How To Clean Old Coins
There's nothing like knowing how to clean old coins to make sure that you have a wealth of shiny currency at your disposal. Coins get tarnished over the years, and a with a few simple steps, you can get your coins sparkling clean again. If you are worried about the value of your coin, your best bet is to not clean it. Coin collectors are more interested in your coins being in the original condition.
- The first step in cleaning coins should always be to wash them off with soap and water. Get a plastic sandwich bag, fill with warm water and add a spurt of dish detergent. Seal up the bag and shake up. Rinse off with warm water, and then cold water. Never use a metal container to clean or store your coins as the metals could react to each other, adversely effecting your coins.
- If any of your coins have a significant amount of grime on them at this point, feel free to clean it off with a Q-Tip dipped in petroleum jelly. With each piece of grime that you remove, use a different Q-tip, as you risk scratching your coin.
- Because each metal has different characteristics, there are different techniques used for each:
- Gold Coins - Gold is softer than most other metals, so great care must be taken when cleaning. First run the coin under warm water and brush lightly with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Then add soap and lather with your fingers. Rub dry with a lint free rag.
Silver Coins - Soak in vinegar until grime has been dislodged. Air or pat dry. DO NOT rub the coin while it is still wet as this may remove a great deal of the coin's surface.
Copper Coins - Soak in olive oil until corrosion has disappeared. This could take a very long time; in some cases up to a year. Do not get discouraged.
Nickel Coins - Nickel is a very durable substance. Clean with soap and water, brushing with a toothbrush.
Patience is key here. Do not rub your coins too hard or you will permanently damage them, especially if they have a caustic substance in them.
Many of these steps use substances that may harm your skin or eyes. Wear latex or rubber gloves, and if you get any fluids in your eye, immediately contact your poison control center. Especially when cleaning your coins, do not let them get in contact with other metals.