Article and photos courtesy of Dean Johnson.
I have researched cleaning clad coins extensively as I was unable to cash them in at any bank and was reduced to spending them in vending machines or dropping them in slot machines. I have read numerous articles, and have gleaned the best parts, and combined them to come up with a system that works extremely well.
I purchased a rock tumbler from a local hardware store. I fill it 1/2 full of aquarium gravel. I fill an 8 ounce plastic cup with coins and pour them in on top of the gravel. I then fill the tumbler with enough water to cover the coins with 1/4" of water. Then I add a tablespoon of dishwashing soap, close the tumbler, and run them for about 12 hours.
I purchased a 1 square foot piece of 1/4 inch chicken wire and cut and folded to make a basket.
AFTER RUNNING THE COINS (12 hours later.)
Step 1. Pour coins, gravel, and dirty water in to a kitchen strainer over a plastic bowl to ensure that no gravel goes down the drain.
Step 2. Rinse coins with running tap water.
Step 3. Place wire mesh basket on a large cookie sheet.
Step 4. Pour coins and gravel in the wire mesh basket, shake side to side to cause gravel to fall through.
Step 5. Set basket with coins aside.
Step 6. Scrape gravel off cookie sheet back in to tumbler to use for next time. (Gravel can be used repeatedly. Eventually it will become smooth like river rock and be ineffective at cleaning the coins.)
Step 7. Place two clean paper towels on cookie sheet and pour coins on paper towels to dry.
Note: Coins in the demonstration were run continuously for 12 hours. Run time can be reduced if coins are not badly stained. If the coins remain soiled after 1 run they can be run again (with fresh water and new soap).
Where to purchase a "rock/coin tumbler:
http://www.kellycodetectors.com/accessories/coinitems.htm Prices starting at $59.95.
http://www.mamasminerals.com/ Prices starting at $59.30.
http://www.harborfreight.com/ Prices starting at $35.00. Search for "Rock Tumbler".
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