How to Clean a Copper Penny:10 Tips and Advices

How to Clean a Copper Penny

If you have a collection of copper pennies, chances are that they’re not looking their best. Cleaning them can be a daunting task. It might seem like there’s no hope for your tarnished coins, but fear not!

How to clean a copper penny? It’s a very interesting question and a great DIY project. In this article we’ll take a look at the top 10 tips for cleaning a copper penny. You’ll be surprised at what works and what doesn’t!

Be Gentle

Don’t use steel wool or abrasive chemicals to clean your penny, as this could damage the metal. Instead, use a soft cloth and a gentle detergent (like dish soap) to clean it. You can also try using a damp cloth with baking soda, which will help loosen any stuck-on dirt without damaging the coin’s surface.

Use a Basic Household Cleaner to Start.

If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, try using a basic household cleaner to start. Using a soft cloth, apply your chosen cleaner to the coin and allow it to soak in for five minutes. Wipe down the surface of your penny with another clean cloth or paper towel until all dirt has been removed from its surface. You may want to try using some non-abrasive cleaners (like vinegar) if you’re worried about removing any patina on your coin—and always keep in mind that these cleaners are only meant as a starting point!

After you’ve cleaned off any grime or other contaminants from your coin’s surface, it’s time for step two: cleaning out any crevices that could have collected dust or dirt over time. This could mean going into tight corners with cotton swabs dipped in diluted vinegar solution or water; however, if there are no crevices left untouched by this step then this is generally enough for most coins because they won’t have been exposed much during wear-and-tear over time anyway (if at all).

Soak the Pennies in Vinegar

The first step to cleaning a copper penny is soaking it in vinegar. Vinegar is a great cleaning agent because it will remove the copper oxide that’s on your pennies. This natural acid can be used to clean coins, pots and pans, and more.

Soak your pennies for five minutes in vinegar to dissolve any copper oxide left on them from handling before you start scrubbing them with toothpaste or soap. Rinse them off after soaking them in vinegar so they don’t reabsorb any of that dirt onto themselves!

If there are still some stubborn stains on your pennies after rinsing them with water, try using baking soda next time instead; this should help get rid of those stains—and if not then maybe some hand lotion would help soften up those stubborn spots too!

Baking Soda and Salt are also an Option

You can also use baking soda and salt to clean your pennies. This is a simple, inexpensive method that works well on pennies that aren’t too tarnished. If you have a penny that has been cleaned with another method but still looks dull or dirty, try using the baking soda and salt method to bring back its shine.

Have Patience and Don’t be afraid to try Different Methods

Be patient and try not to get frustrated. There will be times when you think your coin is clean, only to discover later that it’s still dirty. It can be frustrating, but hang in there!

If you don’t see any results after trying a method for a few minutes, move on to something else. You might have to use multiple methods or go back and forth between methods until you find the one that works best for you.

Ketchup Can Clean Copper, too

In addition to the vinegar and lemon juice, ketchup can also be used to clean copper pennies. Ketchup contains acid that can help remove copper stains. Test the ketchup on a small area of your penny first before applying it in more generous amounts. It’s best to wear rubber gloves when handling the ketchup and penny because they can both leave your hands stained red if you aren’t careful! Ketchup is also effective at cleaning copper jewelry, so keep this tip in mind next time you need an emergency polish job for your favorite necklace or bracelet!

To use ketchup to clean copper pennies:

  • Wet the penny with warm water until it’s thoroughly dampened (but not dripping).
  • Dab some yellow mustard onto a cotton ball or soft cloth and rub firmly over the entire surface of the coin until it starts turning darker than usual—this means that it’s working! If there are stubborn stains that don’t seem like they’re budging, try scrubbing them vigorously with steel wool while they’re still wet; this should do wonders when trying to remove stubborn grime from coins like pennies made out of zinc (which often have dark spots).
  • Rinse off excess mustard under running water until all traces are removed from both sides before allowing them dry completely upside down so they won’t lose any color fading away while drying out naturally overnight.”

Ammonia is also an option for Deep Cleaning

Ammonia is another option that can be used to clean copper pennies. Like vinegar, ammonia has a strong chemical odor, so you may want to wear gloves when cleaning with this method. Ammonia works well for removing rust from copper pennies, but it can also damage the surface of the penny if not used properly. As an added precaution, you should only mix one tablespoon of ammonia with one gallon of water when using this technique; over-mixed solutions will damage your coins’ surfaces quickly.

Lemon Juice Can also Help Shine up a Penny

You can use lemon juice to clean copper pennies, but you’ll want to work in a well-ventilated area when you do. Lemon juice is acidic and can cause damage to the skin if inhaled or spilled. If you’re using lemon juice, be sure that the penny is very well-cleaned beforehand and that it’s completely dry before applying the lemon juice.

Simply hold your copper penny by its edges between your thumb and forefinger, then dip its entire surface into a small bowl of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Rinse off any excess liquid with water and set aside to dry. After 24 hours of drying time (72 hours if you live in humid conditions), use a soft cloth like an old T-shirt or washcloth to buff up all sides of your penny until it has regained most of its original shine!

Rubbing Alcohol Might be the Trick you need

If you’re having trouble getting rid of the tarnish on your copper penny, rubbing alcohol might be the trick you need. Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean pennies and other copper coins, as well as other metals. The best thing about using rubbing alcohol is that it will remove the tarnish from your copper coin without damaging its surface. It’s also an effective way to remove oxidation from copper and make sure that there are no stains left behind.

Tartaric Acid Can Remove Oxidation from Copper Coins

Tartaric acid is a weak organic acid, which means it’s not as corrosive to your penny as other chemicals. It’s found naturally in wine, and it works by breaking down the copper oxide coating on your pennies.

If you want to use tartaric acid on your pennies, all you have to do is dissolve some crystals of it in warm water. Then dip your coins in the solution and let them soak for an hour or two—the longer they soak, the more oxidation will come off. Once they’ve soaked enough, take them out and rinse them with clear water until all traces of acid are gone from their surfaces; finally dry them off with a paper towel before putting them back into circulation (or storing them).

Try these Quick Tricks to Clean your Pennies & Make them Shine Like New!

  • Be gentle: A penny is a delicate coin and you don’t want to scratch it up in the process of cleaning it.
  • Use household cleaners: Basic household cleaners like baking soda, vinegar and salt will work wonders for your copper pennies!
  • Soak them in vinegar or ketchup: If you’ve ever used ketchup on your penny, then you know that it can clean it up pretty quickly—and with very little effort on your part at all!
  • Patience is key: The best way to clean a copper coin is by using patience and not being afraid to try new methods until one works well enough for you without scratching up your penny too much while doing so!


After learning about how to clean a copper penny in this article, you should be able to do it well and keep your coin looking better for longer. You may even want to take the same steps you learned from here to help clean other dirty pennies that you come across in the future. Overall, cleaning a copper penny is not that difficult most of the time, and any of the methods listed above will be sure to get the job done right.

We hope you enjoy these tips and find the one that works best for you! If you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from our readers!

By Metal Hunting Team

Your premier resource for all things metal detecting and treasure hunting, created by avid hobbyists for fellow enthusiasts. Dive into a trove of insights, tips, and discoveries with us!

1 comment

  1. ?
    To use ketchup to clean copper pennies:
    Dab some yellow mustard…
    Rinse off excess mustard…

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