How To Clean Metal Detecting Finds (Ultimate Guide)

Congratulations, you’ve found something while metal detecting! You may think that the hard part is over, but now you have the challenge of cleaning the find properly so that you don’t diminish its value or damage the item.

The right way to clean a metal detecting find varies depending on the type of metal and the type of object it is. No matter the material, you should always be mindful and careful while cleaning your find so you don’t damage it and diminish its value.

This article is your complete guide to safely and effectively cleaning your metal-detecting finds based on the type of metal it is and the type of object it is. Let’s get started! 

How To Clean Your Finds (by Metal)

The first step in cleaning your metal detecting find is determining which type of metal it is. If you have a higher-tech and more expensive metal detector, it usually has target identification and informs you what kind of metal you’ve found. Alternatively, you can use your experience and observation skills to identify the metal. 

Once you know the type of metal you have, you’ll likely have many different options for what you can use to clean the object. The good news is you’ll probably have many of the materials needed for cleaning already in your home! The following table outlines common metal detecting finds and what you might need to clean the item: 

Metal Cleaning Options 
Silver Baking Soda Aluminum Foil Toothpaste Coca-Cola Vinegar Dish Soap Cornstarch Laundry Detergent 
Gold Dish Soap Sparkling Water Ammonia 
Copper Vinegar Lemon JuiceTomato Paste Olive Oil 
Brass Ketchup Vinegar Toothpaste Brass Cleaner Baking Soda and Lemon Juice 
Aluminum White Vinegar Borax Lemon Juice Dish Soap 
Bronze Lemon Juice with Baking Soda  Salt and Flour Ketchup Soap  
ZincLemon Juice White Vinegar Baking Soda Toothpaste 
Nickel Soap Ammonia Vinegar Ice Machine Cleaner 
Tin Dish Soap Baking Soda Lemon Juice and Salt Potato 

Let’s take a more detailed look at how you should clean various types of metals.  


Silver is a common metal to find while metal detecting, and many desirable objects, such as coins and jewelry, are made of silver. Therefore, you must know how to clean it properly. Here’s what to do: 

Baking Soda 

  1. Acquire your baking soda. 
  2. Mix the baking soda with water until the mixture becomes a paste-like consistency. 
  3. Dip a soft, lint-free rag into the mixture. 
  4. Gently rub the item with the cloth. 
  5. Completely cover the item with the mixture. 
  6. Allow the paste some time to dry on the object. 
  7. Rinse the item with cool water. 
  8. Wipe the item dry. 

Aluminum Foil 

  1. Place a tablespoon of baking soda, a piece of aluminum foil, and a liter of water in a pot. 
  2. Bring the water to a boil. 
  3. Remove the pot from the stove. 
  4. Place the silver into the pot. 
  5. Allow the silver to soak for ten seconds. 
  6. Remove the silver item from the pot using a spoon or a pair of tongs. 
  7. Wipe the item dry. 


  1. Squeeze a bit of plain, solid-colored toothpaste onto a microfiber cloth. 
  2. Wipe the silver object with the cloth. 
  3. Allow the toothpaste enough time to dry on the object. 
  4. Rinse the item with warm water. 
  5. Wipe the item dry. 

Some kinds of toothpaste contain abrasive ingredients that can damage silver, so be sure that the toothpaste you use has tartar-control ingredients and is only one color. I don’t recommend using any toothpaste that is specifically manufactured for whitening teeth.  


  1. Place the silver item in a bowl. 
  2. Pour Coca-Cola into the bowl until the item is completely submerged. 
  3. Allow the silver to soak in the Coca-Cola for three minutes. 
  4. Remove the silver. 
  5. Wipe the item dry. 


  1. Acquire white distilled vinegar. 
  2. Place the silver item in a bowl. 
  3. Pour white distilled vinegar over the item until it is completely submerged. 
  4. Add four tablespoons of baking soda to speed up the cleaning process. 
  5. Let the silver item soak in the mixture for an hour. 
  6. Wipe the item dry. 

