How to Clean Silver Coins & Bars: A Step-by-Step Guide

Silver coins and bars are a beautiful addition to any collection or investment portfolio, but they can become tarnished and dirty over time. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to clean your silver coins and bars, so they look as good as new.

What is the best thing to clean silver coins & bars with?

You can use several methods to clean silver coins and bars, but not all of them are safe or effective. To clean your silver coins and bars, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Silver cleaner: Several brands of silver cleaner are available, and they typically come in a liquid or paste form. Choose a cleaner designed specifically for silver and ensure it is safe to use on coins and bars.
  • Soft cloth: A soft, lint-free cloth is best for cleaning silver coins and bars, as it will not scratch the surface. Microfiber cloths are popular for cleaning silver because they are soft, absorbent, and lint-free.
  • Distilled water: Distilled water is best for cleaning silver coins and bars because it does not contain minerals that can leave marks on the surface.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is a natural cleaner used to clean tarnished silver coins and bars.
  • White vinegar: is another natural cleaner used to clean tarnished silver coins and bars.

How do I clean a tarnished silver coin & bar?


To clean tarnished silver coins and bars, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Start by laying down a soft cloth to protect your work surface.
  2. Apply the silver cleaner to the tarnished area, following the instructions on the product label. If you’re using a liquid cleaner, apply it to a soft cloth before wiping it onto the tarnished area. If you’re using a paste cleaner, apply it directly to the stained area.
  3. Rub the cleaner gently into the tarnished area using a soft cloth. You should apply gentle, circular motions and avoid too much pressure, which could cause damage.
  4. Rinse the cleaned area with distilled water. This will help to remove any residue from the cleaner and prevent it from leaving marks on the surface of the coin or bar.
  5. Dry the coin or bar with a soft, lint-free cloth. Be sure to dry the coin or bar thoroughly, as any water left on the surface could cause it to tarnish more quickly.


If you don’t have a silver cleaner, you can also clean tarnished silver coins and bars using baking soda and white vinegar. To do this, you’ll need to:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with a few drops of water to create a paste.
  2. Apply the paste to the tarnished area and rub it in gently using a soft cloth.
  3. Rinse the paste off the coin or bar with distilled water.
  4. Soak the coin or bar in a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 cups distilled water for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Rinse the coin or bar with distilled water again.
  6. Dry the coin or bar with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Is it OK to clean old silver coins & bars?

Cleaning old silver coins and bars can impact their value, so it’s essential to be careful. If the coin or bar is in excellent condition or is considered rare or valuable, it is best to avoid cleaning it, as this could reduce its value. If you need to clean an old coin or bar, it is essential to use gentle methods and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could cause damage. If you need clarification on the value of an old coin or bar, it’s best to consult a professional coin or precious metal dealer for advice.

Things You Need To Know Before Cleaning Your Silver Coins & Bars

  1. Be gentle: Avoid applying too much pressure when cleaning your silver coins and bars. This will help to prevent damage to the surface of the coin or bar.
  2. Avoid harsh chemicals: Harsh chemicals like ammonia and bleach can cause damage to the surface of silver coins and bars and should be avoided. Stick to gentle cleaners and natural cleaning methods like baking soda and white vinegar.
  3. Use distilled water: Distilled water is best for cleaning silver coins and bars because it does not contain minerals that can leave marks on the surface. If you don’t have distilled water, you can also use bottled spring water or tap water that has been boiled and cooled.
  4. Dry thoroughly: After cleaning your silver coins and bars, dry them thoroughly to prevent tarnishing. A soft, lint-free cloth is best for drying.
  5. Store properly: Proper storage is vital for preventing tarnishing and keeping your silver coins and bars in good condition. Store your coins and bars in a cool, dry place and avoid exposing them to humidity and air. Consider using a coin or bar storage box or a silver-lined cloth bag to protect your coins and bars from tarnishing.

