How to clean corroded and rusty coins - Jenolite

How to clean corroded and rusty coins

Posted by Ben Spargo on

This blog post is all about how to remove rust from corroded and rusty coins, restoring them to their future glory for you to keep, collect or even sell. Due to the metallic nature of coins, and how often they are passed from person to person, they naturally attract things like dirt, water and much more that can cause rust to form. This rust can be a bit of an eyesore on these coins, and if the coin is a particularly antique or sought after one, it can heavily impact its value. Here’s a step-by-step process for cleaning and removing rust from your coins.

Decide whether you should clean it or not

The first step for removing rust from your coins is quite different to our other guides, as it isn’t a physical step at all. The first thing you need to consider with an old, valuable coin is whether you want to try and clean it at all, as it could potentially damage the coin and cause it to lose value. We would recommend only deciding to clean the corroded and rusty coin if the rust is having a significant impact on the coins value, and if removing the rust fully will improve this. If you have decided that removing the rust is definitely the right thing to do, then continue on. If you are still unsure, make sure to contact a coin seller or collection specialist for a full valuation and opinion before continuing.

Clean Visible Dirt and Grime

Before attempting to remove any rust from the coins, they need to be quickly cleaned in a bucket of hot, soapy water to remove any dirt or grime that could be on them, and that you can visibly see. This dirt will decrease the likelihood of being able to remove the rust, so removing that is the first step. Make sure your coins are completely clean and then bone dry before attempting any rust removal, as water can also hamper this process.

Keep Yourself Safe

The next step in removing rust from corroded coins will involve some particularly strong chemicals that need to react with the rust to make it easy to remove. Before you begin using them, make sure you protect yourself with some protective glasses and rubber gloves, as the chemicals can be very damaging to skin and eyes. 

Remove Rust from Your Coins

The next step is to apply some of Jenolite’s rust remover gel to your coins using a brush, making sure to completely cover the coin, adding more to any large sections of rust. Tip the required amount of jelly into a plastic container, and then work it into the rust with a brush every five minutes, adding more if required. It will be clear when you have worked the jelly into the rust for long enough as it will start to turn a dark grey colour. Once this has happened, wipe the coins clean with a lint-free cloth, removing all of the rust and the jelly.

To ensure all of the rust has been successfully removed, brush away any remaining dark grey residue with a wire brush or piece of steel wool, which should now remove the rust completely. If you have any particularly rusty coins you want to restore to their former glory, these can be fully immersed into a container full of Jenolite rust remover liquid. Leave the coins in the liquid until the rust has been removed, drain the excess liquid for one minute, and wipe dry immediately with a clean, lint-free cloth.

Remember to always make sure to wash any brushes or equipment you have used to remove rust in clean water immediately after use, otherwise they could become damaged if exposed to the rust remover chemicals for a long period of time.

Rust Prevention for Coins

The last key step is focused on preventing rust from appearing on any more of your coins, and how to properly care for them to make sure this does not happen. Here are our three top tips for preventing rust appearing on coins :

  1. All of your coins should be properly handled by holding them on their edge, and not coming into direct contact with the face or back of the coin with your hands.
  2. Wear cotton or polyethylene gloves when handling these coins, to avoid them coming into contact with anything harmful on your hands.
  3. Correctly store your coins in holders, folders or cases to avoid any scratches, moisture or sunlight from damaging them.

If you are an avid coin collector, and therefore want your collection to be in top condition, consider using metal polish after removing the rust

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