How To: Clean Dirty Pennies Using Only 3 Things

Clean Dirty Pennies Using Only 3 Things

Do you want your old, dirty pennies to be shiny and glistening again? This article will demonstrate how to return their lovely allure using only three items: salt, lemon juice, and a jar.


  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt
  • Jar With a Screw On Lid
  • Dirty Penny or Pennies

Step 1

Put lemon juice and salt into the jar so that that the bottom of the jar is filled about 1/4 of an inch. The two combined will dissolve the dirt and tarnish off of the penny or pennies you are attempting to clean.

Step 2

Place the penny or pennies in the jar and screw on the lid tightly so no mixture can come out.

Step 3

Shake the jar 15-20 times for about 15 seconds, and then unscrew the lid and take the penny or pennies out.

Step 4

Examine the penny or pennies. The penny or pennies should be clean and shiny.


  • If your penny or pennies aren't entirely clean, add some more salt and lemon juice to the jar and shake harder and longer than you did the first time you attempted.
  • If you don't have lemon juice, you can squeeze juice from a lemon into the jar. I'm not sure whether or not this will work the same, but I don't think it'll affect the result much.


  • Don't try this with other coins; this method works with pennies only.
  • Never clean collectible pennies. Removing the tarnish (patina) from the coin can reduce the value of the coin by up to 90%.

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