Although the value of your silver coins stays relatively consistent, their condition does not. Over time, your silver coins and bars may lose color. While a little bit of tarnish will not affect your silver’s metal value, it can significantly bring down resale value. Silver dealers and individual buyers are far more likely to purchase clean, well-kept coins.
The information below will give you an easy step-by-step process on how to clean silver coins. You won’t get every speck of tarnish off the metal, but these techniques will have your coins looking fresh.
While you can clean all common silver coins, you should be careful when cleaning rare old coins. Rare collectibles are incredibly delicate, and any misguided attempt at cleaning them might jeopardize their worth.
When silver reacts to certain gases in the air, such as sulfur, it can create a dark-colored layer known as tarnish on your silver coin’s or bar’s surface. Whenever there is tarnish on your coins, it can leave your hands feeling sticky and smelling metallic after touching them.
While there are numerous debates among the bullion buyer community about whether or not it’s a good idea to clean your silver coins, this post is to help any coin collector who hates having their coins covered in tarnish and wants to do something about it.
All the steps below on how to clean silver coins only require items you can find at home. If your silver coins are not rare collectibles, then the cleaning process is much more comfortable. These techniques are not only great for cleaning silver coins but any other silver material such as jewelry, silverware, silver bars, etc.
Keep these in mind before you begin cleaning your silver coins:
Things You Will Need:
The following is one of the easiest and effective ways to clean your cold coins, rounds, or bars.
Use either side of the aluminum foil to line your container completely. Make sure to leave little or no gaps, if possible. You may need to add a few layers of foil.
Generously sprinkle baking soda over the layer of aluminum foil. Keep adding baking soda until you can no longer see the aluminum foil on the bottom of the container.
Place your silver coins in the center of the container with the side with the most tarnish facing up. If both sides contain a fair amount of tarnish, you will need to repeat the process to clean either side.
Add more baking soda to the container. Make sure there is enough to cover your coins completely. Then, add hot water to the container until all your silver coins are submerged. After you pour the water, add another pinch of baking soda to the silver coins. Keep your coins soaking for at least 5 to 10 minutes. The more tarnish on your coins, the longer they will need to soak.
Grab your latex gloves and lightly scrub your coins using the baking soda and water blend. This step requires you to be careful because scrubbing too hard can scratch your coins, and you do not want that. Make sure to thoroughly clean each part of the coin and remove as much tarnish as possible.
After scrubbing, rinse your silver coins in cold water. If you still see any tarnish, add more baking soda, and repeat step 5. This step is crucial because neglecting to rinse your coins can lead to white spots on the surface.
Check over your coins to see if there is any tarnish left over. If you notice your coins are not immaculate, repeat the necessary steps until your coins are desirable.
Things You Will Need:
Here is another simple and effective technique to get your silver coins looking good as new.
Use the aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the container completely. Make sure to evenly distribute the foil and try not to leave any gaps. Add a second layer if necessary.
Take your fabric softener and iodized table salt and sprinkle them over the aluminum foil. Make sure to obscure the foil completely.
Gently place your silver coins, rounds, or bars on top of the fabric softener and salt blend.
Completely submerge your coins in hot water. Let your silver sit in the mixture for at least 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much tarnish there is.
Put on your latex gloves and use your disposable toothbrush to scrub off the tarnish gently. Although it might be your first instinct, try not to scrub too hard. Otherwise, you could scratch your coins, which will further ruin their appearance.
After scrubbing your coins, rinse them with cold water to remove any excess tarnish or debris. If you notice your coins are not clean enough, repeat steps 4 and 5.
Thoroughly check your silver coins to see if you missed any spots. If everything checks out, you can now enjoy your new-looking silver coins.
Who would have thought toothpaste is not just for cleaning your pearly whites? Toothpaste has similar properties as silver polish. While it should not be your go-to choice, toothpaste is an inexpensive way to clean your silver coins in a pinch.
The intense acidic content in lemon juice works as an excellent helper for breaking down tarnish, grime, and other nasty compounds found on your silver coins. However, you might not want to use lemon juice to clean rare collectible coins.
Freezing your silver coins can help remove dirt and tarnish. Fill up a container with water, gently place your silver coins inside, and put it in the freezer. The freezing water makes your silver coins expand, causing the dirt and grime to fall off.
This technique requires some time, but if you do it correctly, it produces an excellent result. Place your silver coins in a container filled with olive oil and let them sit. When you see the oil has become black, swap it out for new oil and repeat this process for the next three months, or until the tarnish is gone.
An ultrasonic cleaner is commonly found in banks, jewelry stores, and almost anywhere that sells precious metal. This is the safest way to clean both common and collectible coins. The machine uses sound vibrations to remove dirt and grime from coins and other metal items.
An ultrasonic cleaner is one of the only ways to remove all the dirt and grime from your silver coins entirely. It can get all those problem areas around the edges and leave your coins looking brand new.
Keeping your silver coins clean and free of tarnish is not tricky if you use the right technique. Always make sure you handle your coins with care, as they can easily scratch while using any of the above methods.
Also, be especially careful when handling rare collectible silver coins. It is better to leave them alone than to try and clean them on your own. As mentioned above, rare coins hold more value when they are left untouched.
Try out these methods for cleaning silver coins, and let us know how it goes. For more information and guides on silver and other precious metals, check out some of our other posts.
INSIDE THIS INVESTMENT GUIDE YOU WILL LEARN:
• How Gold & Silver can protect your savings & retirement accounts
• Types of Gold & Silver products available for Home Delivery
• How a Gold & Silver IRA can protect your Retirement account