Effectively Cleaning Pennies for a Bright and Shiny Finish


Many people are interested in how to clean pennies safely, as collecting coins is a popular hobby and proper cleaning helps to preserve their original value. This article outlines six simple and easy methods for cleaning copper pennies.

1. Before You Begin

Prior to cleaning coins, it is important to ascertain the year of manufacture and value of the coins. As many pennies are valuable collectibles, caution should be taken to ensure that the cleaning process does not reduce or destroy their worth.


Prior to cleaning pennies, it is important to ascertain their value. Certain older coins may be of considerable worth, and cleaning them may reduce their value. To ensure this does not occur, one can visit a local penny dealer. If the pennies are from a bank, their value is guaranteed and one can enjoy the process of cleaning them without worry.

2. Clean pennies with vinegar

Cleaning pennies with vinegar is an effective method for restoring their original color. Solutions with low acidity, such as vinegar or lemon juice, can safely remove the rust layer without posing a risk to children. To clean a penny with vinegar, follow these steps.

To begin, combine vinegar or lemon juice with salt in a glass. Then, place the pennies at the bottom of the glass, ensuring that they are not stacked on top of one another.After 5 minutes, testing of the results can be conducted. If the pennies remain unclean, an additional 5 minutes should be allowed. For optimal cleaning, a wait time of 10 to 15 minutes is recommended.

Once the pennies have been freed of rust, they should be cleaned with warm water and dried with a soft cloth. This process will not make the pennies completely shiny; to achieve a higher level of shine, they should be polished with a silver cloth.

2.1 Materials Needed

Utilizing Vinegar or Lemon Juice for Easier Cleaning of Pennies :

  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Tools for stirring
  • Plastic or glass cups (do not use metal cups)
  • Clean water
  • Soft dry cloth


2.2 Advantages

Here are some advantages when you clean a penny with vinegar or lemon:

  • Cleaning pennies with vinegar helps to remove rust stains safely.
  • Cleaning a penny with vinegar can clean multiple pennies at the same time.

2.3 Disadvantages

Let’s see this method’s disadvantages:

  • When you clean pennies with vinegar, liquid can spill out and make a mess.
  • Cleaning pennies with vinegar may take 15 minutes, so it may not be suitable for impatient children.


3. Using Ketchup/Tabasco Sauce

Ketchup and tabasco sauce are effective for removing oxidation from pennies, making them a safe and viable cleaning option. To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of this method, let us explore how to clean pennies with ketchup.

Pour the ketchup into a bowl or small containers, then dip a brush into the ketchup and stroke the penny’s surface in a circular motion. This will cause the penny to quickly take on a bright copper color. Finally, rinse the pennies with warm water and dry them with a soft cloth.

3.1 Materials Needed

When cleaning pennies with ketchup or tabasco sauce, you need these materials.

  • Ketchup (the amount of ketchup will depend on how many pennies you want to clean)
  • Utensils for storage
  • Old toothbrush
  • Clean cloth


3.2 Advantages

Here are some advantages when you clean a penny with ketchup or tabasco sauce:

  • Cleaning pennies with ketchup or tabasco sauce helps you quickly restore color to the penny.
  • Cleaning pennies with ketchup or tabasco sauce is safe for the user.

3.3 Disadvantages

It seems that this method of cleaning pennies with ketchup or tabasco sauce only has a few disadvantages:

  • When cleaning pennies with ketchup or tabasco sauce, you can cause the sauce to splatter and get dirty if you’re not careful.

4. Soap and Water

Soap and water can be used to effectively clean soiled or difficult-to-clean pennies. To do so, simply submerge the pennies in a bowl of warm water and add a few drops of mild dish soap. Allow the pennies to soak for several minutes before gently scrubbing them with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse the pennies with clean water and dry them with a soft cloth.

Mix together soap and water to create a soapy solution. Dip an old toothbrush into the solution and use it to gently clean the penny. Be sure to avoid scrubbing too hard, as this may cause the surface of the coin to peel off. Rinse the penny with warm water and dry it with a soft, clean towel.

4.1 Materials Needed

Let’s prepare some materials before beginning with this technique. You can find all of materials in your house:

  • Soap
  • Warm water
  • Old toothbrush
  • Clean soft cloth


4.2 Advantages

Here are some advantages when you clean a penny with soap:

  • Materials are available at home.
  • Cleaning pennies with water and soap makes it easier to remove stubborn stains.

4.3 Disadvantages

Cleaning pennies with soap is simple. The only disadvantage of when cleaning pennies with water and soap is:

  • It does not help restore the color of the penny.

5. Bon Ami Cleanser or Baking Soda

Utilizing Bon Ami Cleanser or Baking Soda is the most effective method for cleaning pennies today. To do so, simply mix
a small amount of either cleanser with a few drops of water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the penny and gently rub with a soft cloth or toothbrush. Rinse the penny with water and dry with a soft cloth.

Mix Bon Ami Cleanser or baking soda with a bit of water to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the penny’s surface in a circular motion. Rinse and dry the penny with a soft cloth.

5.1 Materials Needed

When you want to use Bon Ami Cleanser or Baking Soda to clean pennies, let’s prepare something:

  • Sufficient amount of Bon Ami Cleanser or Baking Soda.
  • Small container for mixing
  • Country
  • Soft dry cloth


5.2 Advantages

Bon Ami Cleanser and Baking Soda are mildly active chemicals, providing certain advantages. Eg:

  • This method gives a shiny look to the penny.
  • Cleaning penny with baking soda brings enjoyment to children.

5.3 Disadvantages

Some of the ingredients contained in these chemicals can be disadvantages for you. Eg:

  • You may have to spend some time shopping for the above materials.
  • Cleaning pennies with Bon Ami Cleanser or Baking Soda is easy to clutter your home.
  • With this method, you have to directly use your fingers to clean. It may scratch or hurt your fingers.

6. Using an Eraser (For 1982 Pennies and After)

Pencil erasers are a convenient tool for cleaning pennies, offering a simple and speedy solution. Always readily available in children’s backpacks, they provide an easy way to keep coins looking their best. Here’s how to use them.

Cleaning pennies with erasers is a simple process that requires no liquid and eliminates the risk of mess. To begin, place the penny on a flat surface, such as a piece of paper or cloth, to prevent scratching or damaging the coin’s surface.

Using a pen eraser, scrub the stains and rust on the penny in a circular motion. For easier cleaning, use a large eraser. Once the penny is clean, repeat the process on the other side.

6.1 Materials Needed

When cleaning pennies with erasers, all you need is the following materials.

  • Pencil erasers (they are available on pencil heads or as custom-made erasers)
  • Clean paper or cloth


6.3 Disadvantages

Here are some disadvantages when cleaning pennies with erasers, but these aren’t too hard to deal with:

  • For small movements, physical use and repetition will not be suitable for older people.
  • You will have to clean up the eraser debris after using it.

The above suggestions provide an easy and accessible way to clean pennies. All of the materials needed can be found at home, making the process simple and straightforward. We hope these tips will be of assistance.

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