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How to Clean Coins With 3 Effective Methods

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Coins lose their shine and color over time. With a few simple tricks, you can restore them to look as if they were just made. However, you should be careful not to apply these tricks to collectible coins, as you could damage them. Even old coins could get damaged with tap water.

5-Minute Crafts is showing you 3 methods to help you properly clean your coins and make them look as good as new. Don’t miss the bonus at the end of the article, where we’ll show you how to clean coins made of 3 different metals: gold, silver, and bronze.

1. With water and soap

Using soap to clean your coins is a practical and easy method. However, keep in mind that you should never use tap water if these are old coins. Use distilled water instead so as not to damage your coins.

What you’ll need:

  • Water (preferably distilled)
  • Paper towels
  • 1 squirt of liquid soap
  • A soft toothbrush

Instructions:

  • Place the coins under the faucet with warm water for approximately 2 minutes. Remember to cover the drain to prevent any coins from falling in and clogging it. If your coins are old, then DON’T use water from the tap — use distilled water instead.

  • Let them air-dry on a kitchen towel.
  • Fill a small container with warm water and add a splash of soap.
  • Place the coins in the soapy water, one by one.
  • Rub them with a toothbrush.
  • If they’re still dirty, soak them for a couple of minutes more and scrub again.
  • Remove them and let them dry on absorbent paper. Make sure they’re dried well before storing them to avoid damaging them.

2. With alcohol and salt

The salt acts as a catalyst and accelerates the action of the alcohol that will clean the coins.

What you’ll need:

  • 8 parts isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 part table salt

Instructions:

  • Add the parts of salt that you’ll use to the container with the alcohol. Remember that’s it’s an 8:1 ratio, and the goal is to soak the coins in the resulting solution.
  • Mix until the ingredients are well combined.
  • Place the coins you want to clean in the container. It’s better if you don’t put in too many at the same time so that they can be washed well.
  • Let them soak for a minimum of 2 hours for the solution to act. It may take a little longer, depending on how dirty the coins are.

3. With vinegar

The rust-dissolving properties of acetic acid is the compound that helps coins regain their luster. Many common ingredients, drinks, and foods contain acetic acid, including ketchup and vinegar.

What you’ll need:

  • Cold water
  • Hot water
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 dry cloth

Instructions:

  • Wash the coins in cold water, preferably under the tap, so that the water pressure helps to remove any excess dirt. Don’t do this if your coins are old — in that case, it’s better to use distilled water. Remember to plug the drain.
  • Put the coins in a container with vinegar for approximately 2 minutes.
  • Place the coins under running hot water. If they’re old coins, use distilled water instead.
  • Dry with a cloth without rubbing them.

Bonus: how to clean gold, silver, and bronze coins

  • Gold: Place them in a bowl of hot soapy water and let them sit there for a while.

  • Silver: In a container, squeeze out some lemon juice and let the coins soak in it for approximately 6 minutes.

  • Bronze: Soak your coins in olive oil or distilled water for a couple of weeks.

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