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How to Clean Coins with Hydrogen Peroxide

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Old coins get corroded, grimy, and dirty over time. Coins spend years in the dirt, banks, drawers, purses, pockets, and even gutters. If that’s your case, you might need something strong to effectively clean them, like hydrogen peroxide. You need a great guide to help you learn how to clean coins with hydrogen peroxide.

How to Clean Coins using Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is the perfect, all natural solution to clean coins with. Its as simple as dropping the coins in the hydrogen peroxide solution and then waiting for 1-2 days.

Before you start, get rid of any excess dirt and debris where applicable. Avoid using a metal polish or jewelry cleaner. Instead, rinse the coins using running water. 

If you believe your water is corrosive, use distilled water. You can use gentle dish soap to loosen some of the dirt. Use a soft toothbrush or your fingertips to remove excess dirt. 

Hydrogen peroxide is a product renowned as a multi-purpose cleaner. People have used it for various household cleaning projects. It is also a great coin cleaning product.

Step 1: Choose the Right Concentration

Do not use any hydrogen peroxide product you come across. Make sure it has a concentration of at least 35% and not more than 40%. You can buy it from your local stores or online stores.

How to clean coins with hydrogen peroxide

Step 2: Protect Yourself

Put on protective clothing such as gloves and a dust coat. If you do not have a dust coat, you can cover yourself using an old bedsheet. Protecting yourself is just a precautionary measure to protect you and your clothes from getting into contact with hydrogen peroxide.

Step 3: Find Items You Need

Once you have the hydrogen peroxide, find a container to place the coins. It should be large enough to fit the coins and hydrogen peroxide. For instance, if you are cleaning a handful of coins, a large bowl will suffice.

Step 4: Start the Process

Put the coins in the container and put hydrogen peroxide. Make sure you pour enough to ensure all coins are submerged. Never mix hydrogen peroxide with another product when you are cleaning coins. This may result in a reaction that could cause serious bodily harm. 

Step 5: Soak the Coins

Let the coins sit in the container for at least 24 hours. Check the coins to see if they are clean or not. If they are not clean, you can pour out the used hydrogen peroxide and repeat the steps above. Usually, soaking for a second time should ensure all your coins are cleaned. 

Step 6: Finish Up

When you feel satisfied with the results, remove the coins from the container and place them in your sink. Rinse thoroughly using tap water. This may take a couple of minutes. Air dry them and you will have successfully learned how to clean coins with hydrogen peroxide.

How to Clean Coins Without Hydrogen Peroxide

If hydrogen peroxide is not an option for you, there are simpler alternatives you can try.

For this method, you will need salt and isopropyl alcohol. They are acids and abrasive chemicals making them good for cleaning your coins. Make sure you do not use this method on antique and valuable coins.

Pile of coins scattered on a table
  • Create the Solution: Make a coin bath in a bowl by combining two tablespoons of table salt and a cup (200 ml) of isopropyl alcohol. Mix the solution for about thirty seconds.
  • Soak the Coins: Place your coins in the solution and let them soak. Ideally, it should be anything from 24 hours to seven days. The duration is determined by the amount of dirt on the coins. 
  • Finish Up: Rinse the coins using tap water, although distilled water is recommended. Use a cloth to dab the coins and air dry them. Make sure you don’t stack the coins when you dry them. If you are in a humid region, turn over the coins after air-drying them for a few hours.

Note: isopropyl alcohol is flammable and has a strong scent. Make sure you are working in a properly ventilated area when soaking the coins.

Finally, never use heated air to quicken the drying process. Extreme temperatures will affect the “shine” of your coins. In case you notice dust or cotton from the dabbing process, blow the coin to remove it. Never used canned air as they have impurities that may corrode your coins. 

What You Need to Consider While Cleaning Coins

There are several things you should consider before you clean any coin. These are all important details to know to avoid damaging any valuable, collectible or meaningful coin in your collection.

Age

The age of the coin is a factor you need to consider before you begin the cleaning process. Coins that are more than half a century old are usually classified as antique currency. These coins are very valuable.

Cleaning them may result in a devaluation of up to 90%. So if you are a coin collector, avoid cleaning coins that are more than 50 years old. However, if you believe the coins hold more of a sentimental than monetary value, clean them.

Type of Metal

Coins are made using metals such as nickel, zinc, and copper. All these metals have a different composition. If you plan on using products from your local store, make sure they will not corrode your coins.

Coins placed on a sponge

For instance, if you want to clean copper coins, make sure the material you use does not corrode copper. To be on the safe side use hydrogen peroxide. It has proven to be efficient in cleaning all types of coins. 

Storage

Now that you have cleaned the coins, you would want to store them properly. The following are tips to follow for proper coin storage.

Never store coins in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Room temperature is the optimal temperature for storing coins. You should store coins in places with the least likelihood of falling over.

Find hard, acid-free plastic holders to store your cleaned coins. Hard plastics are the most suitable for storing coins in any environment. Ensure these containers are airtight and do not have any moisture. 

Never use paper since it contains sulfur which may turn your coins black. Additionally, never mix the coins with other items as they may get corroded easily. 

Final Thoughts

Removing dirt and corrosion from coins requires the right items, techniques, and a gentle touch. The methods listed above are the least invasive. However, if you find them to be a challenge, you can source the services of a professional coin cleaner.

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.