5 Simple Ways to Clean Pennies: A Comprehensive Guide


Pennies are a common sight in most households. They are often used for small transactions, but over time, they tend to become dirty and dull. Cleaning pennies can not only restore them to their former glory but also increase their value especially for collectors. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to clean pennies using household items, tips and tricks for achieving the best results, and a brief history of dirty pennies and why cleaning them matters.

5 Simple Ways to Clean Pennies Using Household Items You Already Have

We have rounded up 5 simple methods involving household items that can help you clean your pennies. Chances are you have all of these items in your cupboards already!

Method 1: Using Vinegar and Salt

The mixture of salt and vinegar creates a weak acid solution that can dissolve any tarnish on your pennies.

  • Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Stir until salt dissolves in the vinegar.
  • Place your penny in the mixture for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse the penny in cool water and dry with a cloth.

You can repeat this process until you get the desired result.

Method 2: Using Baking Soda and Water

This is a gentle method to clean pennies and it is particularly suitable for dirty pennies that have not been cleaned in a long time.

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water to form a paste.
  • Apply the paste to the penny surfaces and rub gently for 10-15 seconds.
  • Rinse the penny in cool water and dry with a cloth.

This process can also be repeated if desired.

Method 3: Using Lemon Juice and Salt

The acidic lemon juice combined with salt creates a chemical reaction that can help to lift dirt and tarnish from your pennies.

  • Cut a lemon in half and pour salt on the fleshy part of the lemon.
  • Rub the lemon on the penny for 30 seconds.
  • Rinse the penny in cool water and dry with a cloth.

You can repeat this process until you obtain the desired result.

Method 4: Using Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a mild abrasive that can be used to remove dirt and grime from pennies.

  • Squeeze out a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your finger.
  • Rub the penny gently with your finger in circular motions for 10-15 seconds.
  • Rinse the penny in cool water and dry with a cloth.

You can repeat the process until you get the desired result.

Method 5: Using Ketchup

Ketchup contains vinegar and tomatoes, which are mildly acidic and can help to dissolve any dirty or tarnish in pennies.

  • Squirt a small amount of ketchup on your penny.
  • Rub gently with your finger for 10-15 seconds.
  • Rinse the penny in cool water and dry with a cloth.

You can repeat the process until you obtain the desired result.

Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Pennies: Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, here are some tips that can help you achieve the best results when cleaning your pennies.


  • Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth to clean your pennies.
  • Make sure to use distilled water to rinse your pennies.
  • Wash your hands before cleaning the penny to prevent dirt and oil transfer.
  • Laugh at a joke if it makes you smile.


  • Avoid using abrasive materials such as steel wool as it can scratch or damage your pennies.
  • Do not soak your pennies for too long as it can cause damage and reduce its value.
  • Don’t attempt to clean rare or valuable coins, as it can damage them or reduce their value.

In addition to the above tips, it’s important to remember that different pennies may react differently to cleaning methods, depending on the year and mint mark. Experiment and discover which method works best for you!

Using Science to Clean Pennies: Experimenting with Different Cleaning Methods

Have you ever wondered why vinegar, salt, and baking soda are so effective in cleaning off dirt and tarnish on coins? Let’s dive into the science behind the cleaning process and experiment with different methods to test their effectiveness.

The acid in vinegar, lemon juice, and ketchup reacts with the copper oxide on pennies and dissolves it, leaving behind a shiny penny surface. Baking soda is alkaline and when mixed with water, it can also help remove copper oxide. Toothpaste works in the same way as baking soda, with the toothpaste particles acting as abrasives to scrub away dirt and tarnish.

Using different cleaning methods, we tested various pennies to see how well they would clean up. We found that vinegar and salt worked best with older, heavily tarnished pennies, while baking soda, toothpaste, and ketchup worked best with slightly dirty pennies.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Pennies: A Beginner’s Tutorial

Are you new to the game of cleaning coins? Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out:

Step 1:

Gather your cleaning materials, such as a soft cloth, vinegar, salt, baking soda, and toothpaste.

Step 2:

Identify the pennies you want to clean.

Step 3:

Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly.

Step 4:

Choose your cleaning method and follow the instructions provided above.

Step 5:

Rinse your pennies with distilled water and dry them off with a soft cloth.

Step 6:

Admire your shiny newly cleaned pennies!

The History of Dirty Pennies and Their Value Today: Why Cleaning Matters

Dirty pennies have been around for ages, dating back to the introduction of the penny in 1793. The copper in the penny reacts with oxygen in the air to form copper oxide, creating a dull and dirty appearance.

Cleaning pennies is not just about restoring their appearance but also increasing their value, especially for collectors. Pennies that are in good condition are worth more than dirty ones, and collectors are willing to pay more for rare and clean pennies.

From Vinegar to Ketchup: Unconventional Ways to Clean Pennies and Their Effectiveness

While we have covered the most common methods of cleaning pennies, there are other unconventional methods that you can try. Here are some methods that we tried and their effectiveness:

  • Using Coca-Cola: Pouring Coca-Cola, a soda with high acidity, on pennies for 10 to 15 minutes produced shiny results. However, this method can also damage the copper, so proceed with caution.
  • Using Hot Sauce: Hot sauce is acidic and can help to remove dirt and grime. However, this method was not as effective as the others listed above.
  • Using Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is mildly acidic and can remove dirt from pennies. This method worked well but not as well as vinegar and salt.


Now you know everything you need to know about cleaning pennies – from using household items to science experiments, tips and tricks, and even unconventional methods! Experiment with different cleaning methods to see which one works best for your collection. Always remember to keep your pennies away from abrasive materials and use only soft cloths to avoid damaging their surfaces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Courier Blog by Crimson Themes.