HomeMetal Detector NewsHow to Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds?

How to Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds?


As a seasoned metal detectorist, you've likely experienced the thrill of unearthing hidden treasures. But let's face it, the joy of discovery can be tainted by the sight of the embedded grime and age-old tarnish on your finds. Fear not! This guide is your beacon, offering you the best ways to restore the shine and charm of your newly found pieces, be they coins, relics, or other metal artifacts.


No matter whether you're eyeing a dusty old coin you dug up in your backyard or a rust-covered relic from a historical site, we will help you polish and prep your discoveries for display or even resale. You might not believe it now, but with a little love and elbow grease, your finds can reclaim their former glory, shining reminders of days past.


How to Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds?

Why Do I Need to Clean My Metal Detecting Finds?


Sure, the thrill of unearthing a hidden relic is intoxicating, but the real question we should ask ourselves isn't about how to clean these treasures. Instead, let's start with a 'why': Why should you even bother cleaning your metal-detecting finds?


Let's set the scene. Your metal detector beeps, and you discover an artifact hidden in the dirt for who knows how long. As anticipated, it's covered in grime. But it's not just common dirt. It's mixed with a cocktail of minerals from the ground, which, over time, can interact with your finds in various ways. Some minerals might leave the metal untouched, while others might set off a chain of corrosive reactions.


That's where the importance of cleaning comes into play – it's all about conditioning your finds. To preserve their integrity or to prepare them for sale, your discoveries need to be in the best condition possible. Try offering a grimy, tarnished relic to a collector or vendor, and you'll see your potential profits dwindle.


More than that, a thorough cleaning can reveal details that dirt and tarnish may hide, further enhancing the value and historical significance of your finds. So, the question isn't so much 'Why clean your metal detecting finds?' but rather 'How could you not?' Cleaning is a necessary step that breathes new life into old relics, maximizes their value, and helps you fully appreciate the history they hold.


How to Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds?

How to Clean Old Coins


Metal detecting often leads to discoveries that have braved the elements for years, if not centuries. Exposed to moisture and oxygen, metals, especially iron-based ones, tend to rust over time. If you're combing the beach for hidden gems, you're quite likely to stumble upon rusted relics that need a helping hand to reveal their true potential.


Banishing rust can be a surprisingly straightforward task with the right approach. Distilled white vinegar is a powerful ally in this battle against corrosion. Either spray the vinegar directly onto the rusted surface or soak a cloth in the vinegar and place it over the affected area. This acidic solution will begin to dissolve the rust, but patience is key here. Allow the vinegar to work its magic for at least 30 minutes, monitoring the progress every 10-15 minutes to decide if additional vinegar is needed.


Once the vinegar has softened the rust, it's time to gently brush it away. A soft-bristled brush works wonders on smooth surfaces, and for detailed engravings or intricate corners, consider employing an old toothbrush. Be gentle and patient, brushing lightly to gradually remove the rust without damaging the underlying metal.


How to Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds?

How to Eliminate Mineralization on Your Finds


Long-buried metal treasures often wear a coat of hardened minerals, a result of extended exposure to moisture-rich, mineral-dense environments. Over time, these deposits can harden on the surface of your finds, obscuring their original appeal. However, with a little know-how, you can restore their former luster.


Fighting off these mineral deposits doesn't require specialized cleaning agents. Surprisingly, everyday household cleaners can do the job quite effectively. Lemon juice, CLR cleaners, and white vinegar all have the necessary acidity to dissolve most calcium-based mineral deposits.


To begin, apply your chosen cleaner as directed and let it work on the deposits. Afterward, rinse the item, pat it dry with a clean cloth, and check the results. You might need to repeat the process for heavily mineralized finds.


For more stubborn deposits, consider upping your game with phosphoric, sulfuric, or muriatic acid cleaners. Remember, these potent cleaners should be used with caution. Always operate in a well-ventilated space when handling these substances and adhere strictly to the safety guidelines.


How to Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds?

