Cleaning Coins: Tips, Tricks, And Everything In-Between

Metal Detecting Coin Cleaning Tips

coin cleaning

If you’re a metal detecting enthusiast, you have probably come across your fair share of old coins discoveries. There are many methods and approaches to take while cleaning coins, but it’s extremely vital to do your research. Depending on the type of coin you have, it’s possible to do more harm than good.

Less experienced individuals who try rubbing the dirt or grime off of coins will actually cause it to become scratched, damaged, and ultimately about half as valuable as it once was.

It is recommended to not clean coins at all if you believe it may be worth a pretty penny (pun intended), but if you’re willing to take the challenge or just have finds that need a little sparkle read below to learn how to clean old coins properly.

Tumbler Method

If you’ve found a clad coin, you may want to invest in a rock tumbler. You can purchase a tumbler at a hardware store or online for a decent price. These coins are typically only as valuable as their worth, making them great for vending machines or as loose change.

You’ll need to buy aquarium gravel and fill the tumbler about half way. Once you’ve placed your clad coins on top, add water and a tad of soap, and let it run for about 12 hours. After you should have glossy, clean coins, good as new.

Archaeologists Tricks

A trick we’ve picked up from archaeologists is to soak your coins within a container of distilled water and then putting it into the freezer. This is ideal if you’re willing to do a few reps and are looking to not damage your finds.

Most nickel or silver coins found within the ground are black tarnished. The idea is that the water will attack the dirt on the coin and as it freezes and expands it will break the dirt.

Another option is to use the Mayor’s cleaning method. To do this correctly, you will need aluminum foil and washing powder from Arm & Hammer. Fold the sheet of aluminum into 2 or 3-inch strips and place it at the bottom of your container.

Once you’ve placed the coin onto the aluminum, add the washing soda. After, pour an inch or so of boiling water over the coins. As soon as it’s done fizzing, rinse the coins and repeat if necessary.

The “Dip” Approach

This technique is considered less damaging than others, so it’s a good option if you’re just looking to give your coins a good cleaning. The process entails dipping the coins in a jar of ammonia and then polishing them after.

This process works best for gold and silver coins. If you’d like to remove the tone of the coin and don’t mind the damage it will have, you can use a cream or abrasive cleanser to get your coins a little shine. After, place your coins in a white vinegar filled container. Shake it, let it sit overnight, and rinse the coins next day.

Cleaning Products

Of course, there are a number of products available to help you with the cleaning process.

Metal polishes work best on silver, chrome, gold, brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and copper.

All you’ll have to do is add a decent amount onto a soft cloth and rub the coin until it appears buffed. As always, do your research to guarantee the integrity of the coin!

Back to The Basics Metal Detecting Coin Cleaning Tips

Last but not least, the most common way to clean old coins is to submerge them in baking soda and give them a good scrubbing with a toothbrush. This method is best for silver coins that are in need of a little counteraction from the environmental elements.

Remember to use a soft toothbrush and to not put too much pressure on the coin. Coins that have been exposed are delicate and can damage easily so taking your time with a thorough washing is vital.

Again, we recommend to not clean your coins if you’re looking to sell. Coin collectors and dealers enjoy coins that are in their natural state and original condition of preservation. Although, if you’re looking to just clean old coins metal detecting at home, it will be worth the investment of time to gain the necessary skills.

As always GL & HH

Hi, I'm Brian and I've been digging for the best part of 10 years. I decided to set up Metal Detector List to provide impartial reviews of the very best metal detectors on the market to enable hunters of all levels to make an informed decision before making a purchase

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