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How to clean coins: effective way for cleaning coins

Updated on March 21, 2013

Coins are always rolling in and out of our pockets. Sometimes, they have clean and shining looks, but on ocassions, they might look opaque and deteriorated by the passage of time and by the effects of being exposed to the environment. It is during these very common ocassions when they might need a little cleaning.

It is not recommendable to clean coins, especially if the coins posses some kind of value, since the cleaning might decrease its value among collectionists. On the other part, the cleaning of coins, such as those that enter our pockets on a daily basis might be used to create some kind of craft work for the house. After the cleaning, we could place them in special vitrines hanged on the walls of our house for others to see.

If cleaning coins is one of your hobbies, and you feel the necessity to clean the coins every time they enter your pockets, then, you might want to try the simple technique that I'm presenting in this hub.

Things needed for cleaning coins

  • I cup of white vinegar
  • I tablespoon of salt
  • Baking soda
  • Non-metal recipient
  • Cotton pads
  • Magnifying glass
  • Water

Things Needed to Clean Coins
Things Needed to Clean Coins | Source

I tried this method with some copper coins, such as pennies and it worked really fine. The pennies that I cleaned using salt and vinegar are on the photo below cleaned and free of stains.

Shining Coins

Shining Coins
Shining Coins | Source

How to Clean Coins with Salt and Vinegar?

To begin the cleaning, wash the coin under cold running water from your kitchen faucet; let it dry a little and then submerge it into the 1/4 cup of white vinegar and salt; let the coin there from between 1-5 minutes, depending on how dirty the coin is; after the lapse time has passed, take the coin out and rinse it with cold water.

Dry the coin with a soft cloth or a cotton pad. At this stage, there is always some dirt left on the coin; to remove the stains of dirt on the coin, grab some baking soda between your fingers; to do this, you may use a pair of gloves or use a piece of cotton pad; hold the coin with the index finger of your left hand and with your right hand apply a gentle rubbing over one side of the coin and then, flip the coin over and rub the other face of the coin.

How to Clean Coins with Baking Soda?

Hold with Index Finger
Hold with Index Finger | Source

Try not to rub the coin for a long time, since a lot of rubbing can wear down the coin and erase its features. If you noticed spaces between the letters and figures in the coin that still show some tarnished in them, you might want to use a cotton swab and a magnifying glass to see through those features; put some baking soda on top of the cotton swab and rub gently in between the dirty spots in the coin.

Cotton Swab
Cotton Swab | Source

After you've taken off every dirty spot out of the coin, rinse the coin thoroughly with warm water. Your coin should have attained a lustrous look after you've performed all the steps mention previously. All that is left is the place where you want to place your coin. You may try a box of matches or a jewelry box, whatever suits you better.


There are other techniques for cleaning coins, such as using lemon or orange juice, which are acids, instead of vinegar. Another simple technique for cleaning coins is by the use of a pencil eraser, although, too much rubbing can deteriorate the coin. I haven't tried any of them because cleaning coins with vinegar, salt and baking soda gave me the best results and the wear off on the coins is minimum.


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