Greasy white residue on exterior of metal - how to clean?

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on 7 Jan 2013 2:50 PM

Hello!

I design and sell cufflinks.  I have purchased many blank pieces and a LOT of them (~ 1000 pieces) have a white "residue" on the front faces of the cufflinks.  I'm having trouble cleaning them - if I simply rub them with a cloth, the residue/smudging reappears after a few seconds.  Each piece is made of brass, and is coated in some sort of nickel-free plating (chrome?  I'm not sure).  I simply can't sell these defective pieces to customers, so I would very much like to clean them up the best I can.

I would simply like some advice on the best method/chemicals to use to clean these, as I am at my wit's end!  I've tried several different solutions with nothing helping... it seems I will need some industrial-grade solution.  Any help is GREATLY appreciated!!

I've attached some pictures to this post, hopefully they show up:

 

Thanks!

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BogIron wrote
on 7 Jan 2013 4:38 PM

I use naphtha to clean my metal of unwanted residue. You can also use alcohol. Do not use either of this near a source of ignition. You can buy them in the paint department of most hardware and big box home improvement stores.

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on 9 Jan 2013 10:44 PM

Hi Boglron, thanks for the advice.  I purchased some Naphtha as well as some stuff called "goof off" which I tested today.  Tomorrow I will post the results.

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on 11 Jan 2013 12:19 AM

...

So I ran some tests with the Naphtha and it does help to an extent.

At first I poured some of the Naptha into a rug and briefly rubbed the faces, and that didn't really help.  Afterwards, I simple took the front pieces and submerged them in the Naphtha overnight and agitated the jar.  This seems to be somewhat effective, with a noticeable improvement, although a faint smudging still persistently remains.  I hope this method will be effective enough, otherwise I may have to consider getting the jewelry pieces re-finished.

 

If this method with the Naphtha does not work out, are there any resource nearby where I can find someone who is knowledgeable about this, and capable and willing to either find a completely effective method of cleaning these items, or applying a new layer of chrome onto the front faces of each piece (or some nickel-free metal.. not sure exactly what material is coating each item).  I would be willing to pay someone approximately $500 to clean / re-finish these.  I have approximately 1,160 pieces that need to be re-finished.

Thanks if anyone can point me in the right direction.

 

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mirkaba wrote
on 11 Jan 2013 1:03 PM

I think there are a number of options out there. I use an ultrasonic cleaner for for general clean up. I put a solution of Ammonia, detergent and distilled water in the ultrasonic. For fabricated metals I have a vibratory tumbler for cleaning and burnishing. I use porcelain beads and Strato-Sheen from Rio Grande. I would think one or the other might solve your problem. Worth a try any way.

Gathering dust in Montana.

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BogIron wrote
on 13 Jan 2013 6:38 PM

One other degreasing agent that I use on really stubborn stuff is acetone. Use only in well vented spaces, I know hard to find this time of year.

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brommers wrote
on 13 Nov 2013 3:25 AM

I use a an "Eco" brand polisher that uses walnut shell. I live in Australia but I got mine in England - expensive, but it would work out quite affordable for the amount of pieces you have to clean. There are different grades of walnut and it does beads beautifully. I use mine a lot for all sorts of things.

Please can you tell me where you got the cufflinks? I would love to buy some. You can email me on http://www.patriciabromley-marks.com if you do not want to broadcast the info to the world!

i think you will find that it works a treat - Hi from OZ

Patricia

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brommers wrote
on 13 Nov 2013 3:29 AM

Hi again - I just realized this is an old post - sorry. However if you haven't got an "Eco" - you should do yourself a favour and get one!

Kind regards

Patricia

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TammyJones wrote
on 13 Nov 2013 6:01 PM

Hi Patricia,

You're right, that was an old post--but you might be able to find some cufflink blanks that you like from Nunn Design. I recently noticed they have some really nice ones.

Good luck and thanks for being part of JMD!

Tammy

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brommers wrote
on 14 Nov 2013 2:49 AM

Thanks Tammy - interesting bits on that site - Nunn Design

Best wishes

Patricia

http://www.patriciabromley-marks.com

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