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clean old coins

How to Clean Old Coins Before Selling Them Online Without Damaging Them

8 min read

If you’re into scavenging for old coins, chances are you’ve stumbled upon some worn-out ones. You might be eager to clean them but worried about potential damage.

Well, there’s good news! We’ve got some do’s and don’ts to help you clean your precious metal treasures without any mishaps. Let’s dive into how you can successfully clean your old coins.

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Cleaning or Not?

Before cleaning an old coin, it’s important to consider if it’s collectible. If you’ve got a historical gem like the Monroe Half Dollar, for instance, it’s probably best to leave it as is. Cleaning might do more harm than good, removing its original finish and causing discoloration. You definitely don’t want to devalue your investment.

The upcoming tips on cleaning old coins without damage are handy, but remember they’re more for coins you’re not planning to sell for profit.

How to Clean Old Rare Coins Without Messing Up Their Value

Just give them a good rinse under water, that’s it! If you’ve got a valuable collectible coin, play it safe and let a pro appraise and clean it.

But hey, if you’ve got some old coins that aren’t worth much (or you’re not sure), you can try cleaning them at home. Just use stuff like vinegar, baking soda, or water, depending on the metal. Make sure not to damage them though!

How to Gently Clean Coins With Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Baking Soda, and Soap

Here’s the ultimate coin-cleaning hack you can try at home to spruce up those non-collectible or valuable coins. Just follow the steps below, and you’ll have that old, oxidized penny looking fresh in no time!

Materials needed

  • Distilled white vinegar (or fresh lemon juice)
  • Salt
  • Shallow plastic container
  • Cloth or paper towel
  • Baking soda
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Toothbrush

Step 1  Mix it up

Mix together 1 cup of white vinegar (or lemon juice) with 1 tablespoon of salt in a jar. Stir until the salt is all dissolved.

Step 2  Fill a plastic bin

Go ahead and pour the mixture into the plastic container. Make sure there’s enough liquid so that when you place the pennies on the bottom, they’re completely submerged. If not, simply add more of the cleaning mixture.

Step 3  Soak coins

Put the coins into the plastic bin, making sure they don’t touch each other. Give it about 15 minutes.

Step 4  Wipe coins

Take out the coins and give them a wipe with a cloth or paper towel. They should look all shiny. If that stubborn layer of brown oxidation doesn’t budge, pop the coins back in the container and let them soak for another five minutes.

Step 5  Scrub coins with baking soda

Want a hands-on way to clean coins? Give this method a try:

  • Mix a bit of water with a tablespoon of baking soda to make a paste.
  • Grab an old toothbrush and gently scrub each coin with the paste.
  • Rinse the coins to unveil their shiny surfaces. Enjoy the sparkle!

Step 6  Clean coins with dish soap

If your coins are still dirty, here’s what you can do:

  • Fill up a plastic container with warm water, around 1 inch deep.
  • Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid and give it a good mix to create some bubbles.
  • Toss the coins in and rub each one until they shine bright.
  • Rinse with warm water and let them dry.

Tada! Good as new!

How to Clean Old Silver Coins Safely

To clean old silver coins, there’s a nifty trick: grab some aluminum foil and an electrolyte solution.

Wrap the coin in foil and plop it into a bowl with baking soda and water or salt and water. Let it soak for a few minutes, then carefully unwrap. Voila! Your silver coin will shine bright like new, no damage done.

It’s the fastest, safest way to bring back the sparkle. Silver coins tarnish with moisture or air exposure, but electrolytes have the magic touch to remove that tarnish without harming the metal.

And hey, with silver’s demand on the rise, it’s always good to know the best way to keep those coins gleaming!

How to Clean Old Copper Coins

Cleaning old copper coins is a breeze. All you need is a little H2O. However, it’s crucial to heed this advice: opt for distilled water instead of tap. The reason being, tap water often contains chemicals that could potentially harm these precious relics.

To restore ancient corroded copper coins without causing them harm, simply submerge them in a bowl of hot distilled water overnight. Come morning, remove the coins from the bowl and allow them to air-dry.

This method reigns supreme when it comes to sprucing up antiquated copper coins. The use of any other cleaning agents is highly discouraged. Let’s delve into science, shall we? Oxidation is copper’s innate defense mechanism. When copper is exposed to the elements, it develops a captivating azure patina, serving as a safeguard against further damage. Stripping away this protective layer would leave the copper vulnerable and bereft of its natural defenses.

How to Clean Old Coins with Coke (if you’re feeling adventurous)

When it comes to cleaning dirty coins at home, Coca-Cola provides an option. This is because Coke contains phosphoric acid, which reacts with metal oxides due to its acidic nature.

To clean your old coins using Coke, simply fill a bowl with it and allow them to soak. It is important to exercise caution and not let the coins soak for too long, as fizzy soda has the potential to dissolve metals.

It is recommended to periodically check on your coins every 15 minutes or so to ensure that the corrosion is being removed effectively.

How to Clean Coins with Hydrogen Peroxide (unsafe for old coins)

Hydrogen peroxide is a fantastic solution for removing dirt from coins while also sterilizing them. Simply place the coins in a bowl and ensure they are completely covered with hydrogen peroxide. Allow them to soak for a full 24 hours. Afterward, rinse the coins with water and gently dry them using a cloth. This method will restore the coins to their former glory, leaving them clean and pristine.

How to Clean Coins with Ketchup

Don’t do that. It’s ridiculous.

How to Keep Your Coins Clean Longer

  • Handle coins with care. Always grip them between your thumb and index finger while handling.
  • Protect your hands. When dealing with collectible coins or after cleaning them, wear gloves to prevent smudges and fingerprints. The natural oils from your skin may corrode the coins.
  • Ensure dryness. Moisture can cause discoloration, while saliva can leave stubborn spots that are hard to remove.
  • Store properly. Use holders that are acid-free and PVC-free to safeguard your collectible coins. Acid and PVC can both harm the coins, with PVC potentially leaving a sticky, slimy green coating on the surface.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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