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Cleaning of medals

Wessel Gordon

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I am looking for some advice.

Some of my medals needs cleaning before they can go up for display. Is it safe to use a product that's marketed for cleaning silver safe to use on a silver medal and a brass product on a brass medal or is plain old water and a bit of soap all that's needed?

I'm a complete novice with this and obviously do not want to damage my growing collection.


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If I remember correctly, many of your medals are reproductions, so the "don't ever clean an original medal" may not apply as strict in your case?

Basically, cleaning an original medal decreases its value significantly (unless it is covered in soil/rust).

However, when cleaning yours of course you want to make sure they don't get damaged in the process...

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Great Dane,

You are correct: I do have many reproductions.

The thing is I want to put them all up for display and original medals lack some of the shine of the reproductions. 

But as you rightly remarked at the end I don't want them damaged (reproduction or real) so it might be best to put them up for display ''as is''.

That is unless I organize the display in such a way that the real medals are displayed in one side/corner and marked as ''Real'' while the reproductions are displayed in another side/corner clearly marked ''reproductions''.





Edited by Wessel Gordon
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This has been a long long long running discussion (argument) to clean or not to clean original medals...…   

The only thing that I will say is I have never seen a Regimental Sergeant Major approve of dirty medals (or boots) on parade...… 

True 99.9% of modern medals are made in a way that they never need cleaning.....




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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi everyone,

I do understand the importance of not cleaning a medal, but if you want to do so without damage, the next method might be an option. Put Aluminum foil in a small plastic tray. Lay some soda(salt) in each corner. put the medal in the middle, and make sure there is nor ribbon attached and that it makes contact with the foil. Put in warm water, not hot. Let it rest for a few minutes, and silver and gilt medals come out as new.



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Thanks for the advice.

We are busy renovating the house before selling and moving so I put all my medals into temporary storage (got workers in and out and it's best not to tempt sticky fingers). Once I'm settled in the new house I'll try it with a medal I don't particularly care about first.


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