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People have historically rushed to invest in gold bullion — coins and bars — as soon as it became clear that tough times were on the horizon. This trend continues to this day. Gold is, after all, a safe-haven asset that retains its value or appreciates during economic downturns. This makes it an excellent hedge against inflation and a great store of wealth.
Unfortunately, new investors don’t always know how to take care of the gold coins and bars they buy. Cleaning your gold is an especially contentious issue. Inform yourself before you devalue your investment — and start here!
Should You Clean Your Gold Bullion At All?
Gold became popular as a form of currency many centuries ago. That’s for a number of reasons, but some are related to the precious metal’s physical characteristics. Gold is soft and malleable, making it easy to work with.
Unfortunately, those same points also make gold easy to damage, especially while attempting to clean it. Coins are especially vulnerable because of their intricate designs, which can easily be ruined. Not only can small quantities of gold be lost during the cleaning process, but gold coins can also lose their numismatic value.
Even the patina, the residue that builds up on precious metals over time, can add to the value of a numismatic coin by telling a story about its history and significance.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s infinitely better not to clean your gold bullion at all than to clean it poorly and cause damage in the process. When in doubt, it’s always safer to consult a professional. You want your investment to be safe, after all.
How to Clean Gold Coins
If you’ve decided to clean your gold coins:
Don soft cotton gloves to protect the metal. The oils on your skin can damage gold coins.
Create a working surface by laying a soft cotton cloth on a table or desk.
Add warm (but not hot) distilled water to a bowl, and place a gold coin inside. Let it soak for a few minutes.
Hold the coin by its edges.
A soft and lint-free cloth can be enough to clean the coin, but some people opt to use extremely soft toothbrushes instead. Dry the coin carefully by fully after cleaning it.
Store your gold coins in a special container designed for precious metals.
Alternatively, some people use an ammonia solution (one part ammonia to six parts water) to clean their gold coins. The same process can be used in this case.
How to Clean Gold Bars
Gold bars are heavier and larger than coins. This makes handling them a little more challenging. Handle your gold bars carefully and gently, avoiding the risk of dropping them. Because gold is so soft, even a gold bar that slips from your hand onto a table a few inches below can be damaged.
Besides this consideration, you can use the same process to clean your gold bars. Gold bars are less delicate than coins, which makes handling and cleaning them less risky overall.
What Not to Do When Cleaning and Handling Gold Coins and Bars
Look up “how to clean gold” on the internet, and you’ll immediately get some perplexing suggestions. They include using baking soda, silver polish, and other hash chemicals to clean your gold. Using a household sponge of the kind you may use to do the dishes to scrub your gold is another shockingly common suggestion.
Don’t do these things. You will ruin your gold and devalue your investment.
It is always better to pay for a professional gold cleaning service than to experiment with cleaning valuable gold bullion on your own. You could even ask a professional to walk you through the process of cleaning your gold coins and bars safely.
When in doubt, allow your gold coins and bars to remain in their original condition to preserve their value.