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How to clean medals

Updated March 23, 2017

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.

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

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

  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. Dry the medal with a clean cloth.

  5. Warning

    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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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

Based in Lakeland, FL., Heather Montgomery has been writing a popular celebrity parenting blog and several parenting and relationship articles since 2011. Her work also appears on eHow and Everyday Family and she focuses her writing on topics about parenting, crafts, education and family relationships. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in early education from Fort Hays State University.

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