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I have some tantalum jewelry that I would like to clean. I've tried just soap and water to no success, so I wanted to try one of the standard at-home cleaning methods, like this one that uses foil, hot water, baking soda, and salt.

I know that tantalum is very non-reactive, so I would expect this to be safe to the metal, but I want to confirm before I accidentally do any damage. Unfortunately because tantalum is such a non-standard metal for jewelry, I haven't been able to get a straight answer from the internet or even the jeweler for whether this will be okay.

Is using the foil and baking soda method safe for cleaning tantalum jewelry? Are there any common cleaning methods that would be safe for most metal jewelry but not for tantalum?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think you can dissolve tantalum at home, either accidentally or on purpose. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Aug 6 '18 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretin That was the impression I got from reading around, and part of the reason we chose tantalum in the first place. I'm hoping the cleaning will help with the finish, otherwise I'll be suspicious of what metal was actually delivered... $\endgroup$ – David K Aug 6 '18 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ Tantalum is pretty inert, impervious even to the human body, for which reason it's been used in prosthetic implanted devices. $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Aug 7 '18 at 0:23
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Ultra Met uses tantalum for corrosion resistant coatings and has a list of corrosive substances that won't dissolve tantalum, comprising of hydrochloric, hydrobromic, and hydroiodic acids, nitric acid, sulfuric acid, acetic acid, hydrogen sulfide and even pirahna.

So unless you plan on using aqua regia, hydorfluoric acid, hot chlorine or other hot halogen gas, (none of which are safe for most metal jewelry) your ring should survive—at least the tantalum part will.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note: the author of this answer has no affiliation nor commercial or personal interest in Ultra Met CPT. $\endgroup$ – A.K. Aug 7 '18 at 12:44

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