List of Commonly used Chemicals for
Precious metals refining,recovery
Disclaimer: The following section includes references to chemicals.These are provided for descriptive purposes only and some chemicals should only be used in properly equipped labs by trained personnel.
Last update 03/09/07
Chemical Name Chemical Formula Common Name
sodium chlorate NaClO3
Available from gardening and agricultural stores. This herbicide is toxic to all green plants and, as such, is becoming less available as more selective herbicides some onto the market. Some brand names are Atlacide, Defol, Drop-Leaf, and Tumbleaf. Read product labeling to deduce the particular purity of any of these brands. Used to drop out palladium from either nitric acid or aqua regia.

sodium nitrate NaNO3 Chile saltpeter Garden supply store (nitrate of soda) Used to make a weak ar.
Used to make
a weak nitric acid .Used in flux.
sodium metabisulfite Na2S2O5 Campden tablets Sodium Pyrosulfite
Sodium Disulfite
Used as a sterilizing agent in winemaking and brewing processes.
Found in Bonide Stump Out.
Used to drop out gold from  aqua regia.
hydrochloric acid HCl Muriatic acid  Muriatic acid (the common name for HCl) is used in swimming pool maintenance. It is also sold as masonry cleaner and is available at the hardware store. Used to make aqua regia
nitric acid HNO3 Nitric acid ---------
Used in  refining
urea H2NCONH2 ice melter, fertilizer Available at some hardware stores and at garden supply stores. It works to kill the Nitric in ar.
sodium chloride NaCl Salt --------
Used in silver refining.Used in
gold leach
zinc powder Zn zinc
Found in some hardware stores as "moss remover." The case of carbon-zinc batteries is zinc. Used to drop out gold from  aqua regia
sulfuric acid H2SO4 oil of vitriol Battery acid. May be obtained at some auto supply stores. Dilute or buffered solutions are available from hardware stores and plumbing supply houses to help unclog drains. Used in  refining
stannous chloride SnCl2 stannous chloride You can make it. USED AS A PRECIOUS METAL DETECTION LIQUID
calcium hypochlorite Ca(ClO)2 --------
Bleaching powder and some swimming pool disinfectants contain calcium hypochlorite. Used in
gold leach.
H2O --------
Distilled pure water is available in most grocery stores. Use only distilled water in refining.
citric acid C6H8O7 Sour Salt Available at the grocery store as "Sour Salt." Also used for home soap making and also in photographic development. Used as a pre wash in some gold ores.
iodine I2 Iodide Tincture of iodine, a topical antiseptic used for treating wounds, is a solution of iodine dissolved in ethyl alcohol. It is available at most drug stores. Available from camping stores as crystals for sterilizing water. Used in
gold leach.
iron sulfate FeSO4 Ferrous Sulfate Available from garden supply stores as a nutrient. Also available as a mordant for pigments from stores which carry dyeing and textile supplies. Used to drop out gold from  aqua regia
oxalic acid C2H2O4 rust remover Radiator cleaner from drug or hardware store. Also available in the hardware store as "wood bleach powder." Auto supply stores carry it as a rust remover as well Used to drop out gold from  aqua regia
ammonium chloride NH4Cl Soldering Flux Hardware Store plumbing Salt of Ammon Used to drop out platinum.
Used in flux.
ammonia NH4OH Ammonia Grocery Store; ammonia - ammonium hydroxide - Make sure it is marked clear. Used to was gold mud.
sodium tetraborate decahydrate Na2B4O7·10H2O Borax Borax, such as Twenty Mule Team Used in flux.
silicon dioxide SiO2 Sand Quartz sand is relatively pure silicon dioxide and is available at many building supply stores and also aquarium shops. Used in flux
hydrogen peroxide H2O2 Peroxide Hydrogen peroxide antiseptic (3%) is available from the drug store. Clairoxide hair bleach by Clairol is much more concentrated (12%) and is available from beauty supply stores. Used in
gold leach.
sodium hydroxide NaOH Lye, Caustic Soda Available in markets, grocery stores, and hardware stores. Used in
gold leach
sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3 Baking Soda Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate and may be found in the baking section of the grocery store. Used as a  acid neutralizer
Sodium carbonate Na2CO3 Soda ash
Washing soda
Grocery store. Used in flux
glycerin C3H8O3 1,2,3 propanetriol Glycerin is an emollient used to soften skin by delaying the evaporation of water. It is available at most drug stores.Also found in Fleet liquid glycerin suppositories. Used in reverse electroplating recovery cell as an additive to acid.
potassium nitrate KNO3 Saltpeter Saltpeter or quick salt is used to cure home made sausages and corned beef and may be available at independent butcher shops. Also available from agriculture and gardening stores as a root killer. Used to make a weak ar.
Used to make
a weak nitric acid .Used in flux.