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The time period depends on the size, shape, and electrical current, but since this is cleaning and not preservation, it should not take more than a day. You will need to soak the brass or bronze in fresh water for a full month, changing the water every few days to leach out all of the acid.

This soaking insures that your artifact will not turn green.

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Rubber gloves, safety glasses and a rubberized apron should always be used when working with lye.

To set up an electrolysis tank, start with a plastic container of a suitable size so that the artifact may be completely submerged, a car battery charger and an anode of stainless steel which has been attached to the positive side of a DC power source.

The idea is to leach out as much salt as possible from the artifact.

Steve Bielenda uses the toilet bowl tank as his artifact bath.

This will usually leach out any chlorides and prevent the object from later turning green.

To actually clean the object, several methods can be used.

Another method used to clean brass and bronze is electrolysis.

An electrolysis bath is set up by immersing the artifact in an electrolyte solution, usually a 5% to 10%solution of caustic soda also known as sodium hydroxide or lye, and water and passing an electrical charge through the artifact.

His idea is logical because items placed in the tank are constantly being rinsed with fresh water each time the toilet is flushed.

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