How to Remove Gloss from the Surfaces of Metals


Did you uncover a vintage U.S. quarter with your metal detector, only to discover a dull, dark patina dulling its luster? Don't be disheartened; that's just tarnish. And it's not limited to silver coins – it can also dim the glow of copper and other metals. But fret not, removing this veil of time can be straightforward with the right technique.


Begin the rejuvenation process with a simple mix of warm water and dish soap. Gently scrub the surface with a microfiber cloth, taking care not to be too abrasive. Rinse with cool water and dry with a soft cloth to see a marked difference.


But what if the tarnish is too stubborn for this gentle treatment? It's time for a more potent solution. Fill a pot lined with aluminum foil with water and bring it to a boil, adding a teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of water. Immerse the tarnished item in this hot solution, ensuring it makes contact with the foil. Let it soak for up to ten minutes, then remove, dry, and buff the item to reveal a much-improved appearance.


For particularly stubborn tarnish, polishes like toothpaste may come in handy. But remember, these potent cleaners can potentially damage the surface of your finds. If you decide to use laundry detergent, corn starch, or hand sanitizer, always test on a small area first to avoid unexpected damage.


How to Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds?

Some Other Good Ways to Clean Metal-Detecting Findings (Non-Artifacts)


Mild Acids: Give your metal finds a bath in brown sauce, white vinegar, or Coca-Cola. These household items can help eliminate grime and reveal obscured details on coins, though they may slightly discolor copper or cupro-nickel items.


Vinegar or Ammonia: Soak clean gold or silver finds overnight in vinegar or ammonia for a royal makeover that brings back the lost shine.


Baking Soda: A scrub with bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda) can shed tarnish from silver items while preserving the precious metal. Silver coins also respond well to a hot water bath with washing soda and aluminum foil.


Olive Oil: Olive oil is gentle and safe for valuable coins, preserving the patina without causing any harm. Be patient; it can take months to completely clean coins.


Distilled Water: Soak coins or jewelry in plain distilled water for several days, then scrub with a nail brush dipped in a water/dish soap solution to reach all those hard-to-reach corners.


Wax: To prepare valuable finds for display and protect against further deterioration, use a product like Renaissance Micro Crystalline Wax. This premium solution is best saved for your most special finds.


Metal detecting is not just about the discovery, but also about the restoration of what's found. With these innovative cleaning methods, you're not only unearthing a piece of history but also bringing it back to its former glory. So get out there, start exploring, and when you find that hidden gem, you'll know exactly how to make it shine again.


How to Clean Your Metal Detecting Finds?

Something Important Before We Finished


Embarking on the journey of metal detecting is undeniably thrilling, but the exhilaration doesn't stop with the find. Restoring your discoveries to their original splendor is equally rewarding, breathing new life into objects that have been hidden away for potentially hundreds of years. However, it's vital to tread carefully, especially when dealing with items of potential high-value, such as graded or key-date coins. Hasty cleaning efforts may result in a significant depreciation of their worth.


Utilizing chemical baths can yield stunning results, but caution is warranted as overexposure can lead to pitting or wear. It's always advisable to keep a vigilant watch on your items during the cleaning process. Here at Suffla, we strongly urge you to consult professionals prior to cleaning any finds of significant value. Our guidance on popular cleaning methods used within the metal detecting community is offered as advice and is not responsible for any potential damage or loss incurred.


Discovering a hidden treasure with your metal detector is undoubtedly a rush. However, the thrill of the find is often quickly tempered by the realization that your newly unearthed relic may be coated in a layer of grime or patina. Coins, in particular, often bear the signs of their time spent underground, covered in a brown or green film. While some coins, especially those with historical significance, may be more valuable if their patina is left intact, common currency generally benefits from a thorough cleaning.


In the pursuit of metal detecting, every discovery is a step back in time, an opportunity to connect with history. The cleaning and restoration process can be an adventure in its own right, unveiling the beauty of an item that has been concealed for ages. So, arm yourself with patience, caution, and the right cleaning methods. When you hold a cleaned and restored relic in your hands, you'll experience the full joy of bringing history back to life.

Previous article
Next article