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Cleaning Coins With Acetone.

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Valued Member
Canada
125 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2017  3:30 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add arvan to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hey All,

So I have asked a few questions around the forum about cleaning coins with acetone. I had a PVC nightmare so there are some coins I need to clean to clear this infection.

I have a few other questions about acetone and coins I was hoping you can help with a few questions I have. Please not if I say "clean" or "cleaned" I mean with acetone:

1. Do you clean any of your coins with acetone that might have organic matter in the nooks and crannies of the lettering?

2. Do you clean most coins you get or just the ones that obviously need it?

3. Will acetone on a coin with a heavy cameo affect that cameo at all?

4. When you put a coin in the acetone, what is the best way to retrieve it out? I assume it would be gloved fingers but any other ideas?

5. When you clean with acetone, do you have to change the liquid after each coin? At what point do you need fresh acetone to clean with?

6. What about rinsing with water? Do you dunk the coin or use a spray bottle or baster to apply the distilled water?

I am really looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

*** Moved by Staff to a more appropriate forum. ***
Pillar of the Community
United States
1519 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2017  3:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Andrew99 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1. Yes

2. I routinely rinse in acetone as I do not know if the coin had been stored in a soft flip prior to me getting it, even if it is in a PET flip now.

3. No, not at all.

4. No. Clean hands only. Acetone can leach rubber chemicals out of the rubber gloves and they will then redeposit on the coin.

5. Not every coin if it is just a quick rinse to remove flip residue you can't even see, but if you are actively trying to remove something from the coin, yeah, see 4.

6. I do a final rinse in distilled water in a bowl, blow dry with some canned air, and let it sit on a paper towel under a light for a few minutes.
Edited by Andrew99
11/17/2017 3:38 pm
Rest in Peace
United States
17900 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2017  4:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add moxking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
with Andrew on every point.
Bedrock of the Community
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61514 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2017  4:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Same here, well summarized.
Edited by Coinfrog
11/17/2017 4:50 pm
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Canada
3049 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2017  5:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add AgCoinAu to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
all but how to retrieve the coins... I use nitrile golves... nitrile gloves aren't the best for acetone, but their purpose is to protect my skin from acetone exposure. I just have sensitive skin and would rather be careful
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United States
104754 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2017  6:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
6. I do a final rinse in distilled water in a bowl, blow dry with some canned air, and let it sit on a paper towel under a light for a few minutes.
I disagree with this step.

Do a final rinse with fresh acetone. Do not use canned air, let it air dry (acetone evaporates fast). Using fresh acetone is important so no particulates are left behind when the acetone evaporates.
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
19088 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2017  8:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Acetone is useless for removing INorganic substances.

Some water soluble inorganic substances can be removed with distilled water.

Gentle water blasting may be useful for removing any substance that may be only lightly adhering to the surface of a coin. This cleaning technique much better than rubbing. Make sure that the coin is well secured.

With circulated gold coins, plain old soap and water and rinsing under tap water can bring them up nicely.

Valuable coins should be well protected after any cleaning, but that is the subject of many other threads.
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3234 Posts
 Posted 11/17/2017  9:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add DEVLEC to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I sometimes use rubbing alcohol as a final rinse to guarantee that no humidity remains when placed in it's 2x2..

I then pat dry with a tissue and then blow dry with a lens cleaning blow brush.

Any suggestions or comments when doing this as a final step ?

Good or bad ?
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 Posted 11/18/2017  09:50 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Every raw coin I purchase gets an acetone soak as soon as it's home. PVC plasticizer manifestations are not visible in their early stages, and one never knows how the coin might have been handled by the previous owner. Since acetone has no effect whatsoever on the metallic properties of the coin, be it toning or cameo or luster, I have no fears at all about using it.

I do not use it when the aim is to remove crud clinging in tighter areas of a coin. Just plain water is far more effective, especially in a freeze-thaw-freeze cycle. That said, removal of such crud is only warranted in about 1% of the cases we believe it to be, since the surface under said crud does not age at the same rate as the rest of the coin and there's nothing which makes a cleaning as prominent as a successful cleaning.

