10 Useful Ways How to Clean Copper Coins and Pennies

By Olivia Smith •  Updated: 06/20/22 • 
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10 min read

Do you have copper coins or pennies that look a little bit dirty?

Don’t worry, and I’m here to help you! I have some easy ways for you to clean your copper coins and pennies using things that you probably already have in your home.

You’ll be able to get your copper coins and pennies looking shiny and new again in no time at all – and it’s straightforward to do!

So please don’t wait any longer; read our blog post on how to clean copper coins and pennies now.

Cleaning copper coins and pennies can be fun for you and your kids. However, silver coins or copper coins can carry a lot of dirt. Because of this, it’s essential to clean them regularly.

Some of us collect copper coins as a hoppy, but over time they can become tarnished and lose their luster. If you want to clean your collection or simply have some old pennies that need a bit of TLC, you need to check the following tips.

Valuable coins should always be cleaned and shining; as time passes, the copper in coins starts to oxidize, which can be hastened by exposure to moisture or pollution in the air. As the coins circulate, they also tend to pick up dirt, grease, and other materials that can dull their appearance.

So, without further ado, let’s get started on how to clean copper coins and pennies!

How to Clean Copper Coins

How to Clean Copper Coins

As any coin collectors know, a coin’s condition can significantly impact its value. Copper coins, in particular, are susceptible to discoloration and tarnishing over time. Although many commercial products are available for cleaning copper coins, several simple household items can be just as effective.

Another option is to use ketchup. The acidity and viscosity of the ketchup help break down the dirt, while the natural sugars act as a gentle polishing agent.

Whichever method you choose, rinse the coins well afterward to remove any residual cleaner. Time and effort allow you to clean even the most heavily tarnished copper coins easily.

Ways to Clean Copper Pennies and Coins

Since we all learned in elementary school that copper pennies are worth more than other coins, most of us have been looking for ways to clean them up and get them ready to spend.

Here are a few different methods that should work well, depending on the level of dirt and tarnish on your pennies. Try the following methods below Happy cleaning! 🙂

Pencil Eraser

How to Clean Copper Coins - Pencil Eraser

As any coin collector knows, copper coins are some of a collection’s most beautiful and valuable pieces. However, over time, copper coins can become tarnished and challenging to clean. One effective way to clean copper coins is to use a pencil eraser.

First, gently rub the eraser over the surface of the coin. Cover the entire surface, including the crevices and raised areas.

Next, use a soft cloth to buff the coin and remove any remaining tarnish.

Finally, hold the coin under running water and dry it with a soft cloth. With a bit of elbow grease, you can easily clean even the most tarnished copper coins using nothing more than a pencil eraser.

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Materials Needed

Advantages
  • I think the main advantage of this method is that it is easy and you have all materials in your home.
  • There is no chemical to use.
Disadvantages
  • You may have some mess from eraser crumbs.
  • You need a lot of erasers if you have bulk coins to be cleaned.

Use Tomato Ketchup

How to Clean Copper Coins - Use Tomato Ketchup

You can use Tomato ketchup to clean your copper coins and pennies. All you need to do is pour a bit of ketchup on a paper towel and then rub the coin with it. You can also use an old toothbrush to scrub the coin if it’s filthy. Once you’re done scrubbing, rinse the coin off with water and dry it with a clean cloth.

Materials Needed

Advantages
  • This method is straightforward and only requires items that are likely to already be in your home.
  • The penny will now appear to be copper in color.
  • It’s easier than using a pencil eraser method.
Disadvantages
  • This method may not be as effective as others on this list.
  • It also may not be suitable for cleaning very dirty pennies or tarnished coins.

Use Vinegar (or Lemon Juice) and Salt

How to Clean Copper Coins - Use Vinegar (or Lemon Juice) and Salt

You can also clean your copper coins with vinegar (or lemon juice) and a teaspoon salt. Mix equal vinegar and salt, and then pour the mixture over your coins. Allow them to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with an old toothbrush. Rinse the coins off with water when you’re done and dry them with a clean cloth.

This method can create a chemical reaction so please be careful.

Materials Needed

Advantages
  • It’s effective for cleaning both dirty pennies and tarnished coins.
  • You can clean more than one at a time.
  • This method will remove the dull brown oxidation from coins and show the copper’s original color.
Disadvantages
  • This can take up to 15 minutes or more.
  • Not good with children.
  • It can make a mess with liquids.

MomShiny Tip

You should be patient with this method.

Remember that this is a low acid level, and it can take a long time for the brown color to return. It’s also important not to worry if there isn’t much change as you might have missed something!

Bouns from MomShiny: 

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar (or Lemon Juice)

How to Clean Copper Coins - Use Baking Soda and Vinegar (or Lemon Juice)

This is a classic combination for cleaning many different things and works just as well on copper coins. Simply mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar (or lemon juice), and then use a soft cloth to rub the mixture onto your coins. Let the mixture sit on the coins for a few minutes before rinsing them with clean water.

Materials Needed

Advantages
  • Kids like this method.
  • In the end, you will have shiny copper coins.

Soap and Water

How to Clean Copper Coins - Soap and Water

The most basic way to clean your coins is with soap and water. All you need is a block of mild dish soap and lukewarm water. Simply create a soapy solution in a bowl and drop your coins in. Let them soak for a few minutes before using a soft-bristled brush to scrub away any dirt or grime. Once satisfied, rinse the coins under cool running water and dry them with a soft cloth.