Dish Soap 

  1. Mix dish soap with warm water in a bowl. 
  2. Dip a microfiber rag into the bowl. 
  3. Rub the silver item with the rag. 
  4. Rinse the item with cold water. 
  5. Wipe the item dry. 


  1. Fill a bowl with three parts water to one part cornstarch. 
  2. Stir the mixture until it becomes paste-like in consistency. 
  3. Place some of the mixtures onto a damp microfiber cloth. 
  4. Rub the silver object with the cloth. 
  5. Allow the mixture to dry on the object. 
  6. Rub off the mixture with a clean cloth. 

Laundry Detergent 

  1. Place a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom of a bowl. 
  2. Fill the bowl with boiling water. 
  3. Add one tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent. 
  4. Allow the powder to dissolve completely. 
  5. Place the silver item in the bowl. 
  6. Allow the item to soak for two minutes. 
  7. Remove the item from the bowl. 
  8. Let the item air-dry. 

Something to keep in mind while cleaning silver is that it is an extremely soft metal, and it easily dents and scratches. If you’re not careful, you can end up changing the shape or greatly decreasing the value of the object during the cleaning process. Therefore, I recommend only using extremely gentle cleaners and other tools, such as soft-bristle toothbrushes instead of normal brushes. This is especially true with sterling silver. 


Suppose you managed to find gold with your metal detector, congratulations! Gold can be tricky to find, and it can also be tricky to clean. If you need help cleaning the gold you’ve found, I recommend the following methods: 

Liquid Detergent 

  1. Mix one tablespoon of gentle liquid detergent with warm water in a bowl. 
  2. Place the gold object in the bowl. 
  3. Allow the gold to soak for fifteen minutes. 
  4. Remove the object. 
  5. Wipe the object with a microfiber cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any stubborn dirt or debris. 
  6. Wipe the item dry. 

Sparkling Water 

  1. Fill a bowl with unflavored sparkling water. 
  2. Place the gold object inside the bowl and ensure that the object is completely submerged in the water. 
  3. Let the object soak for ten minutes. 
  4. Wipe the item dry.   


  1. Acquire the ammonia. 
  2. Fill a bowl with six parts water and one part ammonia. 
  3. Place the gold object in the mixture.
  4. Allow the gold to soak for one minute. 
  5. Remove the object. 
  6. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  7. Pat the item dry. 

I don’t recommend using ammonia to clean your gold metal detection if the item also has a gemstone, like a gold ring with a diamond or a gold bracelet with rubies. Ammonia can damage some gemstones, so it is best to avoid using it in this case. If the object is only made of gold, like if you discover a gold nugget, it is safe to use ammonia. 

While we’re on the topic of gold, if you want to increase your chances of finding it, you should read my article on the optimal detector settings for gold. I’ll also share my favorite devices that are more likely to detect gold if you happen to be in the right place: These Are the Best Metal Detector Settings for Gold


Copper can be an exciting metal detecting find, as many old copper coins and large copper nuggets can be highly valued. However, to preserve that value, you must clean your finds properly and not damage the material. Here’s what you can do to clean copper finds without causing discoloration or tarnish:


  1. Mix salt, flour, and vinegar in a bowl to form a paste. 
  2. Dap a microfiber cloth in the paste. 
  3. Rub the copper object with the cloth. 
  4. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  5. Allow the object to air-dry.


  1. Squeeze a lemon until you have enough lemon juice to cover the copper item.
  2. Mix a pinch of salt with the lemon juice. 
  3. Dip a microfiber cloth into the lemon juice. 
  4. Wipe the copper object until it shines. 
  5. Rinse the object with warm water.   

Tomato Paste 

  1. Acquire tomato paste. 
  2. Rub some tomato paste directly onto the copper object. 
  3. Allow the paste to sit for a few minutes. 
  4. Rinse with warm water. 

Olive Oil 

  1. Fill the bottom of a bowl with virgin olive oil. 
  2. Place the copper item in the bowl. 
  3. Allow the item to soak for at least two days. 
  4. Remove the item from the olive oil. 
  5. Pat dry. 

