. It is not taking off the tarnish.
Should I order a new one?
mom cleaning silver - Chapel Hill, North Carolina
January 6, 2010
A Company called Natural Life Company sells the electrolytic plate worldwide under the name of Sparkle Cleaning Plate =>
The activator for the plate is Sodium Carbonate (Washing or Lectric Soda) and any company selling it as their own Brand Activator is just trying to make an EXTRA buck!
Actually for transparency sake, I run the Natural Life Company and am happy to answer any questions.
- Sydney, NSW, Australia
June 20, 2011
Q. Just purchased the Quicksilver Plate and noted that you shouldn't mix metals. Is it okay to clean jewelry that has some gold parts with the silver such as clasps? Thanks.Rita Tringler
buyer - Tampa Florida
A. I wouldn't do it, Rita. You may have seen school science experiments where you put iron nails in copper sulphate and they plate themselves with copper, or where you put copper items into silver nitrate and they plate themselves with silver. If you put both gold and silver surfaces into a conductive solution, "electrolysis" or "galvanic action" can cause some of the gold to deposit onto the silver. One metal at a time is the rule.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 31, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. I have a Kwik-Shine silver cleaning plate, but, no instructions. Could someone please tell me how to use this plate?Anne Marie Helbach
- St. Catharines, Canada
December 11, 2012
A. Easy! For silver:
1. Boil the kettle (with lots of water).
2. Place the silver objects to be cleaned in your sink.
3. Sprinkle a good handful of CALGON WATER SOFTENER over the silver items.
4. Pour on the full kettleful of boiling water, and add enough VERY HOT water from the tap to cover all the items.
5. Wait a few minutes.
6. Drain the sink, rinse and dry the items and enjoy!
The results are usually quite good, but some extra-tarnished items may need a second go-round, or a finishing rub with silver polish.
For brass, copper, bronze etc.:
Same instructions, except use washing soda [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] instead of water softener. I usually use Arm & Hammer. Remember, washing soda and baking soda are NOT the same thing.
Oh, and always clean silver separately from the brass, copper etc. pieces.
Hope this helps!
- St. John's, NL, Canada
June 30, 2013
Q. I like to use the Qwik Silver on smaller items like flatware. When I first got the plate I used washing soda as instructed. However, the box is very large and fairly costly and lasts forever, meaning it is always in the way. I have tried using OxiClean with fair results and now would like to try baking soda. Has anyone had good results with baking soda? Also, when I lived in my house I had a porcelain sink and put the plate directly into the sink. I am now in an apartment with a stainless steel sink. Must I place a plastic tub into the sink to protect the stainless steel? One other question - may I mix silver plated items with sterling silver items or should they be separated? I would appreciate any help that I can get.Terri Kushner
- Winnipeg, MB, Canada