Cleaning your metal detector finds

Metal detecting is an exciting hobby, full of the thrill of discovery. 

But once you’ve unearthed that coin, relic, or piece of jewelry, the next step is to clean it up and restore its original beauty. 

Cleaning your finds correctly can make all the difference between preserving an artifact’s value and accidentally damaging it. 

Here’s a simple guide by GoldXtra to help you clean your metal detector finds.

1. General Cleaning Tips

  • Use Soft Brushes: For initial cleaning, a soft brush like a toothbrush is ideal. It will help you gently remove dirt without scratching the find.
  • Lukewarm Water: Always use lukewarm water to rinse off your finds. Hot water can cause some metals or stones to crack.
  • Air Dry: Once cleaned, let your finds air dry. Using heat or rubbing can cause damage.

2. Cleaning Coins

Coins are a common find for many detectorists. Here’s how you can clean them:

  • Soapy Water: Mix a little dish soap with lukewarm water. Gently brush the coin with the solution using a soft brush.
  • Avoid Abrasives: Never use abrasive materials like sandpaper on coins. It can decrease their value.
  • For Old Coins: If you believe you’ve found an ancient or potentially valuable coin, consult a professional before cleaning.

3. Cleaning Jewelry

Whether it’s a gold ring or a silver necklace, here’s how you can shine them up:

  • Soapy Solution: As with coins, a mix of dish soap and lukewarm water works wonders. Gently scrub the jewelry piece with a soft brush.
  • Check for Stones: If the jewelry has stones, be very gentle around them. Some stones can be damaged by vigorous cleaning.
  • Silver Polish: If you find silver jewelry that’s tarnished, a bit of silver polish can restore its shine.

4. Cleaning Relics and Artifacts

Historical finds require special care:

  • Minimal Cleaning: Sometimes, it’s best to leave relics in their found state, especially if they have historical significance.
  • Consult an Expert: If you believe the artifact has value or historical importance, consult an expert before attempting to clean it.
  • Gentle Brushing: If you decide to clean, gently brush off dirt and debris without using any chemicals.

5. Rust Removal

For finds made of iron that have rusted:

  • White Vinegar: Soak the rusty item in white vinegar for a few hours, then gently scrub with a brush. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Chemical rust removers can be too aggressive for some finds. Always test on a small area first.


Cleaning your metal detector finds can be as exciting as discovering them. 

Seeing an old coin or piece of jewelry return to its former glory is incredibly rewarding. 

However, always prioritize the preservation of the item over its appearance. 

With a gentle touch and the right techniques, you can enjoy your treasures in their best possible condition. Remember, the key is patience and care.

Howard rockse

Hey there, I am Howard a deeply committed individual who likes to share my knowledge and insights in this field, having spent over ten years as a metal detectorist.

My experience with GoldXtra has allowed me to provide trustworthy and informative advice to both new and experienced metal-detecting enthusiasts. I’m committed to assisting others in exploring and enjoying the world of metal detecting with the same enthusiasm and dedication that I have.

Howard Rockse
Senior Content Writer at GoldXtra

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