The Best Way to Clean Coins

When finding old coins which have been under earth for quite a long time, you may ask yourself how to get rid of dirt, corrosion and patina. There are several methods one can use to clean finds. Ideally, you try out different methods to find the perfect one.

In the following, you will learn about different cleaning methods and some important additional information.

Should You Clean Old Coins?

Firstly, it is crucial to talk about the purpose of cleaning old coins. One might think it’s necessary to have clean and shiny coins.

However, this is not the case. In general, you should not clean every historical object! Oftentimes, cleaning a coin can destroy the surface and the coin gets useless. In case, you aren’t sure whether the find is super rare or not, go to a professional with a lot of experience.

Maybe you have found a treasure and destroy it by trying to get rid of the “dirt”. Above this, many coin collectors highly value coins with patina or other characteristics.

Oftentimes, this implies a historical background and uniqueness.

Therefore, keep in mind that coins are unique and worthy because of there historical background. A polished coin does not represent the time the coin has been under earth. Neither would you equip a vintage car with new and inappropriate parts.

The Best Way To Clean Coins

If you are sure that you are not dealing with a unique artifact, there are many methods one can try.

Baking Soda:

One of the best known method to clean metal objects is Baking Soda. It works best on Silver Coins

Each and every one has it at home or can buy it cheaply. First step is to remove any dirt which covers the coin. Use water and a towel to do this.

Following to this, you start applying the baking soda to both sides of the coins. To clean the coin effectively, using a toothbrush can be quite good. This allows you to clean every part accurately.

Last but not least, rinse the remaining baking soda off and pat the coins dry with a towel.

Clean Coins with Vinegar:

Just like baking soda, everyone uses vinegar.

When dealing with acidic liquids, it is always better to use cleaning gloves. When it comes to vinegar, the best thing one can do is using white vinegar.

First step is to take a glass or any kind of bowl. In case, you have several coins and use a bigger bowl, make sure that you do not use too much vinegar. The only thing which has to be covered are the coins. Thus, do not waste too much vinegar.

There is no exact time the coins have to be covered with vinegar. The time it needs to remove the dirt depends on materials and the degree of soiling.

Therefore, start with 20 minutes. After that time, take a toothbrush and start brushing the coins carefully. Do not put too much pressure on it. Filigree motifs can be scratched and damaged easily, be careful!

If the coins are not cleaner, put them back in the vinegar and wait several hours or even a whole day.

Make sure to rinse the coins off with water after using white vinegar.

No Risks – Soap or Olive Oil

If you are not sure whether the coins are valuable and rare or not, using soft cleaning methods like soap or olive oil might be the perfect solution.

Using Soap to clean coins is quite easy. Just put some liquid soap into a glass or bowl and add the coins you want to clean.

Pour warm water in the bowl and start moving the coins by using a small wooden stick. Using a spoon or any other metal object might not be ideal and could damage and scratch the coins.

Moreover, using distilled water is oftentimes better than normal water. Distilled water does not contain chloride and is therefore perfect when it comes to cleaning.

Make sure that both sides of the coins are wet and keep moving them in the water. Eventually, use a tissue or a cloth and remove any remaining soap and dirt.

Additionally, Olive Oil can be helpful too. Many people use it as an addition when brushing there teeth.

Therefore, using it to clean old coins is a soft method and you won’t damage anything. Just put the coins in Olive Oil and let them there for several days. It might take a bit to get significant results.

In case, you have many coins to clean, it could be quite interesting to test different methods and decide which one works best. By doing this, you don’t focus on one method and chances are higher to get awesome results.

Be a Professional – Buy a Tumbler

You think, cleaning coins is too much work and there must be an easier way? Of course!

The easiest and most professional way is to buy a tumbler. Moreover, there are magnetic tumblers which are more expensive. However, if you want to clean the coins in a professional and easy way, buying one of those machines could be a good choice!

Do not use a rock tumbler! The tumbling might damage the coins…

As mentioned earlier, you can also ask a professional coin collector for help. Asking a professional is especially recommendable when there are many coins which need to be cleaned and you are not sure if they are rare or not. In addition to this, you might also search forums or online auction platforms for further information.


Key Takeaways

When it comes to cleaning old coins there are several methods one can use.

Baking Soda is one of the best known method. Just apply a bit of it to both sides of the coin and start brushing carefully with a toothbrush. Clean it with water and you will be surprised!

Moreover, you can use Vinegar to clean finds. Put the coins into a bowl and cover them with vinegar. You don’t have to use that much. Depending on the soiling, it can take up to 24 hours to get significant results. Be patient!

In case, you don’t know much about the coins, using softer methods like Soap or Olive Oil can help clean the coins without damaging anything.

Last but not least, a Tumbler can be a great device for Cleaning Coins in a simple and professional way.

Above all, avoid cleaning rare and precious coins. Coin collectors pay more for coins which actually look old and unique. If you are not sure, ask somebody and search the internet.

Have Fun!

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