I handle acetone bare-handed. It's not going to kill you, except that if you happen to have an open sore it gets into, you'll think it's killing you.

Acetone gets used once, and then disposed of. You do not want to redeposit what it's picked up, on the next coin. And since it is far more volatile than anything else we might use on a coin, it should always be the last liquid you employ on a coin. Being miscible, it's even better for removing water from the surface of a coin than a paper towel or evaporation. When you remove a coin from acetone, you can expect it to be dry before you manage to place it on a surface. It evaporates that fast.
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United States
20394 Posts
 Posted 11/18/2017  10:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
To remove a coin from Acetone, simply drill a hole in the coin and run a wire through it. Then use the wire to pull the coin out.
Hopefully you realize I was joking. Already most replies are sufficient. However, I only use Acetone on very messed up coins. Other than that, I never found using it on every coin purchased of any value. If I did I would need barrels full of the stuff. I've had many coins for over 60 years and still look the same as when I got them and no Acetone.
just carl
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104754 Posts
 Posted 11/18/2017  11:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Acetone gets used once, and then disposed of. You do not want to redeposit what it's picked up, on the next coin. And since it is far more volatile than anything else we might use on a coin, it should always be the last liquid you employ on a coin. Being miscible, it's even better for removing water from the surface of a coin than a paper towel or evaporation. When you remove a coin from acetone, you can expect it to be dry before you manage to place it on a surface. It evaporates that fast.
Quoted for truth.
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655 Posts
 Posted 11/19/2017  09:56 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ron6788 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've never tried this. What's a good amount of time to let the coin sit in the acetone? Will it help at all to remove green ick from copper pennies (which seems to form especially on the reverses)?
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 Posted 11/19/2017  10:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I've never tried this. What's a good amount of time to let the coin sit in the acetone? Will it help at all to remove green ick from copper pennies (which seems to form especially on the reverses)?


"Green ick" on a coin could be a manifestation of PVC plasticizer reaction, or it could be Bronze Disease (verdigris). Acetone is imperative for the former, and does very little about the latter. I use acetone as the initial treatment for a coin I'm going after with Verdi-Care, because it helps to dehydrate the verdigris, making the rest of the process somewhat easier, but don't expect it to "solve" verdigris on its' own.

If your "green" is due to PVC plasticizer, you can expect visible results from the first 10-15 minute soak. That much may or may not remove all of it; if you see results but not a complete cure in the first short soak the next step is to leave it in the acetone overnight. Pull it, swish it in a fresh acetone solution, and repeat the overnight soaks until the stuff is gone. Keep in mind, this is a highly flammable and volatile substance, and has to be treated with respect. The soaking container needs an airtight seal to prevent evaporation - that's the only way the coin will stay covered in liquid overnight. I personally use a jigger glass with a round bottom (so the coin doesn't lay flat and prevent the acetone from reaching part of it) and a small pane of glass over the opening for that tight seal.

Although PVC can react with copper, it's more likely that copper will manifest verdigris instead, and that's probably what you're looking at. A bit of time in acetone will tell the story.
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1935 Posts
 Posted 11/19/2017  11:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
First, let me say that I am an organic chemist by profession. Second, having used acetone for decades on the job, I want to let everyone know that repeated skin exposure to acetone will dry out your skin and can lead to atopic dermatitis. Incidental, occasional exposure shouldn't be an issue. Just keep an eye on your skin and apply some type of moisturizer after you're done handling your coins.
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Australia
19088 Posts
 Posted 11/19/2017  4:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Are there any carcinogenic properties relating to acetone
mentioned in the Safety Data sheets?
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1935 Posts
 Posted 11/19/2017  8:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Are there any carcinogenic properties relating to acetone mentioned in the Safety Data sheets?


I don't recall anything at low TLVs. I will check tomorrow when I get to work and report. If you want to find out right away, I use the Fisher Chemical site for reference also. Doesn't work too well on a mobile device.
Edited by Bump111
11/19/2017 8:44 pm
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