Did you ever wonder why that mineral looks so sparkly and shiny when it arrives at your home? John is our secret - he cleans every single mineral specimen before we sell it. He probably has cleaned well over 200,000 specimens over the years and has developed some tips and tricks.
Here are the tips and tricks for the sulfides. (PLEASE, what works on a sulfide may destroy an oxide or carbonate, so only use as described)
For sulfides such as Chalcopyrite, Pyrite and Galena: First clean the specimen in room temperature water with hand washing dish soap, not dishwasher soap, to removed any surface dirt. Now soak the specimen in warm “Iron-OutTM” to remove surface iron and lead oxides. We prefer summer time sun baths. Rinse well and scrub lightly with a tooth brush. Spray well with “Scrubbing BubblesTM”, let it sit until most of the bubbles have dissipated and give it a good scrubbing with a tooth brush. Rinse well and let the specimen air dry completely (a fan helps speed this up) before putting it away. This cleaning treatment should last for many years. Pyrite and Marcasite should always be stored in an open container, never closed up and absolutely never in plastic.
By the way, are you wearing kitchen dish gloves? Some people are sensitive to the aggressive chemicals in these cleaners so put on those gloves and safety glasses!