Bismuth is a pure, non-toxic metal. Unlike most metals, bismuth does not bend at room temperature. Instead, thin pieces of bismuth or fine crystals will crack or break if dropped or subject to pressure or stress. You must be more gentle with bismuth than with glass.
- Do not subject bismuth to strong hits or vibrations.
Bismuth will shed some of its crystals over time. It happens, bismuth is a brittle metal. You probably won’t even notice when a crystal is gone. It leaves behind a shiny mirror surface. If the spot is sharp or jagged, you can smooth it out by gently scraping across the sharp point with your fingernail. Otherwise, you can gently push or tap on the sharp point with a flat metal object. The sharp point will crumble away under moderate force.
- Do not pick at the bismuth or its crystals, they may fall off naturally over time. Sharp edges may be smoothed or flattened with gentle pressure.
Do not use any harsh chemicals (strong acids or bases) or abrasives of any kind on bismuth. You might chemically or physically remove the colorful oxidation on bismuth’s surface.
- Clean bismuth only when absolutely necessary, and only very gently. Avoid excessive heat, harsh chemicals, and abrasives. Never put bismuth in the dishwasher.
Minimal exposure to the following common pipe cleaning substances appears to be safe for bismuth:
- Warm tap water (avoid very hot tap water);
- Isopropyl alcohol;
Do not expose bismuth to direct extreme heat.
- Bismuth can be easily melted with an ordinary butane lighter! (~500 deg F)