How to Clean Pennies with Lemon Juice

Written by nicole byerly
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How to Clean Pennies with Lemon Juice
Clean dirty pennies with lemon juice. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Pennies are one of the most common items for coin collectors to have on hand. Maintaining a collection of pennies requires cleaning them in order to preserve their positive qualities and appearance. Collectors often clean pennies with lemon juice because it is one of the least expensive and least evasive ways to properly maintain a collection without causing damage. Cleaning pennies with lemon juice is a task any individual can tackle in under five minutes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Lemon
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • 2 bowls
  • Pennies
  • Cotton swabs
  • Water
  • Paper towels

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  1. 1

    Place the lemon on the cutting board and cut it in half. Place each half cut-side down, and slice each half in half.

  2. 2

    Squeeze each of the lemon slices into one bowl and drop in all of the pennies. Arrange the pennies so they are all exposed to lemon juice and none are covered by other pennies. Allow pennies to soak for a minimum of five minutes.

  3. 3

    Fill the other bowl with warm water and set a paper towel next to the bowl. This will create a finalisation station for cleaning the pennies.

  4. 4

    Remove one penny from the bowl, and scrub each side thoroughly with a cotton swab. Work the cotton swab into cracks and crevices along the surface of the penny.

  5. 5

    Drop the cleaned penny into the bowl of warm water. This will remove the sticky residue from the penny which is created by the lemon juice. Dry it with a paper towel to prevent future markings from developing.

  6. 6

    Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the remaining pennies. Set pennies on a safe surface when finished.

Tips and warnings

  • Add a dash of salt to the lemon juice to speed up the cleaning process.
  • Air bubbles in lemon juice may cause dark spotting on pennies.

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