This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Silver articles in domestic use, and especially silver or plated inkstands, frequently become badly stained with ink. These stains cannot be removed by ordinary processes, but readily yield to a paste of chloride of lime and water. Javelle water may be also used.
A pinch of table salt taken between the thumb and finger and rubbed on the spot with the end of the finger will usually remove the darkest egg stain from silver.
Make a strong solution of soft soap and water, and in this boil the articles for a few minutes—five will usually be enough. Take out, pour the soap solution into a basin, and as soon as the liquid has cooled down sufficiently to be borne by the hand, with a soft brush scrub the articles with it. Rinse in boiling water and place on a porous substance (a bit of tiling, a brick, or unglazed earthenware) to dry. Finally give a light rubbing with a chamois. Articles thus treated look as bright as new.
Articles attacked by rust may be conveniently cleaned by dipping them into a well-saturated solution of stannic chloride. The length of time of the action must be regulated according to the thickness of the rust. As a rule 12 to 24 hours will suffice, but it is essential to prevent an excess of acid in the bath, as this is liable to attack the iron itself. After the objects have been removed from the bath they must be rinsed with water, and subsequently with ammonia, and then quickly dried. Greasing with vaseline seems to prevent new formation of rust. Objects treated in this manner are said to resemble dead silver.
Professor Weber proposed a diluted alkali, and it has been found that after employing this remedy the dirt layer is loosened and the green platina reappears. Potash has been found to be an efficacious remedy, even in the case of statues that had apparently turned completely black.
Put in a flask 1,000 parts of petroleum; add 20 parts of paraffine, shaved fine; cork the bottle and stand aside for a couple of days, giving it an occasional shake. The mixture is now ready for use. To use, shake the bottle, pour a little of the liquid upon a woolen rag and rub evenly over the part to be cleaned; or apply with a brush. Set the article aside and, next day, rub it well with a dry, woolen rag. Every particle of rust, resinified grease, etc., will disappear provided the article has not been neglected too long. In this case a further application of the oil will be necessary. If too great pressure has not been made, or the rubbing continued too long, the residual oil finally leaves the surface protected by a delicate layer of paraffine that will prevent rusting for a long time.
Lay them for a few seconds in alcohol containing 2 per cent of sulphuric acid; remove, wash in running water, rinse in alcohol, and rub dry with a linen cloth. This process gives a brilliant polish and is especially useful with plated articles on the plating of which the usual polishing materials act very destructively. The yellowest and brownest nickeled articles are restored to pristine brilliancy by leaving them in the alcohol and acid for 15 seconds. Five seconds suffice ordinarily.