Gold is extremely durable, so many people assume that they can clean it with tougher materials and tools without any problem. Don’t make this mistake! Gold is tough, but if you don’t treat it properly, it can still be scratched and dented during a cleaning. One ingredient that you should never use while cleaning gold is bleach, which can damage the item. 


Many metal detectorists find lots of brass, especially brass shell casings. Brass looks best when it’s nice and shiny, so you’ll probably want to clean your brass finds as thoroughly as possible.


  1. Cover the brass object completely with ketchup. 
  2. Allow the object to sit for an hour. 
  3. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  4. Wash the copper with soap and a damp cloth if there’s a lingering ketchup smell.
  5. Wipe the object dry. 


  1. Mix one teaspoon of salt with half a cup of vinegar in a bowl. 
  2. Stir the mixture with a spoon until the salt completely dissolves. 
  3. Add flour little by little until the mixture is paste-like. 
  4. Rub the mixture onto the brass using a microfiber towel. 
  5. Let the mixture dry on the object. 
  6. After at least ten minutes, rinse the brass object with warm water. 
  7. Wipe the brass dry. 


  1. Cover the brass object completely with toothpaste. 
  2. Allow the toothpaste to dry for at least five minutes. 
  3. Use a microfiber cloth to rub the toothpaste into the brass. 
  4. Rinse the brass with cold water. 
  5. Wipe the object dry.    

Brass Cleaner 

  1. Acquire a cleaner specialized for use on brass.
  2. Cover the brass object with the cleaner. 
  3. Allow it to dry completely. 
  4. Rinse the brass with cold water. 
  5. Wipe the object dry. 

Baking-Soda-and-Lemon Mix 

  1. Get a clean bowl. 
  2. Squeeze half of a lemon into the bowl. 
  3. Add a teaspoon of baking soda. Don’t be alarmed when it starts to fizz; this is normal. 
  4. Stir the mixture. 
  5. Completely cover the brass object with the paste with a lint-free microfiber cloth. 
  6. Rub the paste into the object. 
  7. Rinse the object with cold water. 
  8. If the object is still not completely clean, repeat the process as needed. 

Brass is relatively hard, so while you should always be gentle with your metal detecting finds, you don’t have to be as cautious with brass as you would be with softer ad more damage-prone metals. Additionally, brass is corrosion-resistant, so you don’t have to worry too much about exposing it to salt water.  


Most metal detectors can sense aluminum, and it is one of the most abundant materials on the planet, so there’s a good chance you’ll end up with some aluminum finds that you’ll want to restore to good condition. Here are my recommendations for how to clean aluminum finds: 

White Vinegar 

  1. Mix equal parts white vinegar with water in a bowl. 
  2. Dip a microfiber cloth into the mixture. 
  3. Wipe the aluminum object clean. 
  4. If dirt or other debris remains, gently scrub the item with a toothbrush. 
  5. Pat the object dry with a clean cloth. 

If the item is especially dirty, you can still use white vinegar, but follow these steps instead: 

  1. Boil the water before adding the vinegar. 
  2. Place the aluminum object in the mixture. 
  3. Allow the object to soak in the water and vinegar for at least thirty minutes. 
  4. Remove the object. 
  5. Pat dry with a clean cloth.  


  1. Acquire the borax. 
  2. Sprinkle some of the Borax powder onto the aluminum object. 
  3. Use a microfiber cloth to rub the aluminum until the dirt is gone and the object is shiny. 
  4. Rinse the object with cold water. 
  5. Let the object air dry. 


  1. Mix one part warm water with one part lemon juice in a bowl. 
  2. Dip a microfiber cloth into the mixture. 
  3. Wipe down the aluminum object with the cloth. 
  4. Scrub any stubborn areas with a soft-bristle toothbrush. 
  5. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  6. Let the object air dry. 

