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topic 14623

Qwicksilver Electrolytic Silver Cleaning Plate


Q. Are you familiar with Qwicksilver TM? It is a self acting electrolytic cleaning plate, imported from England, that I have purchased from Antique shows? I am in need of some new ones and cannot seem to find them! Are you familiar with either a comparable product or something else that cleans silver "like magic"......without rubbing and for large objects?


Zoraida Fiol-Silva, M.D.
- Pomona, New Jersey

Electrolytic Cleaning Plate

A. Hi, Zoraida. I'm not familiar with that particular brand, but I have an electrolytic cleaning plate from the late 1940's which was left to my wife by my in-laws. You may also wish to see letter 4785, which explains the chemistry behind cleaning silver with aluminum this way.


Ted Mooney, amadeya42.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Q. Help,

Where can I buy Qwicksilver TM cleaning plate. I used a friend's and it is terrific. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Diana Henry Mann
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Qwicksilver plates are available by writing QWICKSILVER P. O. Box 2118 Bristol, TN

Ginny Mullendore
- Madison, Mississippi


Does anyone know how I can purchase qwicksilver online or do I use the TN address here? Thanks!

C. Sue Cooley
Bed and Breakfast - Bethany Beach, Delaware


A. Qwicksilver is a trademarked and internationally patented product. You can buy it for delivery worldwide.

Brian Morris
Qwicksilver Inc - Cape Town, South Africa


Q. I have purchased a Qwicksilver Plate and on the instruction it does not say what kind of sink or container to use when cleaning. We have a stainless sink and want to know if it would be okay to use it to clean the silver pieces we have or do we need to use a non metallic receptacle. It says not to mix other metals with the silver pieces when cleaning.

Thank You,

Sal Seidita
Hobbyist - Kingston, New York

A. Hi Sal. Just use a plastic dishpan.


Ted Mooney, amadeya42.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Dri-Pak Soda Crystals


Q. What type of laundry detergent do you use to activate this product (in the USA) as we don't have Persil in this country?

Jean Walker-Wiley
home owner - Reston, Virginia

A. Hello Jean. Most say washing soda [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] works well; others say water softener salt is okay too. I've also used Spic 'n Span [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] myself with good results.


Ted Mooney, amadeya42.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. About 7 years ago I called Quicksilver to order more reaction agent, and the person on the phone told me to use Arm & Hammer Super washing soda [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. He told me it's a lot cheaper, and it's basically the same stuff.

It's been working fine for us.

We recently installed a black enamel sink, replacing our stainless steel one. I am now using a 3 gallon stainless steel lobster pot.

William Olson
- Holland, Pennsylvania


Q. I purchased a Qwicksilver plate about ten years ago. Today when I used it, some silver pieces were cleaned effectively. Others were not. I tried a second time on these items with no better results. Also, the plate is now very gray/brown in color--not silver. I tried to clean it as indicated on the envelope slip that the plate is stored in with no results. What do I do now to restore it and why were some things not cleaned?

Beatrice L. Wallace
collector - Hemlock, Michigan


A. From the description you give your Qwicksilver plate is almost totally corroded with the residue of old tarnish. Tarnish must be washed off the plate immediately after cleaning (as the instructions clearly state) or it will eventually become inert. It is surprising you were able to clean ANY silver. After ten years perhaps you should buy another one. Contact Qwicksilver.

Brian Morris
- Cape Town, South Africa


! I just used a "Quicksilver" electrolytic plate that I found to clean some silver and it works quite well with WASHING soda. An internet search turned up info that the "secret" is the plate is simple aluminum and one can get the same reaction using ALUMINUM FOIL, WASHING SODA, and Boiling or Hot water. Much cheaper!

Richard Heppert
- Kingsport, Tennessee

Ed. note: For more about electrolytic cleaning of silver, please see letter 34314.


A. This old wives' tale again. Clean with aluminium foil and you'll strip your silver plating. Sure it produces electrolytic action, so does salt and a tin can. Electrolytic action needs to be controlled, which is why the Qwicksilver plate has an international patent.

