How to Clean Old Coins Safely

coins image by Goran Bogicevic from

Old coins, simply by virtue of having been in circulation for many years, are often caked with dirt and grime. Most coin collectors would rather look at a clean coin as opposed to a dirty one. While old coins can be safely cleaned, you must be very careful not to damage the coin in any way while you're doing it.

On the other hand, if you intend to sell the coin, you should not clean it at all since dealers usually prefer buying coins in their original state (grime and all).

Wash your old coin softly with a washcloth, ear swab or a toothbrush (with soft bristles) and whatever cleaning agent you are using.

Rinse the coin with distilled water. Tap water may include minerals that can damage an older coin. Rinse all of the cleaning agent off of the coin.

Dry the coin with a soft, clean cloth. Pat the coin instead of rubbing to avoid scratching it. Let the coin air-dry until it is completely dry.