Natural "Pickle" Solution

This one is for all you jewelers and metalsmiths out there looking for an alternative to commercial pickle solution. I suggest checking out Emily Wiser's and Jo Hollingsworth's blog posts on using vinegar and salt instead of Sparex or other noxious solutions.

For the past month or so, I've been using a vinegar and salt mix, heated in my microwave, to clean away oxides and flux that accumulate on my pieces during the soldering process. It really works! Here are before and after shots to give you a sense of how well:

As far as I can tell, salt and vinegar pickle works on sterling, brass, copper and nickel silver. It does leave a pinkish residue on my brass pieces, but that's also the case when I use Sparex. However, I find it easier to clean the "pink" off brass that's been cleaned with the vinegar-salt solution.

In any case, it's safer on your lungs and the environment. I think I'll be cleaning out my crock pot and using this mix exclusively. Thank you Emily and Jo!