Liquid Soap

  1. Mix two cups of water with two tablespoons of liquid soap.
  2. Put the mixture in a spray bottle. 
  3. Spray the aluminum object. 
  4. Wipe the item down with a microfiber towel. 
  5. Rinse the object to avoid leaving a streaky residue behind. 
  6. Pat the item dry or allow it to air dry. 

Many people assume that aluminum is not very durable because it is so lightweight, but it is actually more durable than you’d guess, and it is its durability that makes it such a good metal to recycle. If, after cleaning your aluminum object, you discover that it isn’t anything you’re interested in keeping or selling, I highly recommend recycling it so it can start anew.    


Bronze doesn’t have high electrical conductivity, but many high-quality metal detectors can still sense it. Therefore, you’ll need to know how to clean it properly if you come across a bronze treasure, like a statue or a piece of jewelry. 

Lemon-Baking-Soda Mix

  1. Cover your hands with rubber gloves. 
  2. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with lemon juice in a bowl until the mixture resembles toothpaste. 
  3. Using your gloved hands, smear the paste on the bronze object until it is completely covered. 
  4. Use a toothbrush to work the paste into any nooks and crannies on the object. 
  5. Rub the paste into the object with a microfiber cloth. Wipe using small, circular motions. 
  6. Allow the mixture to soak into the bronze for thirty minutes. 
  7. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  8. Pat the object dry with a clean microfiber cloth. 

Salt and Flour  

  1. Mix two tablespoons of salt with two tablespoons of flour in a bowl. 
  2. Mix water with the salt and flour until it forms a paste. 
  3. Rub the paste into the bronze object using a gloved hand or a microfiber cloth. 
  4. Allow the paste to stay on the bronze for at least ninety minutes. 
  5. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  6. Pat the item dry. 


  1. Cover the object completely with ketchup. 
  2. Let the ketchup sit on the bronze for at least fifteen minutes. 
  3. Rinse the item with warm water. 
  4. Pat the item dry. 


  1. Dampen a microfiber cloth. 
  2. Rub the cloth with soap until the cloth is sudsy and soapy. 
  3. Bring water to a boil in a pot. 
  4. Place the bronze item in the boiling water. 
  5. Remove the object immediately using a pair of tongs. 
  6. Rub the object with your sudsy cloth. 
  7. Dip the object back into the boiling water. 
  8. Pat the object dry with clean chamois leather. 


Some old coins are made with zinc, so there’s a good chance you’ll get some zinc signals and objects if you’re coin hunting. You may also discover some jewelry made with zinc. 

Here’s how to clean those zinc finds: 


  1. Place the zinc item on a cloth. 
  2. Dip a microfiber cloth into some lemon juice. Alternatively, you can cut a lemon in half and wipe the zinc object with the lemon wedge. 
  3. Rub the lemon juice on the zinc item. Scrub the dirtier areas until the debris comes off. 
  4. Pat the object dry with a wet paper towel. 

White Vinegar  

To clean a zinc object with white vinegar, follow the same steps above, but substitute white vinegar for the lemon juice. If your object has nooks and crannies that are difficult to get to using a cloth, you can use a gentle toothbrush to reach into those cracks and remove any grime. 

Soda Paste

  1. Mix baking soda and water in a bowl until it forms a paste. 
  2. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush into the paste. 
  3. Scrub the zinc with the toothbrush. 
  4. Wipe the object with a wet towel. 
  5. Allow the object to air dry. 


  1. Apply toothpaste directly to the zinc object. 
  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub the object and spread the toothpaste around. 
  3. Wipe the toothpaste away with a damp cloth. 
  4. Allow the object to air dry. 

Bronze has high copper content, so it is extremely durable. Therefore, while it is always better to be gentle when you can, don’t be afraid to get a little rough while cleaning if you need to. 


Many coins are made with nickel, so you may score some interesting nickel finds with your metal detector that you’ll want to clean so you can inspect them further. Here’s how to clean nickel: 


  1. Fill a bowl with warm water. 
  2. Add a mild detergent to the water. 
  3. Dip the nickel object in soapy water. 
  4. Scrub the object with a soft-bristled toothbrush. 
  5. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  6. Allow the item to air dry. 