Materials Needed

Advantages
  • This is the safest and great way to clean your coins because there’s no risk of damaging them.
  • All materials you quickly found in your home.
  • Easy Methods.
Disadvantages
  • It’s also the least effective method because it doesn’t remove all the dirt and grime.

Olive Oil

How to Clean Copper Coins - Olive Oil

With olive oil, you can place the pennies into a bowl and add enough olive oil to cover them. Allow them to soak for 10 minutes, then use a microfiber cloth to buff the pennies until they shine.

Fill another bowl with warm water and a block of mild dish soap. Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the soapy water, then use it to wipe down each penny. Rinse the pennies with clean water, then dry them with a soft cloth.

Materials Needed

Advantages
  • Olive oil is a natural product that will not harm your pennies.
  • It is also inexpensive and easy to find.
Disadvantages
  • You will need to take extra care when cleaning your pennies with olive oil, as it can be challenging to remove all of the oil from the surface of the coin.

Cola Copper Penny Soak

How to Clean Copper Coins - Cola Copper Penny Soak

This is a straightforward way to clean your copper coins; all you need is a can of cola!

Drop your pennies into the can and leave them to soak for 10 minutes.

After this time, remove them from the cola and rinse them in clean water.

You should see that the cola has helped to remove some of the grime and dirt from your coins.

Materials Needed

Advantages
  • The cola will help to remove any grime or dirt from your coins.
Disadvantages
  • You may need to leave the coins in the cola for longer if they are filthy.

Isopropyl Alcohol

How to Clean Copper Coins - Isopropyl Alcohol

Use 70% isopropyl alcohol for best results. Apply the alcohol to a clean rag, then rub the coin until it shines. You can also pour alcohol into a small dish and drop the coins for about 5 minutes. Then, use a toothbrush to scrub any grime or dirt on the coin’s surface.

Materials Needed 

Advantages
  • Isopropyl alcohol is a potent cleaning agent that will remove most dirt and grime from your coins.
Disadvantages
  • If you leave the coins in isopropyl alcohol for too long, it can start to eat away at the surface of the coin.

You Can Use Sand

How to Clean Copper Coins - You Can Use Sand

As you hear, Sand can clean your copper coins, which helps many clean things. All you have to do is take some sand and pour it into a small container, then add water and stir until the water turns brown. After that, put your coins in the mixture and leave them for about 5 minutes. After that, use a toothbrush to scrub off the dirt and rinse them with clean water.

Materials Needed

Commercial Coins Copper Cleaning

How to Clean Copper Coins - Commercial Coins Copper Cleaning

There are many ways to clean coins, but some methods are more effective than others. I mentioned above some of my techniques to clean your copper coins; now, we will discover some beneficial products that can help you in this process:

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Goo Gone is the best way and a product found at most hardware stores that effectively removes the tarnish from your copper coins.

Materials Needed

Pros
    Cons

      Advantages

      Disadvantages 

      How to Use Goo Gone:

      1. First, you must purchase some Goo Gone from your local hardware store.
      2. Once you have the Goo Gone, you will need to apply it to a clean cloth.
      3. Then rub the tarnished areas of your coin.
      4. You may need to use a little pressure to get the desired results.

      If the dirt is still in your coins, you can use one of the methods I mentioned above after using the Goo Gone, like the soap and water or the eraser method.

      The 2-part Cleaner is a product you will need to mix before using. It can be found online or at some hardware stores.

      Materials Needed

      Advantages
      • This is a very effective method.
      • It can be less expensive than other methods.
      Disadvantages
      • You will need to purchase the two chemicals and mix them.
      • You need to take extra care when using this method.
      • Wear gloves and goggles when using this method.

      How to Use the 2-Part Cleaner:

      1. To use the 2- part cleaning method, you will need to purchase the 2-part Cleaner from an online store or your local hardware store.
      2. Once you have the 2-part Cleaner, you will need to mix it according to the directions on the package.
      3. Then apply it to a clean cloth.
      4. Next, rub the tarnished areas of your coin with the cloth until the dirt comes off.
      5. You may need to apply a little pressure to get the desired results.

      If the dirt is still in your coins, you can use one of the methods I mentioned above after using the 2-part Cleaner like the soap and water or the eraser method.

      We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

      Tarn-X is a product that can be found online or at some hardware stores. It is very effective in removing the tarnish from your copper coins.

      Materials Needed

      Advantages
      • This product is straightforward to use.
      • It is not expensive.
      • Tarn-X is safe to use.
      Disadvantages
      • Tarn-X can be harsh on some surfaces.
      • It can be Messy.
      • You need to purchase the Tarn-X.
      • Sometimes can take more time to have a good result.

      How to Use Tarn-X:

      1. First, you must purchase some Tarn-X from your local hardware store or online.
      2. Once you have the Tarn-X, you will need to apply it to a clean cloth.
      3. Then rub the tarnished areas of your coin with the fabric.
      4. You may need to use a little pressure to get the desired results.

      Olivia Smith

      Hi! I’m Olivia and I blog about helping moms make wise parenting and purchasing decisions. I’m a mom of two little ones, so I know how tough it can be to make the right choices for your family.

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