Many people think cleaning their gold and silver bullion will enhance its condition and increase its value, but that’s not true in many instances. In fact, cleaning bullion can actually damage it and lower its value. In many cases, collectors favor well-maintained tarnished pieces over ones that have been cleaned improperly. Some even collect certain precious metals, especially coins, precisely because of their discoloration or uneven appearance. If you’re determined to clean your bullion, you should do it on only the most superficial level. Here are some tips on the best ways to clean your gold and silver bullion while protecting your investment, brought to you by the experienced professionals from First National Bullion. Carlsbad collectors rely on our expertise and extensive knowledge about every aspect of buying, selling, and owning precious metals.
Cleaning Gold Bullion
Pure gold is soft and malleable, and the details and finish that make your gold bullion special can be damaged in the cleaning process. In particular, if your bullion is in the form of gold coins, you could wind up making them look worse by cleaning them improperly, so it’s essential to do it the right way.
Always start by thoroughly cleaning and drying your hands before you handle your gold bullion. If dirt and oils from your fingers are transferred to your bullion, they could cause it to decay and tarnish over time. You can provide further protection by putting on soft gloves after you wash your hands. This creates a barrier that keeps you from leaving fingerprints on your gold. Cotton gloves are best because, unlike latex and plastic gloves, they don’t have lubricants or powders that can get transferred to the surface of the bullion.
Place a soft towel or cloth on the surface where you’ll be cleaning your bullion. Make sure not to use a cloth made from rough fibers, which could scratch your bullion instead of protecting it. Next, simply use mild soap and water to wash the bullion, and thoroughly rinse it to avoid leaving behind any soap residue. Don’t use any kind of cleaners or polishes, which usually have acidic components that will corrode the metal’s surface. After you’ve gently washed the bullion, pat it dry with a soft towel or cloth. Don’t rub it, since that could scratch the surface of the metal. Let the bullion dry completely before you store it to prevent damage from any residual moisture.
Cleaning Silver Bullion
Tarnish won’t affect the metal content of silver bullion, but it can impact its value to some degree. If silver doesn’t have its initial luster, collectors will often pay less, but there are some simple methods for cleaning silver bullion that can remove most of the tarnish and brighten it up quite nicely.
First, gather all the supplies you’ll need: a container (such as a cooking pan or plastic bowl), hot and cold water, baking soda, aluminum foil, and latex gloves. Use the foil to line the container, making sure it’s completely lined and there are no gaps. You may need to use multiple layers of foil to accomplish this.
Sprinkle baking soda on top of the aluminum foil, creating a layer thick enough that you can barely see the foil underneath it. Now, place the tarnished silver in the middle of the container, and cover the bullion completely with more baking soda. Add hot water to the container, covering the silver entirely. After you’ve poured in the water, add more baking soda on top of the silver and let it soak for a minimum of five minutes. If your silver is extremely tarnished, it may need to soak longer.
After the silver is finished soaking, put on your latex gloves and start gently scrubbing the tarnished silver with the mixture of water and baking soda. Don’t scrub it too hard, because you could scratch the surface of the bullion. Frequently rinse the silver to identify remaining tarnished areas, and reapply baking soda as needed. Finally, thoroughly rinse your silver with cold water to remove any residue. Don’t skip this step, because you could end up with white spots left by dried baking soda on your silver.
If you have any doubt about whether you should clean your bullion, the best advice is not to do it. There are a variety of ways to damage gold and silver bullion by cleaning it, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. For more information on any aspect of owning precious metals, call on the experts at First National Bullion and Coin. Whether they’re looking to buy platinum bullion, silver bars, or gold coins, Carlsbad residents can trust our reputable dealers. We’re a boutique precious metals firm with a fantastic team of experienced professionals. If you’re looking to add more precious metals to your collection, call us today at 760-253-8072.
The statements made in this blog are opinions, and past performance is not indicative of future returns. Precious metals, like all investments, carry risk. Precious metals and coins may appreciate, depreciate, or stay the same in cash value depending on a variety of factors. First National Bullion does not guarantee, and its website and employees make no representation, that any metals for sale will appreciate sufficiently to earn the customers a profit. The decision to buy, sell, or borrow precious metals and which precious metals to purchase, borrow, or sell are made at the customer’s sole discretion.