Clean Coins Safely
Circulating coins can be filthy and carry germs, and this is the only instance in which an amateur should clean coins.
Never clean old coins you have found or inherited!
Time Required: About 10 - 15 minutes to clean a batch of 30 coins
- Set up your soapy bath.
Fill a second plastic container with distilled water, for the final rinse. Although distilled water is by far the best, you can substitute hot running tap water.
Continue Reading BelowPick up the first coin, and immerse it in the soapy water. Gently rub both sides of the coin between your fingers, paying attention to any stickiness or gunk. Rub gunk near the edges away from the center of the coin, not into it. Always work in an outward pattern. Dirt and gunk near the edges should simply be made to go over the side with your thumb, not all the way across the coin. Don't put all of your coins in the water at once! Do them one at a time, to avoid their coming in contact with each other and causing scratch marks on the surfaces.
Rinse the coin under running water, gently rubbing until all soap residue is gone. Always remember, gentleness is the key! Don't rub hard, and if you feel any grit, even light grit, don't rub it into the coin because it will scratch the coin very easily. Instead, sort of agitate the coin by moving it quickly in the water to dislodge the grit, touch it gently only if needed to free it up.Every motion you make with your fingers should be focused on not causing
scratches to the coin's surface.
Swish the coin around in the distilled water, to remove the chlorine residue and other contaminants that are found in tap water. Hold it by the edges and agitate gently. At this point, you should no longer touch the coin on its faces. Touch it only by the edges when using your bare fingers.If you must use tap water for the final rinse, then run the coin under fairly hot water.
If you use a distilled water rinse, you can set the coin on the towel to air dry. The coin should dry spot-free, because distilled water is free of dissolved minerals and other impurities.If you had to do the final rinse in hot tap water, then gently pat the coin dry to help prevent spotting. Never rub a coin dry! Always pat it dry gently with a soft cloth or tissue.
Make sure your coins are absolutely dry before putting them away. Damp coins can suffer damage over time. Remember to always handle coins only by the edges. The only coins I ever touch the faces on are the ones I am about to spend. )
- Never try to remove the natural oxidation from coins, such as the tarnish on silver. This is called "toning" and the coin is worth more with it intact. Removing it will damage the coin's surface and greatly reduce its value. In other words, no dipping, polishing, or chemical solutions should ever be used on coins.
What You Need:
- Two small plastic containers
- Mild dish detergent
- A soft towel
- Access to running tap water
- Distilled water