How to clean old coins safely without damaging them – the best way

Coins are exposed to aggressive damage that can be caused by external agents. Consequently, they can become dirty, rust and eventually deteriorate, especially those that are long-lived or buried.

Although some are quite new like the 2 euro ones, they accumulate dust and dirt so you should clean them regularly. They can be made of various materials such as gold, silver, copper, brass alloys.

Such is the value that they can have, that collectors are very concerned about cleaning their old rusty coins without losing their value for a better appraisal and selling the coins at the best price. A clean coin price is higher than a corroded coin or a dirty coin. So when they are sold or auctioned, they will present the best appearance and therefore greater value.

Whether they are a silver coin, copper coin, gold or bronze, if they are oxidized, a coin collector has to clean them well. It is important to know how to clean old coins correctly so as not to spoil or damage them.

dry your coin collection

Antique Coin cleaning ensures greater durability. In addition, during the process, bacteria, dirt (if they were buried), dust that can cause accelerated oxidation can be eliminated. Also if they were buried they will be dirty. That is why all collectors know each of the cleaning and maintenance processes of all the pieces in their collection.

In this way they will gain years of life and the value of a valuable coin can increase over the years, due to how well they are cared for.


How do you clean old coins without damaging them

Easy wash

In order not to spoil them and that they do not lose their value, we will use a simple wash. Simple washing consists of washing your coins in a little warm water. The best way to do this cleaning is under a stream of warm water. The pressure of the tap water allows to eliminate the dust accumulated in an old coin. Ideally, the coins should be held under running clean water for about two minutes.

You should know that some are more difficult to clean, especially those that are made of copper. This is because they are more susceptible to being damaged by the environment, especially when compared to nickel or silver. Therefore, it is important to carry out a very deep cleaning in these cases.


Liquid soap and water

how to clean coins

You can use a soap and water solution to clean the coins. In this case a large bowl is used to mix the soapy water. They are soaked in this solution and rubbed with their fingers. In this way, all the dirt present on the coin is removed.

If they are very dirty, they can be left to soak a little in the soapy solution. The advantage of using soap is that it does not contain acids that can damage or spoil the coins.

If you have very dirty old silver, gold, copper or bronze coins, the best thing you can do is scrub them with a soft bristle brush or a piece of cloth. It is recommended that cleaning be done when the coin is in the water, and while the soil is removed it should be rubbed gently with the fingers. This is how the dirt is removed and prevents the coin from being scratched by any dirt particles it contains. You can also use an old toothbrush to help you with the process or an ultrasonic cleaner.

It is important to dry the coins using a towel. They should be placed separately on a towel and then placed in a dry place. This ensures that each one dries completely. They should never be stored when wet, because it can accelerate their damage, especially the oxidation state.


How to clean with vinegar

Another option for the conservation, cleaning and care of your rusty and dirty coins is to use vinegar.

Vinegar is a widely used cleaning compound. Vinegar removes rust that is so present on antique objects like a coin. These are the steps we will follow to clean with vinegar:

  1. We open the tap with cold water.
  2. We place the coins under the pressure tap to remove debris.
  3. We prepare a mixture of hot water and vinegar in a container.
  4. We put them to clean in the container and leave them for about 15 minutes.
  5. Then we put them back under the cold water tap.
  6. We dry with kitchen paper or equivalent.


Cleaning with solution for soaking, alcohol, salt and distilled water

Another way to clean your old coins is to prepare a soaking solution. For this you can use isopropyl alcohol and salt. It is the perfect combination for cleaning buried coins because they are abrasive and acidic chemicals that remove any accumulation of dirt.

The perfect amount for this preparation is a cup of alcohol and two tablespoons of common salt. They are mixed in a deep bowl and the coins are soaked. It is important to leave them like this within a period of two hours to a week, this will depend on how dirty they are.

After soaking time, you should begin to rinse them in the sink with a little distilled water. Distilled water allows to completely remove the chemicals from the coins, which prevents further deterioration.

To dry them, you need to touch them lightly with a soft towel. Then place them separately and let them air dry. You may need to wait a few minutes to turn the coins. The cleaning process is repeated as many times as necessary until they have dried on both sides.

It is also necessary to avoid stacking many on the towel, since they can get damp and over time begin to damage. They should never be exposed to high temperatures, as this affects the patina of the coin and consequently begins to deteriorate, so it is not recommended to apply hot air to the coins.

In case you notice that they have traces of cotton or dust after drying, they can be blown a little. Although, as we already said, it is not correct to use a hair dryer to remove dust.


Some tips for better conservation

cleaning coins

Collectible coins require a more cautious care process. If you have very old and high-value coins, it is advisable to go to a professional for the cleaning process. Remember that very old coins should not be cleaned as you would with other coins.

It is necessary to consider that those exposed to various external agents can help increase their value. However, it is important that you take into account some tips that allow you to keep each of your oldest and oldest coins in good condition.

You can dab a little Vaseline with a Q-tip to each of your coins, then use a microfiber cloth and clean the entire coin. In this case, the petroleum jelly will collect all the soil without damaging it.

Another trick is to soak these coins in acetone for about 5 seconds. Then you must rinse each coin with distilled water, thus eliminating all the acetone residues. If the coin is left with a little acetone it is possible that the coin will turn brown.

Since acetone is a non-acidic solvent, you can clean your coins without any problem. It will not affect your exposure with acetone as it is not a flammable product.

It is important that you always hold them by their edges, since if you take it by its face or seal, over time the oils that come off your fingers can cause some kind of damage. Remember to use a soft towel every time you clean your coins, this prevents damage greater than that caused by time.


How to keep a coin and improve its state of conservation

Cleanliness is very important for conservation. However, apart from cleaning coins there are other additional actions that we can take to increase the life, and status of our coins.

Follow these tips to conserve your coins:

The place where you keep your collectibles is its main element of protection. Be it a drawer, a collector’s album, sleeves or others. It is important to store your collection somewhere to avoid contact with dust, oxidation and others. You can buy it in a specialized store or in any stationery store.
The corner of your home where you deposit your collection should be dry and free of moisture. Moisture is a bad ally of the state of the coins due to the metal with which they are made.


How to clean old coins in Video