Cleaning your silver coins and bars can help to restore their shine and keep them in good condition. By following these simple steps and using suitable materials, you can keep your coins and bars looking their best for years to come. Whether you’re a collector or an investor, taking the time to care for your silver coins and bars is essential in protecting your investment and preserving its value.

How To Store Silver Coins To Maintain Their Value

Storing your silver coins and bars correctly is the first step in maintaining their value and appearance over time. Inappropriate storage conditions can lead to tarnishing, scratching, or even chemical reactions that could decrease the worth of your investment.

Humidity and Temperature Control

Ensure you store your silver in a place with controlled humidity and temperature. Excess moisture can lead to tarnishing. A dehumidifier can be beneficial, especially if you live in a humid climate.

Acid-Free Materials

Use acid-free boxes or containers for storing your silver items. Acids can react with silver, leading to discoloration and loss of luster.

Individual Wrapping

For coins, especially those of high value, consider wrapping them individually in soft, acid-free tissue paper or using coin capsules. This prevents them from scratching against each other.

Safety Measures

If you store a substantial amount of silver, a safe deposit box in a bank is a secure option. Use a high-quality safe for home storage that offers both burglary and fire protection.

Regular Checks

Every couple of months, check the condition of your silver. Ensure the storage environment remains stable, with no signs of tarnishing or degradation. However, try to minimize direct handling of the silver items and always handle them by the edges rather than the faces.

Adhering to these storage guidelines can significantly enhance the longevity and value of your silver coins and bars.

What Do Professionals Use to Clean Coins?

Cleaning coins, especially rare or antique ones, can be contentious among collectors and investors. Improper cleaning can drastically reduce a coin’s value. However, if you decide cleaning is necessary, there are professional ways to do it.

Soft Cloth Method

For lightly tarnished silver, gently rub the surface with a soft, lint-free cloth. Do not use any additional chemicals or solutions.

Soap and Water

Consider a gentle cleaning with soap and water for coins with grime or dirt that won’t come off through simple rubbing. Use a mild dish soap and lukewarm water. Avoid scrubbing; gently swirl the coin in the water and let the soap do its work. Dry immediately with a soft cloth.

Professional-Grade Solutions

There are professional coin-cleaning solutions available designed explicitly for silver coins. These should only be used as a last resort and are best applied by professionals.

Ultrasonic Cleaning

Some professionals use ultrasonic cleaners, which generate high-frequency sound waves to remove dirt and grime. However, this method can sometimes alter the coin’s natural luster.

What Not to Use

  • Avoid corrosive chemicals like bleach or acid, which can erode the metal.
  • Do not use abrasive cloth or paper towels, as these can scratch the surface.
  • Always consult a professional before cleaning coins of significant value, especially if they are antique or rare.

Silver Prices

Understanding the silver market can help you decide when to clean or sell your silver items. The price of silver is generally more volatile than gold, meaning it can offer higher returns but with a greater level of risk. Several factors influence silver prices:

Market Demand

The demand for silver in industries like electronics, healthcare, and renewable energy can impact its price. Higher demand generally results in higher prices.

Economic Conditions

Economic uncertainty often leads to higher silver prices as investors seek safe havens to protect their wealth.

Currency Value

The value of the U.S. dollar can inversely affect silver prices. Silver prices tend to be lower when the dollar is strong and vice versa.


Mining activities, recycling rates, and government policies can influence the availability of silver, thereby affecting its price.

If you are an investor, keeping an eye on these factors can help you decide when to sell your silver items. If you are a collector, knowing the current silver prices can help you determine the worth of your collection and how much to invest in maintenance and storage

Silver remains the second-most popular precious metal for commodity investing, both in the United States and internationally. Since many silver bars and coins qualify for Self-Directed IRA inclusion, investors can protect their portfolio while staving off the IRS, too.

You can own real, physical silver bullion and store it in a tax-advantaged retirement vehicle. American Bullion can discuss your options and help you every step of the way. Our goal is to help you take control of your own finances, and we promise to be transparent, safe, and efficient in the process.