How do I clean a filthy pile of everyday American coins?
Nota Bene: These are NOT collector coins.
I have a pile of American coins - pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters - that have accumulated in my car in a place under the dashboard where you toss things (I'm sorry, I don't know how else to describe it.)
They have accumulated over many months, and the copper pennies are a bit oxidized, and the rest of the lot are gummy from spilled drinks (colas, coffee) and the vagaries of heat, cold and humidity.
It's not a lot of cash, but I can't tender them at any reputable place without offending anyone due to their filthiness, and I can't put them in machines, they'll gum up the whole works. It would be silly to throw them away, but they just aren't usable at this point.
My web searches turn up a lot of useful information about cleaning precious or collectible coins, which is not helpful. (Actually, the advice on those is DON'T, you'll ruin their value.)
Is there a simple way to launder (ha ha) this money without resorting to Aqua Regia, or scrubbing each and every one individually? Some magic combination of vinegar, ammonia and shoe polish in a Crock Pot or something?
Extra points for telling me what that place under the dashboard where you toss things is called. Also tell me if there's a better category for this other than "grab bag", kthxbai
Sealable plastic bottle + dish soap + sand (optional - good for cleaning chunks)(I use a gatorade bottle).
Add hot water, coins and soap. Shake vigorously. Let soak. Shake and repeat. Works every time :)
I think that soaking them in water + dishsoap for awhile, occasionally rummaging through to agitate, would pretty much do it.
posted by desuetude at 3:36 PM on October 31, 2007
Extra points for telling me what that place under the dashboard where you toss things is called.
The glove compartment, or glove box. (In British cars at least. The whole boot/trunk, bonnet/hood thing may apply to this too.)
posted by afx237vi at 3:49 PM on October 31, 2007
I had a pile o' dirty coins in my car too, a few years ago. I did
what Cat Pie Hurts did - sans the sand, but it makes sense as it is abrasive - and it worked. I let them soak for a while in hot soapy water to soften up the grime and shook it vigorously a few times. IIRC, I had to do it twice because they were just that dirty. But it worked and did not involve anything special or involved.
No, we call it glove compartment or glove box as well. I'm in California.
Almost anything on them will be water-soluble, since it's cola residue and the like. Put them in a jar, add water and soap, agitate for a couple of minutes, and you should have perfectly usable coins again.
Bring the coins to a rolling boil in a large pot with a tiny smidge of detergent. Strain and rinse vigorously with cold water.
no, the space under the center of the dash that has cupholder/cigarette lighter in it is the console. The glove box is the spot in front of the passenger seat that has a little door that opens.
When I was a kid, I'd clean pennies with ketchup. It worked like a charm and made them look new and shiny again. Yes, I was an odd child.
I have no idea why it worked--probably acid from the tomatoes or something. So, either ketchup or vinegar might be helpful in this situation.
I can't put them in machines, they'll gum up the whole works.
I wouldn't be so sure, the machines the banks have take most anything (they do jam, but in my limited experience the reasons seem far removed from the actual coins going through.) Personally I'd take them to my bank and put them through their sorting machine -- if you're really embarrassed you could mix them in with good coins.
posted by advil at 4:32 PM on October 31, 2007
Soaking in vinegar or lemon juice removes tarnish from copper. Soak until shiny, then rinse thoroughly.
Put them in a colander in the dishwasher.
Best treatment, seriously, tabasco. Makes 'em look like new. Second to that is vinegar, which is why ketchup works.
So, just for cleany, I would say the gatorade bottle thing. For real shine, it's all about tabasco and time.