  1. Pour household ammonia into a bowl. 
  2. Dilute the ammonia with water. 
  3. Place the nickel object into the mixture. 
  4. Allow the object to soak for no more than thirty minutes. 
  5. Rinse the object with warm water. 


  1. Pour some vinegar into a bowl and mix it with water. You must dilute the vinegar because plain vinegar is too abrasive for thin nickel coatings. 
  2. If the nickel object is especially dirty, heat the mixture. 
  3. Dip a clean microfiber towel into the vinegar mixture. 
  4. Rub the nickel object in small, circular motions. 
  5. Rinse the object in warm water. 
  6. Wipe the object dry with a clean cloth. 

Ice Machine Cleaner 

  1. Acquire your ice machine cleaner. 
  2. Cover the nickel item with the cleaner. 
  3. Wipe the object with a clean microfiber cloth. 
  4. Rinse the object with warm water. 

When cleaning nickel, I recommend avoiding acid or solvent-based cleaners. These cleaners can be harsh and strip the nickel of its coloring. 


The final metal you’ll need to know how to clean is tin. Tin isn’t always the most desirable metal while detecting, but you can still make some cool discoveries. Here’s how to clean your tin finds: 

Dish Soap 

  1. Fill a pan with water. 
  2. Add a little bit of gentle dish soap. 
  3. Bring the water to a boil. 
  4. Dip a microfiber cloth into the water. 
  5. Scrub the tin object with the water. 
  6. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  7. Allow the item to air dry. 

Hot Baking Soda 

  1. Fill a pan with water. 
  2. Add a half cup of baking soda to the water. 
  3. Bring the water to a boil. 
  4. Dip a microfiber cloth into the water. 
  5. Wipe the tin object with the cloth. 
  6. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  7. Allow the object to air dry. 

Lemon and Salt 

  1. Rub a lemon wedge over a dirty or rusted spot on the tin item. 
  2. Pour salt onto the lemon juice. 
  3. Add more lemon juice on top of the salt. 
  4. Wipe the area with a cloth. 
  5. Rinse the object with warm water. 
  6. Allow the item to air dry. 


  1. Slice a potato in half. 
  2. Add dish soap to the cut end of the potato. 
  3. Rub the potato on the tin item. 
  4. Scrub the tin item with the potato wedge. 
  5. Rinse the object. 
  6. Allow the item to air dry. 

Tin is a relatively soft metal, so I recommend being as gentle as possible throughout the cleaning process. It would be a shame to bend or dent your object during cleaning! 

How To Clean Your Finds (by Object)

Sometimes, specific objects require more customized or careful cleaning. The above guide is a good place to start once you’ve identified the metal, but if you’d like more detailed information based on specific objects you might find, read on. I’ll cover how to clean: 

  • Coins 
  • Jewelry 
  • Brass Shell Casings 
  • Gold Nuggets 
  • Buttons  


If you know the type of metal the coin is made of, you can follow the above guide to see how to clean it. Another good option is to use a tumbler. A rock tumbler is a great option, but I recommend getting a new one because deposits left behind from tumbling rocks can cause damage to fragile coins.

However, if you find an older coin, don’t clean it right away. Some purchasers prefer to buy coins “as found” for extra authenticity.  

If you use a rock tumbler to clean your coins, I suggest only tumbling coins together if they’re the same color. If you tumble different-colored coins together, you’ll probably have some stains. Here are some other suggestions: 

  • Keep your tumbler on a level surface
  • Open the lid every once and a while during the tumbling to release air so the machine doesn’t overheat 
  • Don’t exceed your tumbler’s weight limit 

Another option you have to clean coins is to use electrolysis. Electrolysis uses an electrical current to encourage a chemical reaction that removes corrosion from metals. This potentially damages coins, so you must be careful and only use low voltages for short amounts of time. 