Brian Morris
Qwicksilver International Inc - Cape Town, South Africa

Ed. note: Hi, Brian. I apologize that we let a brand name be used on this forum, which is for technical discussions related to metal amadeya42. Most of our readers are here for the science of the surface engineering, not for distributorship info for one brand of a consumer product. We made the mistake on the first posting of allowing this particular thread to get commercial, which we try hard to avoid because things usually go downhill. Please post the patent number so readers can investigate the technical issue you've introduced. Thanks!


thumbs up sign I came to this site to find out where I could obtain another one of these plates; I have one and it is fine. For an activator I have always used Calgon water softener, but Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is also fine. I have made a note of the supplier in Tennessee and will follow it up.

Jewell Margaret Clark
Retired - Surrey, B. C., Canada

Ultrasonic Silver Cleaning Kit


A. One of course CAN use a commercial cleaning plate IF one can find one without spending a arm or a leg.

In simple terms here is what is going on. Sulfur likes to bond to Silver (oxidize/tarnish) and will do so naturally over a period of time. You CAN polish it away, but you WILL remove some of the silver in doing so.

Sulfur also likes to bond with Aluminum MORE than it does silver, and given the chance, will move. So . . . getting a "tarnished" piece of silver in direct contact with ANY piece of aluminum (plate, pot, foil) with the catalyst of HOT water and WASHING soda (look for Arm&Hammer) sets up the proper environment for this transfer.

Once the item looks clean, remove and completely rinse and wipe down or residue will result.

As the water cools, the reaction will slow and stop, so start with the hottest. Washing and Baking soda are NOT the same chemically. Baking will work, but Washing Soda will work Better.

Richard Heppert
- Kingsport, Tennessee


Q. I have a Qwicksilver cleaning plate that has worked like magic for about 2 years. (My girls have actually offered to clean the silver on their own!) However, it seems to have stopped working. Actually heavily tarnished items seem to get worse. I am left scrubbing off the remaining tarnish. It's as though the plate only "loosens" the tarnish - if that's possible. The instructions say to rinse the plate with vinegar after use which I have been doing (if this means anything). Is there anything I can do to get it working again. I really need it my In-laws are coming for the holidays Yikes! Thanks for any help you can give.

Cindy Charness
home owner - Montreal, QC, Canada


A. After I sent you the query I was looking at the plate and realized that it was not as nice looking as it was originally. I scoured them with a non abrasive scrubber (I was afraid to use steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] but have since found out I can). Anyway it came back close to shiny and now works! Hurray!

Cindy Charness [returning]
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada


A. I too love this product. I was able to locate it on-line at iKitchen.com for around $15.00. Type in Jewelry cleaner in the search field.

Autumn Broadway
- Valley Center, California

Ed. note Jan 2017: That domain name is currently a link farm :-(

pH Up

September 5, 2008

thumbs up signI have had my plate for 20 years or more. I love it! I collect sterling miniatures, and I would never be able to enjoy them without Qwicksilver!

Regular old baking soda works for me. Find it, buy it, LOVE IT!


Barbie Rench
- Racine, Wisconsin

September 14, 2008

A. After a bit of googling, the activation chemical for the qwicksilver plate is actually "soda ash" available at your local pool supply store. Common name is "pH UP" =>

David Bird
- Adelaide, S Aust, Australia

December 17, 2008

Q. Hello, where in South Africa can I buy the plate as well as the powder. Thanks

Shalandra Sitharam
HOBBYIST - South Africa

July 15, 2009

Q. I cannot get my qwicksilver plate to work properly. It is not taking off the tarnish.
Should I order a new one?
Thanks, Linda

Linda Long
mom cleaning silver - Chapel Hill, North Carolina

January 6, 2010

A. Hi,

A Company called Natural Life Company sells the electrolytic plate worldwide under the name of Sparkle Cleaning Plate =>
The activator for the plate is Sodium Carbonate (Washing or Lectric Soda) and any company selling it as their own Brand Activator is just trying to make an EXTRA buck!

Actually for transparency sake, I run the Natural Life Company and am happy to answer any questions.

Thank you.

Adam Chapman
- Sydney, NSW, Australia

June 20, 2011

Q. Just purchased the Quicksilver Plate and noted that you shouldn't mix metals. Is it okay to clean jewelry that has some gold parts with the silver such as clasps? Thanks.

Rita Tringler
buyer - Tampa Florida

A. I wouldn't do it myself, Rita. You may have seen school science experiments where you put iron nails in copper sulphate and they plate themselves with copper, or where you put copper items into silver nitrate and they plate themselves with silver. If you put both gold and silver surfaces into a conductive solution, "electrolysis" or "galvanic action" might cause some of the gold to deposit onto the silver. One metal at a time is the rule.


Ted Mooney, amadeya42.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 31, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I have a Kwik-Shine silver cleaning plate, but, no instructions. Could someone please tell me how to use this plate?

Anne Marie Helbach
- St. Catharines, Canada

December 11, 2012

A. Easy! For silver:
1. Boil the kettle (with lots of water).
2. Place the silver objects to be cleaned in your sink.
3. Sprinkle a good handful of CALGON WATER SOFTENER over the silver items.
4. Pour on the full kettleful of boiling water, and add enough VERY HOT water from the tap to cover all the items.
5. Wait a few minutes.
6. Drain the sink, rinse and dry the items and enjoy!

The results are usually quite good, but some extra-tarnished items may need a second go-round, or a amadeya42 rub with silver polish.

For brass, copper, bronze etc.:
Same instructions, except use washing soda [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] instead of water softener. I usually use Arm & Hammer. Remember, washing soda and baking soda are NOT the same thing.

Oh, and always clean silver separately from the brass, copper etc. pieces.

Hope this helps!

Sheila Penney
- St. John's, NL, Canada

June 30, 2013

Q. I like to use the Qwik Silver on smaller items like flatware. When I first got the plate I used washing soda as instructed. However, the box is very large and fairly costly and lasts forever, meaning it is always in the way. I have tried using OxiClean with fair results and now would like to try baking soda. Has anyone had good results with baking soda? Also, when I lived in my house I had a porcelain sink and put the plate directly into the sink. I am now in an apartment with a stainless steel sink. Must I place a plastic tub into the sink to protect the stainless steel? One other question - may I mix silver plated items with sterling silver items or should they be separated? I would appreciate any help that I can get.

Terri Kushner
- Winnipeg, MB, Canada

January 10, 2017

A. It probably bears repeating at this point that at the very top of this thread, Ted linked to another thread (finishing.com/4600-4799/4785.shtml) where it is revealed that there's hardly anything special behind this or similar products. It's just a piece of aluminum. The electrolyte can be just about anything I'm sure, baking soda is readily available to most but the point it to have some ions dissolved in the water in order to allow the electrolytic reaction to proceed.

Mixing alloys in an electrolyte bath can be risky. In this case the combination of aluminum and the tarnished silver generates a desired reaction. Other combinations can generate an unwanted reaction.

Stainless steel would probably be okay here since it's fairly unreactive, but just to make sure I would isolate it from the other metals. I.e. you can still use the stainless sink to fill up with your electrolyte bath, but don't set the aluminum and silver directly on the sink bottom. Use a plastic or ceramic plate or some such.

It should be fine to mix sterling silver and silver plated items, since the surface of both are silver.

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
stellar solutions banner

December 20, 2017

Q. I have a small hand mirror that is encased in silver. Would it be safe to use Qwicksilver? Just wondering whether it will ruin the backing on the mirror itself.

Laura Negin
- Bigfork, Montana, USA

December 2017

A. Hi Laura. The conductive salts used in this system for electrolytically cleaning silver with aluminum are quite mild. None of us can see the mirror you are mentioning, but my guess is it will be no problem.


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

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