How to Clean Coins? (Safely Clean Precious Coins)

Last Updated on April 14, 2022

Collecting old coins is not just satisfying but can also be valuable. Of course, if you are collecting coins, you’ll want to keep them clean and keep them in the best condition as much as possible. 

But at some point, you might be wondering if you should clean your coins? If so, what is the right way to clean it? Well, we’re here to give the right information you need about coins and dos and don’ts when it comes to cleaning it.


How to clean coins?

There are lots of suggested ways when it comes to cleaning coins. One of the safest ways is to clean it with coke.


Just get a glass or tub, place your coin inside then pour over the coke until the coin is fully submerged. Leave it for 5 minutes then check the coin if it’s looking good. If you think it needs more cleaning, then leave it for another 15 minutes or so.

Then remove the coin from the coke, rinse with water. Wipe it off with a clean cloth.

Remember, if you want to try this method, avoid mixing coins together when soaking in coke. Some coins may discolor the others.

Distilled water

Most water is treated with fluoride and this can cause chemical reactions to some metals. Just simply rinse your coin with distilled water then pat it dry.

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Just get vinegar and a container. Soak the coin in the vinegar for a minute, if you think it needs more soaking then leave it for another then rinse with water, pat it dry.

Tomato paste or ketchup

Just like vinegar, tomatoes and ketchup are slightly acidic. So this is a good substitute if you don’t have vinegar. Just leave your coin for a minute or so then rinse with running water. Pat it dry with a clean cloth afterwards.

Should coin collectors clean their coins?

You might be itching to clean your old coins, but you shouldn’t. Don’t clean your collectible coins because cleaning them will only devalue your pieces. 

Using chemicals or scrubbing coins while cleaning them could possibly leave marks or scratches on your coins. Signs of age is one thing that coin collectors look for a coin and losing it while cleaning is not a good one for its value.

What are the things coin collectors look for in a coin?

Coin collectors grade coins due to a number of factors. They check the date, rarity of the coin, the mint where it was produced and the condition of the piece. They grade the coins according to its wear and dents, not its superficial aesthetics such as its cleanliness and brightness.

Coin collectors desired and appreciated the patina in the coin. It’s a green film that forms on old metals. For this reason coin experts never clean their coins before selling it to preserve its form and value.

Nevertheless, if you want to test cleaning coins, just use new coins or clean the coins that you are not planning to sell. You can start by lightly brushing it with a soft brush or just simply quick rinse with running water. Avoid rubbing your coins and just let it dry naturally.

Jackie Palmer is a Houston-based coin journalist and fashion enthusiast. She joined Jewels Advisor’s content team after years of experience as a content strategist, managing blogs and social channels for local stores. Jackie mostly collects and studies US coins produced during the 20th century and over the years, published hundreds of articles for multiple coin publications.