Cleaning Your Challenge Coins – A Simple Guide

Cleaning Your Challenge Coins – A Simple Guide
December 15, 2019 Ian Wilcox (CMC, US Navy, Ret.)
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A Guide to Cleaning Your Military Challenge Coins

What goes: a scrub or a rub? Whiting or varnish? Regular cleaning or abandoning coins for years to come?

Most people know that their challenge coins must be kept clean and polished, but many are often confused about how to go about it. Are there any tricks that one can look to as shortcuts? Is there any technique that helps enhance the longevity of the coin? Are there ways to avoid the coin from being damaged?

Coin collectors and numismatists know that the job isn’t as easy and simple as it sounds. Cleaning them and keeping them shiny without sacrificing their shine is a sly option.

Luckily for you, there are more than one ways to clean and polish a coin—and luckily for you, we know them all.

How to Wash Your Military Coins

Of course, the first thing that most people would think of is washing the coins. While viable, there’s space for error in this method. Start by figuring out how filthy the coins really are.

In case of dirt buildup, placing them in warm (preferably rung) water for a minute (half on each side) will suffice. Dry using a towel afterward. Avoid rubbing.

Using Distilled Water

Of course, if there’s gunk on the challenge coin, you’ll need something stronger than water to help clean the thing. Once you’ve washed them in warm water, give them a little dip in either distilled water. This is to ensure the color of the coin isn’t affected.

Soak the coin for one day if you’re using distilled water. Make sure if you have more than one coin that they do not rub against each other in the water.

Use a toothbrush to scrub the coin gently after the day has passed. If there’s still some gunk that remains, proceed to repeat for a day more.

Using Soap Water

For coins that have accumulated grease on their surface, a soap solution works best. Make the solution in warm water. Again, make sure no two coins rub against each other. While they’re still in the water, use a toothbrush to scrub them gently.

Remember to be very gentle. If you’re going to dip the coin in the soap solution and leave it there, ensure that the soap isn’t too strong. Strong acidic soap solutions will affect the surface of the coin badly.

Using Brasso

Brasso is one of best metal cleaning agents out there, and it helps with coins and other delicate metals too. The secret lies in the dirt that the oil helps loosen, thus simplifying the removal for you. The coin itself remains undamaged. However, we’d only recommend this for coins that are very dirty (oxidized) and can’t be helped with any of the aforementioned methods.

Did you know that very old custom challenge coins need to be dipped and soaked in brasso? Lucky for you, if you have any military or navy unit challenge coins of good quality, it won’t take that long! For more interesting facts and useful information, vist the Challenge Coins 4 U blog today!