How to Clean Coins Without Scrubbing

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Pocket change is usually either spent or saved; it's rare that people examine it and decide that it really needs a good cleaning. But there are plenty of reasons why you might want to clean up coins. If you're a coin collector or if you're using change for a children's craft or educational project, for instance, you'll want to keep your coins bright and sanitary. So when the urge strikes to clean some coins, use this method and do it the easy way.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Shallow dish
  • Dirty change
  • Toothpick
  • Metal or plastic scraping tool
  • Paper towels

Go through your change carefully, checking for evidence of anything beyond the scope of tarnish and dirt. Gunk like old chewing gum, for example, won't clean off so easily with this process. If you have anything extra sticky or gunky on your coins, pick it off first with a toothpick or scraping tool.

Pour about 1/2 cup of lemon juice into a shallow dish. Sprinkle two teaspoons of salt over the juice.

Spread your change out inside the bath of lemon juice. If there isn't enough juice to cover all of the coins completely, add more until they're covered.

Sprinkle the top with two more teaspoons of salt. Let the coins soak in this bath for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, wipe each coin dry with a clean paper towel. Any remaining dirt and tarnish will wipe away cleanly.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a collection of quarters with a design for every state, look it over closely. It might look a whole lot better after a lemon juice and salt bath.
  • Don't use this technique on extremely old or valuable coins. Have these coins inspected and appraised by a professional dealer and inquire about cleaning options then.
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