Another simpler way to clean coins is to use liquid dish soap. For this method, follow these steps: 

  1. Mix one cup of warm water in a bowl with one teaspoon of gentle liquid dish soap. 
  2. Rinse one coin underneath running water for five seconds to loosen up any hardened debris or dirt. 
  3. Dip the coin in the water and dish soap mixture. 
  4. Rub away at any dirt with your finger while the coin is submerged. 
  5. If the dirt is sticking, use a soft bristle toothbrush to scrub the coin. 
  6. Rinse the coin under running water. 
  7. Allow the coin to air dry. 

Some older coins, especially those more than a few decades old, are especially prone to corrosion and tarnish. Here’s what to do in that situation: 

  1. Pour one cup of white vinegar into a bowl. 
  2. Place the coins (no more than five) in the bowl. 
  3. Allow the coins to soak for a few hours. 
  4. Remove the coins and place them on a towel. 
  5. Sprinkle baking soda on the coins. 
  6. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to scrub the coins and remove any tarnish or debris. 
  7. Rinse the coins with hot water. 
  8. Place the coins on the towel again and allow them to air dry. 

Be sure to take care when you clean coins so you don’t damage the surface or any imagery that may be printed on the coin’s face. 

Old coins tend to be made of gold, silver, copper, and zinc. So, you’re more likely to discover coins if you have the right settings for these metals. For more guidance on finding coins, check out my article on the topic, where you’ll also find a few of the best detectors you can use to find coins: These are the Best Metal Detector Settings for Coins


Coins aren’t the only valuable items you can find with a metal detector. Many detectorists are thrilled to find old pieces of jewelry buried underground or in bodies of water. 

Here’s how to clean jewelry: 

  1. Mix a mild soap, like Dove, into warm water until the water is sudsy. 
  2. Submerge the jewelry in soapy water to loosen any hardened debris or grime. If the jewelry has gemstones, I don’t recommend submerging it entirely, especially if it has a pearl, opal, coral, or onyx stone. Instead, get a soft-bristled toothbrush wet and use that to clean the piece. 
  3. After the initial soak, use a toothbrush to gently scrub the piece, paying close attention to the nooks and crannies around the prongs. Use small circular motions with the toothbrush. 
  4. If there is still dirt on the item, keep scrubbing and/or submerging the piece until it is clean. 
  5. Rinse the jewelry with lukewarm water. 
  6. Pat the piece dry. 
  7. Polish the piece with a polishing cloth. 

Here’s another method you can use to clean jewelry: 

  1. Bring water to a boil while completing the next few steps. 
  2. Place some tinfoil on a small pan, shiny side up. 
  3. Put the jewelry on the tinfoil. 
  4. Sprinkle the jewelry with some baking soda.
  5. Pour some boiling water on top of the jewelry. 
  6. Allow the baking soda to dissolve in the water. 
  7. Allow the jewelry to soak in the baking soda and water solution for a few minutes. You should be able to notice a difference in the amount of tarnish on the jewelry. 
  8. Remove the jewelry. 
  9. Pat the jewelry dry with a lint-free, microfiber cloth. 

Another way you can clean jewelry is to use an ultrasonic cleaner. If the jewelry is extremely old, valuabe, or fragile, I don’t recommend using this method. I don’t recommend using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean any jewelry with pearls, rubies, or opals. These gemstones are soft, so the power of an ultrasonic cleaner can cause irreparable damage. I also don’t recommend using an ultrasonic cleaner more than a couple of times a month. 

If the piece seems sturdy and you won’t be devastated if it breaks, you can proceed with this method. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Acquire an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Be sure to find one that has lots of good reviews.
  2. Fill the tank of the cleaner with water. 
  3. Add a tablespoon of ammonia if you think the jewelry piece is particularly dirty and needs all the help it can get. 
  4. Add dishwashing liquid to the proper part of the cleaner. The cleaner should come with instructions that tell you where the soap should go. 
  5. If your cleaner has a heater, allow enough time for the heater to heat the cleaning solution. 
  6. Place the jewelry in the tank. I don’t recommend stuffing the cleaner too full of jewelry, as you risk scratching and other damage this way. 
  7. Turn the cleaner on. 
  8. Wait the allotted time. Usually, it takes between five and twenty minutes for the jewelry to get completely clean. 
  9. Turn the cleaner off. 
  10. Wait a few minutes to allow the water and dirt to settle. 
  11. If, when you remove the jewelry, you still notice dirt and other grime, you can use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub at the piece to remove the dirt. 
  12. Rinse the jewelry with warm water. 
  13. Pat dry with a lint-free, microfiber cloth. 
  14. Rinse out the cleaner and put it away. 

