How to Clean Dirty Coins

Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts

A pile of dirty spare change with vinegar, salt and baking soda.My best friend always looks down at the ground when we go for walks because he is really quite lucky finding huge amounts of change in sidewalk crevices and dirt patches. He finds several dollars per week! Unfortunately, these coins are often very corroded and almost unrecognizable.


We read an article about how you can drop them into vinegar and salt baths, and then rub baking soda on to each of them individually to clean them. Sounded time consuming. We tried just putting them in a bath of vinegar, salt and baking soda, then did a bit of scrubbing and wiped them off. Beautiful, shiny, just like new.

  1. In a large container, mix together 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and 1 tablespoon salt.

    A coin bath made from vinegar, salt and baking soda.


  2. Drop in your coins and allow to sit for several hours.

    Coins soaking in a cleaning bath, next to a toothbrush.


  3. Remove coins and scrub with an old toothbrush.

    Scrubbing coins with a toothbrush.


  4. Wipe with a microfibre cloth.

A collection of clean spare change



Editor's Note: This process is fine for modern coins but older coins can be damaged by cleaning and it could affect the value. Be sure to have older coins appraised first.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 418 Posts
June 1, 20190 found this helpful

I've gotten hold of some pennies that looked like they were buried for years in a jelly jar. I had to wash them and get them ready for deposit. I looked for old ones but never found any. I'll remember this tip when Bible School starts.


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
June 5, 20190 found this helpful

Yes, please do. I was very impressed with the ease and the end results :) I think there was only one penny that still looked demolished, but I think it's cos it was run over by some heavy machinery and not really a dirt issue.

June 9, 20190 found this helpful

You can rub pennies (and maybe other coins) on the carpet to clean them.

March 29, 20211 found this helpful

PLEASE, PLEASE, have them looked at by SEVERAL coin dealers before cleaning ANY coin unless you just want a shiny coin. Even some modern coins can be valuable. Take it from someone who has lost big time!

February 3, 20220 found this helpful

I'm so glad I seen your comment. Great to know, probably the best idea. Now if I can find coin dealers around me. Lol. You know anything about copper dimes & a "mis something" on coins? I have a quarter that looks like a big pimple on the neck & is flat on back side as to know it was not tinkered with by anyone.


I'd really appreciate anything you may know & other helpful info about coins.
DeShawn Marie Jacobs

February 3, 20220 found this helpful

I find money on the ground a lot as well. Mostly pennies and dimes
I believe in the saying " pennies from Heaven " and dimes as well. There is meaning.
Just thought I'd let you know if you didn't already.
Thank you for you cleaning info.
P. S. You know anything about coins ie: copper dimes, old old coins, or what to search for to find a coin person around me? I have 1 that is very very odd too. Like to learn about coins worth.

February 26, 20220 found this helpful

I just started my coin collecting journey. I know of one or two knowledgeable and reputable folks you should contact but for the life of me I can't remember their names or organizations.


I do have one who I am sure can be a knowledgeable resource:

American Numismatic Association
818 N. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903


My email is, my name is Uno.


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