How To Clean Your Coins At Home (3 Of The Most Popular Methods)

Before we begin explaining the methods to clean your coins at home without the need for expensive equipment or items. We really want to stress that if you ever plan on selling. Don’t clean them.

This is both because coin collectors would much rather they be in their original state and cleaning can actually do more damage than good.

With that being said, I know how tempting it is to clean coins and over the years of metal detecting I have cleaned many coins and tried many methods. I’ve over cleaned and probably ruined a few coins along the way.

Regardless of how you have acquired the coins you want to clean, whether that be from metal detecting, field walking or inheriting them, over the years they can get rather dirty.

Just think of how many hands they have passed through, pockets and purses they have passed through.

All of that grime, dirt and corrosion adds up.

There are so many home remedies for cleaning coins, some work fantastic and some are just too harsh and will damage your coins.

The following home coin cleaning methods are in my opinion the safest and most effective and will have your coin looking clean and shiny. Please though do not continue if the coin is rare or valuable.

The coin cleaning process could devalue your coin considerably.

At the very least if you share a cleaned coin on a Facebook group or other public forum full of coin collecting enthusiasts you’re likely to be publicly shamed or lynched.

Cleaning coins with distilled water

Cleaning coins with distilled water is perhaps the safest method of cleaning your old coins. Although not the most effective you can still get some real good results.

Using tap water, which could well have been probably treated with fluoride, can in fact cause chemical reactions with some metals and leave your coin tarnished or damaged.

You can buy distilled water from online market places such as Amazon and eBay or from a local hardware store.

There’s nothing complicated about this method of cleaning a coin, simply rinse your coin thoroughly in the distilled water or leave to soak for a while and that should help wash away some of the dirt and make your coin look cleaner.

Cleaning coins with vinegar

Vinegar as you well know is an acid, acids can cause more damage than good, however cleaning coins in vinegar can be effective, that being said I can’t stress enough how when using acids or more harsh cleaning methods for your coins you could end up with irreversible damage.

The best vinegar to use to clean your coins is white vinegar, you should be able to purchase this from a grocery store or online.

  1. Take an old empty plastic container and fill with the white vinegar.
  2. Drop the coin, or coins you would like to clean into the white vinegar.
  3. Leave to soak – Depending on the condition of the coin you can leave to soak from 30 minutes all the way through to 24 hours.
  4. Remove the coins from the white vinegar and rinse in water, you can even wipe gently clean with a non abrasive cloth or soft tooth-brush for a better clean.

Cleaning coins with electrolysis

Yes that’s right a popular method of cleaning coins is Electrolysis, it can actually be very effective but again you need to be careful. If its a rare coin or you don’t want to damage it then DO NOT CLEAN IT.

This method is a little more complicated and dangerous so please read carefully and ensure you understand fully before you try it.

There are some ready made coin cleaning electrolysis kits available to buy on eBay and Amazon should you not wish to make your own and will make the whole process much more simple.

Today though I’ll give you a quick walkthrough on how to make your very own coin cleaning electrolysis kit and how to use it.

You’re still going to need a few things before we begin:

1 x Old Phone Charger or other AC/DC adapter (1.2A)
1x Crocodile clip wires (often used as electrical test leads)
1x Plastic Container
1x Metal Spoon
Salt or Baking Soda

  1. Add water to your plastic container
  2. Add salt/baking soda to the water (a tablespoon, more if its a large container)
  3. Cut the wire of the old charger/adapter (do not cut the wall plug off you need this) and strip back the wire to expose the positive and negative wires inside.
  4. Take the crocodile clips and attach the negative (black) end and clip to the coin.
  5. Take the crocodile clips positive (red) end and clip to the spoon.
  6. Now take the other positive and negative ends of the crocodile clips and attach to the old charger wires from step 3. (black to black, red to red)
  7. Take the Spoon and Coin and place them inside the water/salt/baking soda solution.
  8. Plug in the old charger/adapter and switch on.
  9. The water should now be fizzing slightly and starting to change color (from cleaning the coin)
  10. Wait for around 10 – 20 minutes (depending on how dirty the coin is)
  11. Turn off the adapter at the wall and remove from socket.
  12. Remove the coin from the solution and unclip.
  13. Rinse in water.

Just again to stress that coin cleaning is not recommended if the coin is valuable, rare or has sentimental value. This method could destroy or damage your coin.

Pre-made electrolysis kits can be purchased online for a very small amount so I would highly recommend you order one as it saves you time and is safer.


These are 3 of the most popular home coin cleaning methods, there are hundreds more.

I’ve tried and tested many including coca cola, lemon juice, olive oil, baking soda etc but the 3 I’ve written about today have always been my most effective coin cleaning methods and have yielded the best results.

Again though I can’t stress this enough, I only ever clean coins that have no value, no historic importance, that I’m never going to sell and that have no sentimental value to me.

No matter how you are cleaning a coin, it could cause irreversible damage.

Do you know of any more popular methods that you would personally recommend, that have seen great results? Leave us a comment below. We love hearing from our readers and learning from one another.

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