Although it is not advisable to clean coins, if the need arises and is unavoidable, mentioned below are the steps to clean coins and ensure that minimum damage is caused to the coins in the cleaning process. Make sure that you never make use of any metal polish if you wish to clean the coins.
1. Wash your hands clean using soap
Prior to cleaning the coins, ensure that you clean your hands with soap so that the oil and other tiny particles get washed away from your fingers.
2. Spread the coins on a soft towel
Make use of a soft cloth or towel and fold it into several layers to spread the coins so that the coins do not fall off and they get dried quickly.
3. Get your soapy bath ready
Use a small plastic container and fill it with warm water. Do not make use of china, metal or glass as its hard surface would scratch the surface of coins. It is best to use disposable food storage containers for cleaning the coins. For the soapiness, use a mild detergent in the warm water. Make sure that it is gentle enough to not cause damage to the coins.
4. Prepare the final rinse bath
Use another plastic container and fill it with distilled water, in which the coins are to be rinsed finally. It is best recommended to use distilled water and if it is not available, you can use hot running tap water.
5. Clean the coin thoroughly
Pick a coin and dip it in the soap water. On dipping, rub both the surfaces of the coins gently with your fingers so that the dirt accumulated gets cleaned. Rub near the edges and in a direction away from the center of the coin so that the dirt gets washed away. If there is dirt or gunk accumulated in the side, it should be cleaned with the thumb and not around the coin. Also, make sure that you do not pull out all the coins out of the water together and do it one at a time so that they do not brush against each other and result in scratches.
6. Rinse the Coin
When you rinse the coin in running water, rub it gently till all the residual soap is gone. Never scratch or rub the coin and handle it gently as it might result in scratches. Handle it with utmost care and make sure that you do not make any scratches on the surface.
7. Rinse on completion
Once you are finished cleaning the coin, rinse it in distilled water so that the residual chlorine content gets washed away along with the other contaminants. Gently rub all over the coin so that no deposition is formed and handle the coin by holding only towards the edges if you are not wearing any gloves.
However, if you are using tap water, use warm running water for the final rinse.
8. Allow the coin to dry
If you make use of distilled water to rinse the coin, place the coins on a towel to dry completely. The coin would be spotless as distilled water does a fair job in dissolving all the impurities present.
If you are using hot tap water for the final rinse, pat the coin gently so that no spots are created. Do not rub the coin dry and always pat it with a soft cloth or tissue.
9. Repeat the process until it is finished
Follow the steps from 5 to 8 for each coin and do it delicately. If the coin requires soaking to get cleaned, place it in a separate tub so that there are no scratches when you are cleaning other coins.
10. Preserve your coins carefully
Ensure that the coins are dry and do not contain any moisture before you store them. The damp coins result in spoilage and damage over a period of time and do not ever touch them with bare dirty hands and even if you have to, handle it by the edges.