Dirty Water 10 Minutes UltraSonic Cleaner

Using an UltraSonic Cleaner on Coins and Metal Detecting Finds

An ultrasonic cleaner is a really nifty little device that removes dirt and debris by agitating fluid using 20-40kHz sound waves.

It can be used on coins, jewelry, (some) glasses, and tools.

I do not advocate for cleaning valuable coins in an ultrasonic cleaner. Exposing the coin to water and even gentle vibrations can damage the surface of the coin. This machine works great for common coins, or coins that have excessive debris and damage.

I received the Magnasonic Professional Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Machine for my birthday (thanks James!) And decided it would be great for cleaning my metal detecting finds.

Here is the UltraSonic Cleaner I will be using for this review:

So, I went into my backyard and metal detected for about half an hour. In that time, I dug up 2 nails and a penny. (I wish I had found more coins for this demonstration, but I was at the will of the metal detector gods.)

Before Cleaner
My Metal Detecting Finds. Two Nails and a Penny.

Here is a close up of the penny. It is a 1976D, legible in-person, but covered in a lot of dirt.

Penny Before UltraSonic Cleaning Coin
Penny Before Ultrasonic Cleaner

First, I microwaved 1.5 cups of water for 45 seconds in the microwave. The ultrasonic cleaner works better with warm/hot water.

UltraSonic Dish Soap MagnaSonic Dawn
Magnasonic Cleaner Machine, Water, and Dawn Dish Soap

Next I submerged the coins in the plastic netting and added a few drops of Dawn dish soap. The soap should help the debris unstick when the machine begins vibrating.

I have advocated before for using acetone to clean coins. DO NOT PUT ACETONE IN YOUR ULTRASONIC CLEANER. Acetone will eat through any plastic and ruin your machine.

You can buy liquid concentrate like this one, which is made to be used in an ultrasonic cleaner. They probably work better than dish soap, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Here is the water after 2.5 minutes:

Dirty Water 2.5 min ultrasonic cleaner
Bleh! So much dirt came off.

My machine automatically shuts off after 2.5 minutes so I let it run a few more times until the penny and nails had been in for a total of 10 minutes.

The machine is not loud when in use. It does make a small humming sound, but as long as the lid is on the sound is not very noticeable.

Here is everything after 10 minutes of ultrasonic vibrations:

Dirty Water 10 Minutes UltraSonic Cleaner
Even more dirt came off after 10 minutes.

Here is the before and after of the penny:

This made a big difference on the penny and the nails. I will definitely be using this device for future metal detecting finds. It is easier than cleaning the coins by hand before putting them back in circulation.

After using the Ultrasonic cleaner, I could even see some of the steel on the nails.

Before CleanerAfter UltraSonic
Slide the center to compare.

I would recommend this product for metal detectorists. It is a very easy way to clean and sanitize your finds. They won’t come out spotless, but it is easier than scrubbing every item.

Remember that this cannot remove tarnishing from silver. Check any jewelry before and after the ultrasonic cleaning for loose gemstones. The vibrations may shake them off.

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5 Hobbies That Go Great With Coin Collecting

What do coin collectors do when they aren’t looking at coins?

Coin collecting is a super fun hobby, but sometimes you lack motivation. Maybe you have just finished a type set, or spent lots of money on American Gold Eagles. It’s common to feel burnt out on a hobby every once in a while.

What should you do while you put coin collecting on the back burner?

Here is a list of 10 hobbies that don’t revolve around coins (but still feel similar.)

1.) Stamp Collecting

Stamps, courtesy of Mason B.

Part of the fun of coin collecting is that you get a new lens on US history. Stamp collecting is a great hobby for people who love coins for their history.

Stamps were first invented in 1837, so there are stamps that are over a century old. Plus, many stamps commemorate historical events. Just like coins, there are stamps for national parks, states, and historical figures. (Also lots and lots of Lady Liberty!)

There are stamp collecting albums for storage similar to coin albums as well as informational books.

2.) Metal Detecting

My Garret Ace 400

I got a metal detector to help me find old coins lost in the ground, but a metal detector can find much more than coins. I have also used my metal detector to find jewelry and help clean up trash. (You will find lots of trash metal detecting!)

Metal detecting gives you an excuse to walk along the beach or hike through the forest in search of treasures. It reminds me of coin roll hunting because there is a sense of searching for forgotten treasures.

I have a Garrett Ace 400 which is a great metal detector for finding coins. It even has a coin setting which helps you find coins faster.

3.) Woodworking

Woodworking Photo courtesy of Dominik Scythe

Any good coin collector eventually reaches the point where they have too many coins to fit in an old Altoid tin. You could move the coins to an old cigar box, but isn’t presentation almost as important as the coin itself?

Making your own coin box, or coin holders, is a super cool way to show off your coins. Plus, you could learn how to sell specialty coin boxes on Etsy! More money = more coins!

I love coin collecting, but often lament the fact that this hobby doesn’t give me the chance to create. By combining coin collecting with woodworking, you have a trove of woodworking ideas and the ability to create something.

4.) Photography

A camera wistfully pointed at the sky. Courtesy of Christian Wiediger.

Photographing coins is HARD. Since coins are so small and have a reflective surface, getting a clear picture is challenging.

I have little to no photography experience so learning to take pictures of coins has been an uphill battle. You need a good camera, natural lighting, and the perfect angle.

Even if you are not photographing coins, photography is a great reason to get outside and explore new places. You may learn about new animals and attractions in your area.

5.) Paper Money Collecting

A 2$ bill hanging in my room.

Collecting paper money is not as fun as collecting coins, (Sorry, paper fanatics!) but it is a good complimentary hobby.

You can look for misprints, mis-cut bills, star notes, and fancy serial numbers. Old paper money is often harder to find than old coins, as paper is less durable.

If you are looking to get started, buy some money holders to keep them safe and start looking through your wallet. You can even go to the bank and ask for a stack of bills to search through!

I’d recommend first searching for 2$ bills, silver certificates, foreign currency, and older bills.

Anything I missed? What complimentary hobbies do you have for coin collecting?

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