How to clean antique keys

Written by charles poole
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How to clean antique keys
Clean your antique keys without harming them. (key. image by Yuri Bizgaimer from

An antique key could be worth some money if it’s from the right year and has a great story to go along with it. One of the biggest concerns with cleaning an antique key is whether the cleaning solution will do more damage than good. Some cleaning solutions can devalue the key and leave it worthless. This is the last thing you want to do if you suspect that the key could be worth money.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Baking soda
  • Old toothbrush
  • Towel
  • Plastic container
  • Vinegar

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  1. 1

    Run warm water over the key.

  2. 2

    Dip the key in baking soda.

  3. 3

    Scrub the key with an old toothbrush.

  4. 4

    Run water over the key to wash off the dirt and baking soda.

  5. 5

    Dry the key with a towel.

  1. 1

    Put your key in an old soda bottle or other plastic container.

  2. 2

    Fill the plastic container with vinegar so that it just covers the key.

  3. 3

    Screw the top onto the container and shake the vinegar and key up for about a minute.

  4. 4

    Leave the key in the solution overnight.

  5. 5

    Rinse the key with warm water and dry it with a towel.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use harsh chemicals on your old keys. It will eat away at the brass.

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