Cleaning Coins with Coke
Coins are wonderful items to collect, however, you will probably find that they are pretty dirty when you receive them — especially if you hunt for them with a metal detector.
Using coke has proven to be one of the easiest methods to clean your coins. However, let us first look at the potential risks involved…
Does Coke Damage Coins?
Coke includes phosphoric acid which is the active ingredient that cleans the coins. However, if you let it sit for too long, it will damage the surface (and therefore the value) of your coins.
Just like in life — do everything in moderation and you will be fine!
Additionally, it is important to note that you should never clean valuable coins. It may be surprising to some, but wiping off the dirt of coins that are worth something can reduce their value by a significant amount.
Patina, which is a layer of tarnish that, after many years, will form on the coin that most collectors love because they assess their value based on the date and condition of the coin. So, do not clean this part off if it is valuable!
Also, never mix different types of coins when you are soaking them. Why? It is because some coins will discolor others, depending on the material they are made from.
How to Clean Coins with Coke
Before you begin, make sure you have identified the type of coin you are about to clean. To verify this, look at the date and mintmark if you can see it at this point.
Fill a bowl or tray with Coke — you won’t need this to start with but it will be used later on.
To rinse the coins, you need access to a sink and a plug. Why is the plug necessary? Well, as you may imagine, coins can become quite slippery when they are wet and if you drop it, you will be saying ‘goodbye’ to it as you wash it swirl down the plughole!
Turn the cold tap on and rinse each coin under it. Remember to not rub it while this is happening as you could end up scratching the surface.
After you have rinsed them all, the bowl of Coke now comes into play. Drop the coins into it (assuming they are all the same type of course) and leave them there for around 5 minutes.
Once the time is up, rinse them under the cold tap again and check their state. If they’re clean then you can start drying them! However, if the coins aren’t clean yet then return them to the Coke bowl for 15 minutes.
After the time is up, use a toothbrush — children’s ones work well — to brush the still-dirty area. The dirt should come away at this point and then you can rinse for the last time.
When it comes to drying the coin, make sure to pat it with a soft cloth instead of rubbing it.
Now you know all the details, we thought we would do you the honor of an easy to follow step-by-step guide so you can follow along without all the jargon!
- Identify the coin type.
- Put the plug into the sink.
- Rinse under the cold tap.
- Pour the Coke into a bowl.
- Place coins into the Coke bow.
- Set the timer for 5 minutes.
- Rinse under the cold tap again.
- If they are still dirty, put back in the Coke bowl.
- Set the timer for 15 minutes.
- Brush gently with a child’s toothbrush.
- Rinse again.
- Pat dry with a soft cloth.