Home /
Search 🔍
the Site
pub Where the world gathers for
plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989


Nickel plating removal / stripping

Metalx nickel stripper


Q. I'm trying to strip nickel from a couple of improperly plated aluminum parts. The local chrome shop dipped it and removed the chrome, but told me to SAND and POLISH off the nickel! I've been able to carefully peel off some but not all of the nickel. Is there a chemical or electrochemical process for removing the nickel plating?


John Simpson
- SW Ranches, Florida

simultaneous 2003

A. Concentrated nitric acid will do it without destroying the alloy in most cases. You will need proper protective equipment and good air flow as it will emit NOx! For small areas, try a swab. It will last for a minute or so and then you will need another swab. Properly dispose of your refuse. It is hazardous.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. Try nitric acid say 50% by vol. Be careful-- wear protective gear and avoid breathing fumes.

Geoffrey Whitelaw
Geoffrey Whitelaw
- Port Melbourne, Australia


A. The large gunsmith supply companies carry a nickel stripper that works quite well. The parts that need to have the nickel removed just need to be immersed in the liquid. It's the best way I've found to remove nickel without a lot of polishing but it only comes in one gallon quantities so it's not meant for large jobs.

Brian F Bonser
custom weaponry - Stuart, Florida


A. I suggest go back to the local plating shop and teach them how to strip in the above mentioned nitric acid solution. I would strongly suggest that you do [not] mess with concentrated nitric and the hazardous waste you will produce once you load it with nickel.

Jon Quirt
- Minneapolis, Minnesota


A. Just to let you guys know. I have successfully removed a lot of chrome and nickel with the techniques listed here. I'm lucky enough to have access to a large supply of sodium Hydroxide and Nitric acid. I have been using them for years at my Job. (with the proper training and safety gear). After buying an old motorcycle I was look into ways of removing the chrome, then nickel then polishing up the aluminum. and WOW...it worked great. That is AFTER I destroyed a small pc. trying to sand and pick it off.



Brian Maty
- Scranton, Pennsylvania USA

August 10, 2008

A. 50% tech grade sulfuric acid (66 degree sulfuric acid) and 50% water using electric will take off your nickel without hurting your aluminum. You can use a battery charger [affil link] as a rectifier. If the part has copper on it depending how much build is on the part it should remove it also. Nitric acid will do the job the same way without electric, make sure you don't put steel in nitric acid, bad* chem reaction. good luck

Mark Ryder
- Dayton, Ohio

Ed. note: * - by bad reaction, Mark means the solution will evolve copious clouds of toxic NOx. So, to repeat then, keep nitric acid away from steel!

September 5, 2009

Q. So no nitric acid on steel? What would be the best method to remove the plating from rims then? I have some old steel and aluminum rims that are peeling. Most of the methods I'v come across are for one or the other.

Marshall DuHaime
- Tallahassee, Florida

September 13, 2018

Q. Can I nickel plate on top of another nickel plating? I hear not.

Can I nickel plate a shaft or bearing housing for a tighter fit?

I come across this idea, and wondering how often shops plate for better bearing tolerances and wanting to try it. I want to get light press fitting shafts and housings and it seems it's too expensive to get the metal cut to the precision I understood it would need, and the costs were high ... but plating seems very even and if it's the opposite of etching, just switch the polarity to the metal, it seems an easy solution to getting a precise metal part for the best bearing fit.

John murphy
make and sell electric motors - san francisco California usa

September 2018
(to help readers better understand the Q&A's)

Although it is possible to plate nickel on nickel, new readers should note that hard chrome plating rather than nickel plating is what is normally used when periodic replating to compensate for wear is envisioned.

A. Hi John. It is possible to plate nickel on nickel -- it requires activating the old nickel plating with a Wood's Nickel Strike process. But repairs of the sort you are describing are usually done by brush plating specialists rather than by tank plating.

While this technique can salvage mismachined parts and thus be less expensive than scrapping them (plating may cost less than starting over), the plating would not be consistent enough in thickness nor inexpensive enough to achieve what you wish -- trying to plate to finished dimension will only increase costs, not decrease them.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 16, 2018

A. As Ted says, it is entirely possible but since plating tends to build up at the end of shafts, you may have to grind to get the exact fit you want.
Taking a guess at your application, I would consider one of the modern anaerobic gap filling adhesives such as Loctite or Bondloc B648 as a much less expensive solution.
Refer to the manufacturer for the best grade for your application

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

June 17, 2020

Q. I bought new spare part aluminium alloy (Al+Mg alloy) and let it be nickel plated. They did not remove oil from alloy correctly and it made bubbles on nickel layers (on smooth milled surfaces). How can I fix this? Do you recommend to remove nickel and then replate it? How? I am afraid of alloy immersed in strong chemicals. Or mechanically? Sandblasting? Can you help, please? Thank you!


Jan Bzan
- Prague, Czech

June 2020

A. Hi Jan
Yes the nickel plating must be stripped and re-done. We added your inquiry to a thread on the subject which suggests a number of different ways, but a proprietary nickel stripper is probably safest. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 10, 2020

A. Dear sir if you use nickel stripping, the part will be little much eroded in microns. Again you have to polish it. After this on aluminium they are doing zincating process, then ENP or Bright nickel. If zincating solution is not well maintained this problem occurs. It's not only due to cleaning ... better to try Electroless nickel on zincated surface. You'll get better adhesion and corrosion resistance too due to phosphorous content in ENP. It has 3 grades: use high phosphorous grade.

Vasanth Karunakaran
- Chennai, India

August 6, 2020


If you have the base metal stainless steel, it's okay to strip with nitric acid without damage to the base metal.

popat patel
Popatbhai B. Patel
electroplating consultant - Roseville, Michigan

August 16, 2020

Q. Dear all,
I used 65 % Nitric acid to strip down nickel plating from my aluminum alloy. I did not know how long it should be immersed in this solution. Is it for a minutes, hours, days? I let it in acid for a one day (maybe too long) and there is a pitting corrosion on some smooth surfaces. It worked perfectly for a nickel etching. But this pitting looks not so nice. What was wrong? Unknown alloy behavior? Too long etching time? Thank you for your help!

Jan Bzan [returning]
- Prague Czech Republic

September 23, 2020

A. Dear Jan,
One day is too long for nickel strip using nitric acid. Few minutes should be enough. Clean the part from oil, immerse in nitric acid in well ventilated area for 5 minutes and check. Continue with 5 minutes immersion cycle until the deposit will be dissolved.
Good luck!

Alex Sirota
- Lod Israel

Metalx nickel stripper

Q, A, or Comment on THIS thread -or- Start a NEW Thread

Disclaimer: It's not possible to fully diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations might be harmful.

If you are seeking a product or service related to metal finishing, please check these Directories:

Chemicals &
Consult'g, Train'g
& Software

About/Contact    -    Privacy Policy    -    ©1995-2023 finishing.com, Pine Beach, New Jersey, USA