Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cause Sometimes My Balls Get Crusty

lol...crude, I know, but the crusty, rusty, yucky stuff that sometimes appears in the tight areas (around the balls) in my metalwork or even the coils of wirework drives me crazy! Anybody else have this problem? Often I get overly excited about an almost finished piece, so after oxidizing I start to polish with steel wool before the piece is completely dry. Little tidbits of steel wool get stuck in the crevices, the piece completely dries, then rusty funk appears, and not amount of brushing with the brass brush seems to scrub the yuck away.

it's a little hard to see but see the rusty area where the copper and silver meet

and here around the ball embellishments

So I'm sitting at my bench, brushing, when I totally have a eureka moment! Baking soda! I mean baking soda  has so many uses, not only in the home but in fact I keep it on my bench to neutralize my pickle, etching solution, silver black, and add it to a bowl of water on my bench to neutralize any metals that have been used in a chemical solution. So why couldn't I try baking soda to get rid of the residue from the steel wool? It worked!! (insert me doing happy dancing jig here). This process seems to be working really well so far, but I'm really careful around any beads or stones, if they are already set, as I'm not sure what impact the baking soda would have on them.

see...all nice and shiny, no brown around the embellishments, only black, yea!

This is what I do, it is not an exact science:

  • gather a toothbrush, fresh water, and a small dish of baking soda
  • dip the toothbrush into the water, to get the bristles nice and wet, then dip the toothbrush into the baking soda. I like to get an ample amount of baking soda on the bristles without getting them all caked up
  • brush the toothbrush, with baking soda, over the affected area, being sure to work the bristles of the toothbrush into the crevices really good
  • repeat as necessary, until all the residue left behind from the steel wool is gone
  • rinse in warm soapy water
I'm sure I'm not the first one to discover this solution, but I figured maybe someone else might be having the same problem and this is a super easy fix. Now I can use the steel wool without any worries:)


  1. Thanks for sharing, I'm going to try this on an older peice that needs some cleaning.
    Lori D.

  2. Awesome tip. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  4. http//:www.turtlemoondesigns.meJune 24, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    You know what they say.... necessity is the
    Mother of invention! Your jewelry looks amazing. Love it! Did you get your person for the bead blog? I'm excited, think it will be really fun.