Jewelry can be extremely fragile, so the most important thing while cleaning your finds is to be careful, especially around the gemstones. 

Brass Bullet Casings 

Casings are another popular metal detection find; you can reuse them after cleaning them. One method for cleaning a brass bullet casing is using a rotary tumbler.  

Once you have your tumbler, follow these steps: 

  1. Sort the casings by size. If you put casings of different sizes in the tumbler at once, the smaller ones can get stuck inside the larger ones or get damaged by the larger ones slamming into them. 
  2. Add the walnut shell media to the tumbler machine. 
  3. Add polishing powder to the machine. 
  4. Place the brass bullet casings in the machine. 
  5. Close the lid and start the tumbler. Follow the directions for your tumbler regarding how long to keep the machine running. Usually, you’ll have to keep the machine running for a long time, approximately eight hours.  
  6. Remove the casings from the machine. 
  7. Rinse the casings with warm water. 
  8. Place the casings on a towel and allow them to air dry. 

If you clean the casings properly, you can reuse them or recycle them. 

Gold Nuggets 

Cleaning gold nuggets are a great way to make them more beautiful and appealing, whether you want to keep them in your collection or sell them. Most gold nuggets that you find with a metal detector are covered with dirt and other sediments, which can be difficult to remove, but with the right ingredients and a little persistence, you can get your gold nuggets clean and shining in no time. 

In some cases, all you’ll need to clean a gold nugget is some soap and water. If you choose that route, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub the nugget, and be careful because gold is a soft metal. Therefore, nuggets are very susceptible to damage, especially during cleaning.  

You can also try mixing salt and vinegar to make a cleaning solution. If you want to go in this direction, follow these steps: 

  1. Place the gold nugget in a small bottle. 
  2. Add vinegar until the nugget is completely submerged. 
  3. Let the nugget sit in the vinegar for a couple of hours. 
  4. After a couple of hours, add salt to the bottle. 
  5. Put a lid on the bottle and shake it. 
  6. If you notice that the liquid changes color, this is a good sign that the solution is working. 


Another fun find to discover while metal detecting is buttons. Some buttons are made of metal, such as brass buttons, so your metal detector will pick those up. It’s also not unusual to come across buttons made from other materials while digging for other finds. If you do happen to come across a button, you can clean it by following these steps: 

  1. Wetten a cotton swab with some vinegar. 
  2. Use the swab to rub the button and wipe away the dirt. 
  3. Put some jewelry polish on a polishing cloth. 
  4. Wipe the button with the polish until it shines. 

Ketchup also works great for cleaning brass buttons, and it’s easy! All you need to do is follow these steps: 

  1. Rub tomato ketchup on the button, ensuring the whole button is covered. 
  2. Massage the ketchup into the button using your fingers. If you don’t want to get ketchup all over your fingers, put some rubber gloves on first. 
  3. Allow the button to sit covered in ketchup for an hour so the salt and acetic acid can break down the tarnish. 
  4. Rinse the button with warm water. 
  5. Pat the button dry with a towel. 

Some buttons can be worth quite a bit of money to some collectors, especially if you present them in pristine and clean condition. Therefore, it may be well worth your effort to clean the button. 


There is no universal way to clean a metal detecting find properly. You can discover many different materials and objects with a metal detector, and the cleaning method varies depending on the object you acquire. You should always be as careful as possible while cleaning to avoid damaging the item and diminishing its value.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to tips on finding and collecting precious items. Inspired by reading countless adventurer reports from the oldtimers, Alex is passionate about discovering hidden treasures and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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