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I know I can look it up on the internet but I trust you fellas more then looking up random stuff. You guys are the pros so how do I do it?



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 If you have small placer nuggets, put them in a small plastic bottle with a couple of table spoons of salt and fill with white vinegar. Shake the bottle lightly for a few minutes and you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Yup, I must agree on the Salt and vinegar for cleaning placer gold. It's fast, easy snd cheap. I have been cleaning my gold this way for a couple of decades and shared this method with many a prospector.

If you need to remove Caliche, CLR works great, followed by the salt and vinegar for a final cleaning.

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I used salt and vinegar for years on placer gold. For California and Nevada gold I have been using muriatic (hydrochloric) for caliche and other calcium type deposits, oxalic acid for iron staining, and Whink 1% HF for the toughest jobs. Long thread on the subject here on the forum previously at 

Remember always, safety first when dealing with even mild acids. Details at the link above.

If you find anything that looks like quality specimen gold, when in doubt, do nothing. Improper cleaning or handling could significantly lower the value of a specimen. With delicate pieces the most important thing is protecting them from physical damage, so any scrubbing or abrasion methods should be avoided.

The best article I have seen online is at http://www.mindat.org/article.php/403/Cleaning+Quartz

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Ok thanks fellas. It does have caliche on it. What is CLR? What strength HCL do you recommend and how long do I let it soak. They were going to show me how to clean it up at rye patch this past weekend but I had to leave early to get back to work. I'll post some pics as soon as I get it all cleaned. Thanks for the replies!


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On 11/13/2014 at 2:08 PM, AussieMatt said:

In Australia you can get an acid based product called Alibrite. I find it works well but can take a couple of days or even a week to get the worst stuff off.


You may be able to get something similar?

Whink Rust Stain Remover is about the closest we use to the Albrite, being that they both contain hydrofluoric acid, which one needs to be very careful when using, nasty stuff, but not as bad when in these low %, but I would still highly recommended using all safety measures, such a chemical resistant gloves, avoid breathing the fumes, etc., a good respirator is very good to use when dealing with any acids!!.

From the MSDS for Albrite...


"This product contains Sulphuric Acid 46 g/L and Ammonium Bifluoride 28 g/L. The Ammonium Bifluoride dissociates to produce a solution containing Hydrofluoric Acid 9.8 g/L (0.98% w/v)."

"Hydrogen fluoride (Hydrofluoric acid) (as F)  0-10 %"

From the MSDS for Whink Rust Stain Remover...


"Hydrofluoric Acid (Hydrogen Fluoride)          1.50 – 3.5%"
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