How to clean medals

Written by heather montgomery
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How to clean medals
Clean your medals carefully. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Over time the reaction between the metal used in sporting or military medals and oxygen in the air will form a patina on the surface. The patina is a fine coating of oxide on the metal giving it a darker, smudged look. Most collectors prefer medals to have the patina, since removing it could damage the medal. Cleaning wooden or non-metal medals is not recommended.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Compressed air can
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Cotton bud

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  1. 1

    Used a can of compressed air to remove any dirt or debris from the medal.

  2. 2

    Mix 15 ml (1 tbsp) of soap with 500 ml (2 cups) of warm water.

  3. 3

    Saturate a rag in the soap mixture; rub the medal lightly with the rag to remove any remaining dirt. Use a cotton bud to get the dirt out of small crevices.

  4. 4

    Dry the medal with a clean cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use abrasive cleaners on metallic medals.
  • Avoid using any chemical cleaners on your medals, because they may damage the finish.

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