How to Scrub a Steel Penny A Comprehensive Guide for Numismatists and Coin Collectors

How to Scrub a Steel Penny: A Comprehensive Handbook

As numismatists and aficionados, we all yearn to possess spotless and lustrous specimens in our assemblages. Steel pennies are among the more special coins that you can encounter, and if you can render them immaculate and glossy, they are bound to be a standout amidst your collection. Nonetheless, scrubbing steel pennies can be a tricky procedure, as they are susceptible to rust and other environmental destruction. In this handbook, we will explain the step-by-step process of how to scrub a steel penny without causing harm to it.

What Are Steel Pennies?

Steel pennies were drafted by the US administration for a brief period during World War II. Due to a copper lack during the war, the government decided to use steel to fabricate pennies. Nevertheless, the steel used was not of the highest quality, and the coins eventually commenced to rust and corrode, rendering them unappealing to collectors.

Scrubbing a Steel Penny

Prior to commencing to scrub a steel penny, it’s imperative to know that you should only clean coins that are already tarnished or discolored. If you possess a steel penny that is in good condition, it’s best to leave it in its natural state, since scrubbing it can often cause damage.

Step 1: Collect Your Supplies

To scrub a steel penny, you’ll require a few supplies:

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Soap or detergent (make sure it is free from harsh chemicals)
  • Refined water
  • Vinegar
  • A soft cloth

Step 2: Dampen the Penny

Begin by dampening your steel penny with refined water. Ensure that the coin is completely soaked, as this will help loosen any dirt or grime on the surface.

See also  Top 13 how long can you collect workers compensation in pennsylvania in 2022

Step 3: Apply Soap

Subsequently, apply a minute amount of soap or detergent to the toothbrush. Delicately scrub the penny, being careful not to scrub too vigorously, as this can cause scratches on the surface of the coin.

Step 4: Rinse with Refined Water

After you’ve scrubbed the penny with soap, rinse it thoroughly with refined water. Ensure to rinse both sides of the coin, as any remaining soap can cause damage over time.

Step 5: Apply Vinegar

To eradicate any stubborn stains or discoloration on the penny, apply a minute amount of vinegar to a soft cloth. Gently massage the affected area until the stain or discoloration is removed.

Step 6: Rinse with Refined Water

After you’ve scrubbed the penny with vinegar, rinse it again with refined water. This will neutralize the acidity of the vinegar.

Step 7: Dry the Penny

Once you’ve rinsed the penny, dry it with a soft cloth. Ensure it’s completely dry before storing it away.


  1. Can I use abrasive detergents to scrub a steel penny?
    No, abrasive detergents can scratch the surface of the coin, causing damage.
  2. Is it safe to use vinegar to scrub a steel penny?
    Yes, vinegar is a safe and effective way to remove stains and discoloration from a steel penny.
  3. Why should I use refined water?
    Refined water is free from minerals and chemicals that can cause damage to the surface of the coin.
  4. Can I use tap water to scrub a steel penny?
    No, tap water contains minerals and chemicals that can cause damage to the surface of the coin.
  5. Should I scrub a steel penny even if it doesn’t appear dirty?
    No, it’s best to leave a steel penny in its natural state if it is not tarnished or discolored.
See also  Top 3 what happens if you collect unemployment while working full time in 2022


Scrubbing a steel penny can be a fragile process, but with the appropriate tools and techniques, it is feasible to restore these distinct coins to their former glory. Remember to be delicate when scrubbing, and never use abrasive detergents or tap water. With a little perseverance and consideration, you can add a gleaming steel penny to your collection.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *