Challenge coins are traditionally military awards presented for being a member of a specific group or for achieving a specific task. Many people like to create a display of their challenge coins. However, since they can be made from pewter, copper, and nickel and can be painted or gold plated, you need to take special care of them so them so that they remain in mint condition for years to come.
Avoid Displaying Your Coins in Direct Sunlight
Over time, the paint on Challenge Coins will fade crack and peel if exposed to direct sunlight. This is especially true if you display them in a glass case because the glass will amplify the damaging effects of the sunlight. So when you chose your display location, consider where the sunlight reaches from every window in the room at all times of the day and throughout the year. This means you have to take into account the sun in the morning and the sun in the afternoon as well as the months when the sun is at its farthest point north and the months when the sun is at its farthest point south.
Be Careful of What You Use to Clean Challenge Coins
Do not use harsh chemicals such as bleach to clean them. Bleach and other harsh chemicals will damage the paint and can eventually discolor the coin.
Do Not Just Wipe Your Challenge Coins With a Cloth
Grabbing a cloth to dust or wipe a smudge off of a challenge coin may seem harmless. However, any dust or dirt particles can cause scratches and can be pushed into crevices where it builds up over time. Instead, rinse the coin with warm water, and then, dry it with a towel.
If your coin is still dirty after being rinsed, let it soak in distilled water for a day. If the dirt is still an issue, then carefully clean it with a soft toothbrush, and let it soak in distilled water for another day.
Use Olive Oil to Clean Stubborn Issues
If the coin needs further cleaning, CustomChallengeCoins.net suggests soaking it in olive oil for a week. A change in the color of the olive oil indicates that the olive oil needs to be changed because it is saturated with dirt. After the coin has soaked for a week, wash it with acid-free dish soap and water.
Other Options to Clean Challenge Coins
Challengecoins4less.com suggests mixing a couple tablespoons of baking soda with boiling water in a foil-lined bowl and leaving the coins in the water until it cools off. Then, rinse them thoroughly. This is a good solution whether your coins are brass, copper, or silver.
If your coins still are not clean, Custom Challenge Coins says to soak them for a couple hours in a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. You also can use acetone. If needed, you can add a couple tablespoons of salt and scrub them with soft toothbrush. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly, and to counteract the minerals that may accumulate, dip them in a water softener solution such as Calgon.
Protecting your challenge coins from the time you receive them is the easiest way to maintain them in the best possible condition. While there is an understandable desire to handle and examine them, the less they are handled the better. Displaying them in a case also reduces the effect of oxidation. Just remember to display the case in an area that does not receive direct sunlight.