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  1. #1

    Default Ammonia to clean clock movements

    I was told not to use pure ammonia to clean brass clock movements as it would dull or remove the finish. Is this true? I have a couple of Ansonia clocks to clean and would like to know if I should use ammoniated or non-ammoniated cleaning fluid. I do not have an ultrasonic cleaner.
    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Registered user. Mike306p/Ansoniaman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Colorado Springs, CO.

    Default Re: Ammonia to clean clock movements (By: derwiener)

    Paul . Welcome to our site. Take a look at the bottom of this page. Scroll down and you will see other similar threads on ammonia cleaners and you will get some of the other previous questions /answers and results. Mike
    Former New Clock Acquisitions Moderator AKA Mike 306p/Ansoniaman

  3. #3
    Registered User gvasale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    webster, Ma

    Default Re: Ammonia to clean clock movements (By: derwiener)

    Household strength ammonia is nasty enough. If you buy a commercial ammoniated concentrate you'll immediately notice the higher concentration of ammonia. WRT "pure" ammonia, it would probably kill you in short order. Ammonia in a cleaning solution is always a debatable topic. I use it. It does not dull brass, but brightens it. You need to keep all the brass submerged otherwise you'll get "staining" ... two different colors. Soaking for an overly generous amount of time will turn the surface pink, as you are disolving the elemental metals out of the brass. Someone else can state if its the copper or the zinc. You can polish the surface to restore the yellow color, but if the soak is long enough to cause pitting, you can't undo that.

  4. #4
    Registered user.
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    St. Paul, MN

    Default Re: Ammonia to clean clock movements (By: gvasale)

    A noted watch and clock repair instructor at St. Paul Technical College located in St. Paul, MN, whom I took classes from years ago, instructed the class that cleaning movements with "sudsy" ammonia was quite acceptable. Note, that, it must be "sudsy" ammonia and not regular ammonia. Many stores that sell ammonia do not always carry sudsy ammonia but I always have had success in finding a store locally that carry's it and I buy several gallon jugs at a time for future use.

    It is best to not let the movement part(s) soak too long in the ammonia. I usually let the part soak just a minute +/- and then scrub briefly with an old tooth brush and then rinse in very hot running water and then dry it thoroughly.

    I would not use any type of ammonia on a lacquered finish as it may damage the finish.

    In conclusion, I have never experienced a problem using this product, however, as mentioned above, don't let the part soak too long, rinse thoroughly in very hot water and then dry completely.


    Joe Coppersmith

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ammonia to clean clock movements (By: Joseph Coppersmith)

    Joe, thank you very much for the reply and advice about the use of ammonia.
    Paul C. Miller

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