I've looked at a number of different colloidal/ionic "silver solution generators." After my research I'm under a few impressions and if they're wrong please let me know.

I also am wondering what the product is that one generator sells to add to the ionic silver to create colloidal silver and is it safe to ingest? I've already seen enough information to believe that ionic silver is safe. I'm wondering if the additive that turns ionic silver into colloidal silver is safe.


When you set up a silver generator, either homemade or store bought, you send a current through two pieces of silver in distilled water. The particles released into the water are ONLY ionic silver.

Will colloidal silver form over time? Will ionic silver precipitate or remain suspended?

I could easily build a machine to do this rather than buy one from a dealer that seems to withhold info to either prevent comparisons or to prevent laymen from building their own. I'm looking for any and all comments related to this topic. Thanks

To reply to GM's answer: I hesitate to put up pictures or links to the commercial generators since I'm not sure if that would violate the TOU and I have no interest in advertising for anyone. I imagine if the commercial generators, which work on same principal as the home made ones, didn't generate at least ionic silver they'd have some explaining (lawsuits) to do to someone and they've been on the market for years.

  • $\begingroup$ Polyphenol in green tea may be a better reducing agent. Maybe, possibly, cook ionic silver then put in a cup of green tea. Using distilled water for both. Or is this just too simple $\endgroup$ – user13401 Feb 14 '15 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ A common reducing agent would be ascorbic acid(vitamin C). I am not sure though if it can reduce Ag+ to colloidal Ag. $\endgroup$ – uLoop Nov 8 '15 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ Ingesting colloidal silver is a bad idea. I'd trust the Mayo Clinic more than I would some quack web site. mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/… $\endgroup$ – MaxW Nov 8 '15 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @MaxW Thanks for the concern but this isn't a debate about the merits or how to use it. The question is "how does, or can, one colloidal silver to ionic silver. $\endgroup$ – hortstu Dec 11 '15 at 17:04

If you provide a scheme of this mysterious "colloidal silver generator" would be very interesting, from what I see from googling I see only things like this.

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Up to my knowledge this "colloidal silver generator" has no sense. From instructions notes it seems there are two silver bar in a solution of pure water, as you say, this in fact should create a very slow (because there are no electrolytes) electrolysis of water into $O_2$ and $H_2$ but I don't see any reasons for the producing of colloidal silver.

In chemistry laboratory to produce colloidal silver usually you start from a solution of ionic silver $Ag^{+}$ and reduce it to metallic silver $Ag$.

$$\ce{Ag^{+} + e^{-} -> Ag} $$

Caution the following is a reaction not a recipe do not ingest the ultimate product of this reaction!!!

Once time I've made a true colloidal silver with Lee-Meisel method (J.Phys. CHem 1982,86,3391-3395) if you look at the original paper there are many methods however the following (method c) is used most.

(c) $AgNO_3$ ($90 mg$) was dissolved in $500 mL$ of $H_2O$ and brought to boiling. A solution of $1 %$ sodium citrate ($10 mL$) was added. The solution was kept on boiling for cs. 1h.

The solution should be greenish yellow. If you examine the reaction the $AgNO_3$ is the source of $Ag^{+}$, sodium citrate is the reducing agent that reduce $Ag^{+}$ to $Ag$ and stabilize it. I think colloidal silver generator would be for anyone who makes colloidal solution a dream I assure you is a very complex and tedious process.

Moreover both $Ag^{+}$ and colloidal silver are very difficult to store, the first may undergo photo-reduction to the metal the second is unstable as many colloidal solution because colloidal solution have grater energy due their larger surface (More energy many times means more instability). Without any stabilizer (such as t-BuONa or citric acid) I don't think the colloid will last long.

However I don't see why you should drink something like this. In fact $Ag^{+}$ has antiseptic properties such as Mercurochrome,HydrogenPeroxide or Lysol(R) but this don't mean drinking Lysol, Hydrogenperoxide or mercurochorme every morning will make you feel better. I strongly suggest you to do not drink such thing ever.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the input. People have been ingesting various silver concoctions for hundreds if not thousands of years. A small handful of people have turned blue b/c they've made improper concoctions or taken way too much. The silver ends up in their skin and when they expose themselves to the sun they basically develop the silver, similar to photography, and turn a bluish color. This is way beyond very rare though and so far no other negative side effects have been exposed... ionic/colloidal silver is a known topical and internal antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and is sold as such. $\endgroup$ – hortstu Jan 11 '14 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ @hortstu people have ingested various toxic concoctions for thousands, this doesn't mean you have to continue to ingest them. There are many more effective and selective antibiotics. $Ag^{+}$ kills every biotic form and may cause to you argyria. $\endgroup$ – G M Jan 12 '14 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ other than argyria, which is extremely rare amongst people using silver, what other toxic effects are proven? None that I can find. There are extensive studies showing the benefits of silver. "Effective and selective" antibiotics is a big part of the reason we have antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Finally antibiotics don't work on viral or fungal infections. $\endgroup$ – hortstu Jan 12 '14 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ also this isn't relevant to the question. $\endgroup$ – hortstu Jan 12 '14 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ @hortstu ok, however keep to investigate! I hope someone else could give you a better answer. Maybe you should change the title including "How "colloidal silver generators" works?" I hope your question will have more attention from community! $\endgroup$ – G M Jan 13 '14 at 9:09

Adding to G M's answer, there are more ways to produce colloidal, or more properly nanoparticles from silver nitrate.

The fastest one is using sodium tetrahydroborate (or borohydride). It takes a couple of seconds and if you don't deliberately put something to the solution nanoparticles will be stable for months (most probably longer). A polymer can be used to prevent coagulation of colloids yet as explained we did not need.

Citrate is also an option or any other similar organic acid but they are not as an effective reducing agent as borohydride so you need to heat the solution almost to boiling to get some activity. On the contrary, we always used ices to at least reduce the activity of borohydride to control the reaction.

Other than these, I have also synthesized silver nanoparticles by brewed, boiled or simply left tea, and also Artemisia absinthium (there are actually tens of articles on making silver nanoparticles using inorganic or organic chemicals, or even direct extracts of tea orange etc.

I emphasized nanoparticle more than colloid here since you will only have colorful silver solutions when particles are in between 10-100 nm in diameters. Yellow for smallest and black for largest, red and purple/violet between.

In short, these are the proper methods to produce silver nanoparticles in chemical or green synthesis.


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