How to Remove Coin Corrosion

Coins corrode when they come into contact with chemicals, minerals or the natural elements. Corrosion is unsightly and can cause lasting damage, such as pitting and scarring, to the surface of the coins. Coin collectors and hobbyists can remove corrosion from coins using a number of homegrown methods. There is much debate, even among professionals, about the viability and safety of these methods. While professional cleaning options, like coin soaks and ultrasonic cleaning machines, exist, they are costly and not widely available to the general public.

Corrosion happens when coins are in contact with foreign substances.

Baking Soda

Step 1

Wet the coin thoroughly with clean water.

Step 2

Roll the coin in baking soda. Baking soda is an abrasive substance.

Step 3

Scrub the corrosion away using a toothbrush or rag. The combination of the abrasive baking soda and the scrubbing action causes the corrosion to chip away.

Step 4

Rinse the coin clean.

Step 5

Repeat the scrubbing and rinsing until the corrosion is removed.


Step 6

Fill a plastic bottle with an acidic substance, such as tomato juice, orange juice or vinegar. Acidic substances loosen the corrosion and allow it to fall away.

Step 7

Place the coin in the bottle.

Step 8

Put the lid on the bottle.

Step 9

Shake the bottle containing the coin for 5 minutes. This ensures the acidic substance reaches every crevasse of the coin.

Step 10

Allow the coin to sit in the bottle with the acid overnight, if necessary. Wash the coin thoroughly using soap and water after removal.

Mineral Oil

Step 11

Fill a cup with mineral oil or olive oil. Either one is viable for removing corrosion from coins. The oils contain trace minerals that loosen dirt and corrosion on metal coins.

Step 12

Place the coin in the cup. Allow the coin to soak.

Step 13

Remove the coin after the corrosion has fallen away. This can take several weeks.

Step 14

Rinse the coin using clean water. Remove the oil using a soft, clean cloth.

Step 15

Pat down the coin with baking soda and rinse again. Baking soda neutralizes the minerals present in the oils and prevents them from doing long-term damage to the coin.


Step 16

Place acetone nail-polish remover in a glass container.

Step 17

Drop the coin into the container and acetone. Allow the coin to sit for up to 5 minutes.

Step 18

Wash the coin thoroughly using soap and water to remove the corrosion and acetone.

Step 19

Soak the coin again, if desired.

Step 20

Pat the clean coin with baking soda to neutralize the acetone. Rinse again.