Over the years I have collected so many relics, coins and jewelry. I have no idea how to clean them, so I thought I would ask the Experts what methods do you use to clean your metal detecting finds?
What method do I use to clean my finds?
Well, that depends on what the item is, but most importantly, if I’m doubt, I just don’t clean it at all. Thats great advice, but not very practical, because if your like most folks, especially someone new to the hobby, in your excitement you’re going to try and clean them anyway.
I’m going to focus on state coppers and large cents because I’ve seen some people totally destroy these coins with vinegar, electrolysis and just plain old soap and water. I’m not immune either, I’ve tried it all at one time or another, and my toasted coin collection can attest to that.
These coins are generally environmentally damaged, so I avoid water or any type of liquid. Sometimes the dirt/surface corrosion is the only thing that’s holding that image onto your coin. If you take a toothbrush, and some water to it, what you end up with is an illegible clean copper, instead of a somewhat legible, not so clean copper.
My number one rule of thumb when I find a copper is to pop it in my pouch and examine it when I get home. I don’t rub all the dirt off while out in the field. If I can’t see the detail, I wait.
Once home, I let the coin dry out. I want the dirt to be dry before I do anything. When it’s dry, I take a toothpick, and GENTLY work a little of the dirt off an area to see what I’ve got. If it looks like there’s a lot of detail, I will continue removing the dirt to reveal the entire coin.
Then with a q-tip and a very lightly touch, I brush off any remaining particles. Once that’s done, I dip my finger in mineral oil (not olive oil), then wipe off as much of the mineral oil as possible until there is only a slight sheen remaining on my finger. Then I lightly rub the oil on the raised areas of the coin. You have to be very careful not to use too much oil, and if you do it correctly, the oil will bring out the detail beautifully, or in the case of some coins, at least enough to see any detail that’s remaining.
Alternately, you can rub your finger on your face, picking up the oil from your skin, and rub that on the coin, but for obvious reasons I prefer using the mineral oil.
This is a method that works for me, and I like the results. Everyone has their own methods, and results they want to attain, but the bottom line is, if in doubt, just don’t clean it at all.
Because Women Detect Too!
Some Of Our Favorite Cleaning Methods!
We believe that detectorists should research the best methods to clean their finds, so that they can enjoy all of them. For this, we’ll focus on cleaning coins. One of the most important pieces of advice we tell others, is to not clean coins you think are valuable. If you end of cleaning a valuable coin, it could decrease the value. Let’s start talking cleaning! Here are three of our best cleaning methods from our library!
First, if you have old, silver coins, the best method is to wet them, get baking soda and have a toothbrush handy. You want to gently use the toothbrush on the coin to remove any visible dirt. Older silver coins are more prone to suffer surface damage. When they do get damage, you will see a “tarnish” or thin layer or corrosion as a result of silver molecules interacting with elements of the environment. If you are cleaning the silver coin only to remove the tarnish, you will end up damaging the coin’s surface.
Second, we recommend a method known as the “dip method”. If you’re looking for a method that gives the least amount of damage for your coins, this is it. In a nut shell, this consists of dipping your coins in a solution and then rinsing them off. This works great for both silver and gold coins. Take some ammonia and fill up a jar with it. Place the coins in the jar and let them sit for a while. After that, you will want to polish them with a cloth.
Third, we suggest cleaning your finds with the jewelry cloths from BLITZ. They already have polish in the cloths and make it even easier to clean! You will see two pieces of cloth sewn together: one for buffering and one for cleaning. This is a faster way of cleaning as well. Today, you can find many methods available. It’s good to always do your research and find the cleaning method that would be best for your specific find.
It’s so great to see others in the hobby sharing their tips and suggestions. So, we encourage you to share them with us! We feature all ideas in the Kellyco library click [Here]. Thank-you to Rob Johnson for the opportunity to have us write this for their blog post!
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It all depends what the items are that need to be cleaned.
During my Detecting, I carry a medicine bottle with all labels taken off. I the fill it half full of water and add Dawn dish soap. The good coins I find get put in this bottle. They clean themselves while I continue to hunt.
The clad that I find get put in a jar when I get home. Each gets placed in a plastic coffee container, separated by their denominations.
At the end of hunting season each year I add the total up to see how much I had found throughout the hunt season. My clad gets run through a rock tumbler and then taken to the bank.
My good coins get placed in the 2×2 holders and placed in a Three ring binder.
The relics I find, I use electrolysis to try and clean the best I can. The stuff I can’t get cleaned enough to know what it is gets tossed in the scrap metal pile to be turned in to the scrap guy.
The aluminum cans get crushed and sold.
Owner Ground View Metal Detector Sales & Rental
706 E Grand Ave Chippewa Falls, WI.54729
When it comes to cleaning coins you have to be very careful. Anything that you suspect to have great worth, leave it for a professional coin dealer. If you do decide to clean coins on your own here are a few tips.
- The coins you dig up have been in the ground or under water for a long time and they will never become pristine.
- You should shoot for cleaning the coin surface just enough to identify and date.
Line a bowl with aluminum foil. Add table spoon of backing soda and boiling water.
Drop in the silver coin for around 2 to 3 min. Take out and lightly wipe with a soft cloth.
Repeat the process if needed.
Use your finger nail or tooth pick to remove as much dirt as possible. Take your fore finger and
wipe your forehead. Apply the oil off your finger onto the coin. That’s it.
You can always find me on Facebook at
My web site global-detecting.com
Hear me on The Global Detection Adventures Podcast.
Check out Dave’s review on the Whites V3i Click [Here]
Here are some good videos on cleaning your finds.
Please do your research before using any of these methods.
How To Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds with A Rock Tumbler!!!
I’ve been getting a few questions about how I clean my finds so in this video I show you how I clean my metal detecting finds using just your basic rock tumbler.
Thanks for watching & HH!!!
Our Experts review some great metal detectors click [here] to read their reviews
How to make an Electrolysis tank to clean relics, coins and other finds
Electrolysis tank for coin & relic cleaning
Check out our review of the Garrett AT Pro click [HERE]
Electrolysis Tank- how to clean metal detecting finds
This is how i run electrolysis on my iron relics, please read up before duplicating this method. Thanks
Read our review on the ACE 350 Click [HERE]
Ultrasonic cleaning of treasure hunting and metal detecting finds
A guide and tour of ultrasonic cleaning on treasure hunting finds. Metal detecting finds are always grimy. Here is a great, fast way to clean your finds with comparisons of results over time using various coins and artifacts in various states. this video includes a series of results from one good condition coin, over a series of cleaning periods to should how to avoid over cleaning your finds.
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