Friday, September 13, 2013

Directions for the Cleaning of Artifacts/Coins using Hydrogen Peroxide


Received this from Glen our Treasurer. Not sure if it works or not 

Required items:
                               
 - Disposable plastic bowl – I use an empty margarine container

 - Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide which is 3% H2O2

- Heat Source – I have a gooseneck lamp with a halogen bulb in it.

- Box of Cotton Swabs – Q Tips are the best – others fall apart too easily

Make sure the artifact/coin is free of any oil coating like olive oil if you previous had soaked this object.  The oil coating prevents the Hydrogen Peroxide from working on the dirt.

Put object to be cleaned in disposable plastic bowl and then pour Hydrogen Peroxide on top until it is at least a half an inch above the object to be cleaned.

Using the lamp as a heater, I position the lamp to within 2-4 inches of the bowl.  This heats up the solution.  Be careful not to cause anything to melt from too much heat, use common sense for this part.  A Heat Source is NOT necessary, but it does speed up the cleaning significantly...

ADDED:  YOU CAN USE A MICROWAVE TO HEAT THE PEROXIDE UP FIRST,  BUT BE CAREFUL AND PLEASE USE A SAFE CONTAINER WITH NO METAL IN IT, PUT THE RELIC/COIN IN AFTER THE HEAT UP IN THE MICROWAVE!!!!!


If the solution is hot enough the boiling of the Peroxide should be very evident to you and should remind you of a geyser.  Once it is cooking it sprays the bubbles and smokes a little also.  This should continue for anywhere from one hour to two or three. 

Periodically remove the object if you want to check on the progress.  I usually then lay it on a napkin and take a cotton swab and start to gently rub and see how much crud is coming off the object.  It might take several hours or more to get real clean.  You might even have to repeat the entire process if the object has a lot of stubborn crud on it.

When the bubbling of the Peroxide stops the cleaning also is done.  If it needs more cleaning start over again with fresh fluid.

Keep your cotton swabs wet with the Peroxide while gently rubbing, this will prevent scratches.

When done with your cleaning, rinse the object well with water.

The first coin I did with this method did not require any rubbing whatsoever.  I believe each artifact/coin is unique in how it is cleaned.  Some did not clean up hardly at all.  If it is a corroded object, like a pitted, green Indian Head, I don’t think anything you do will help that.

My best advice is to experiment on non-valuable objects first and then move on to your better finds once you build confidence in what you are doing.

The objects may appear dried out after cleaning, if you want you can coat with a coin preservative like Blue Ribbon Coin Conditioner and Preservative or a similar product that is on the market.

1 comment:

  1. Peroxide will work fine on clad or precious Metal coins ( Silver and Gold) ..... Peroxide baths applied to OLD COPPERS and BRONZE coins can literally destroy the coin depending on the condition ..
    Copper and Brass coin as the lay in the ground all start to break down , some much qwiker than others . As they break down they begin to DELAMINATE ( separate into layers ) Peroxide works on the biologic materials which attach to coins . On delaminating coins this biologic material can get in between the layers .
    As the peroxide begins to react to the contaminants attached within the layers it will actually begin to cause separation within the layers even further . This well result in spider cracking or orange peeling and I have personally seen coins break apart as a result of peroxide baths
    BE CAREFUL ...delicate coins can be harmed by many cleaning methods .
    Electrolysis at VERY LOW Voltage will stop the molecular break down of any coin as well as remove the biologic contaminants . and if you use a HIGH CARBON Steel as your catalyst you will avoid the discoloring of the coin as well.

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