There are so many things we do throughout the day that we don’t even realize have a “scientific” explanation.  Some of these things we do on a day to day basis, while others may be less common tasks.  Other times are planned just to create a learning experience for the kids.  Today we did a Science experiment cleaning  coins with the kids.

Have you stopped to wonder why some of the cleaning products work the way they do?  Do you take for granted that they just work?   (When it comes to cleaning I think I get taken for granted….anyone got an Amen?  Just kidding…I love being a StayAtHomeMimi)  Take a few minutes to think of items you clean regularly and how you could make it a learning experience for the young ones in your world.

Coin Cleaning Experiment ~

Now I am fully aware that the average person does not sit around and clean coins.  However, this is a very good place to help explain why items clean the way they do!  This is a simple experiment that encompasses quite a bit of learning and coordination.

Materials Needed ~
  • Warm vinegar – 1/4 cup
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Coins
  • Small bowl or jar
  • Tweezers
  • Paper towels
  • Spoon or something to stir with
Directions For Cleaning Coins With Kids ~

Warm the vinegar slightly in microwave.  Pour in salt.  Let children stir the mixture until salt is fully dissolved.  Drop coins in and watch the magic happen.  It is so much fun to watch their face as they are observing not only how the salt dissolves but also how  the solution cleans the coins.  They may notice that some coins become shiny quicker than others….why is that?

The Knitty Gritty Details ~

Depending on the age of the child you are performing this experiment with will determine how much detail you will want to give.  However, it is good for children to know that different liquids and items create different effects when mixed.   Its actually a pretty cool phenomena.  Below is a basic explanation:

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which strips the tarnish or patina on copper, thus revealing the shiny metal underneath all of the grime.  When metal (coin) touches acid (in vinegar), they neutralize each other. 

Brainstorming On Other Liquids That Could Be Used ~

If vinegar contains acetic acid, what other items contain acid as well?  Will these items clean coins too?  If they will, do we still need to use salt?  Does it have to contain acid to clean the coins?  Wow!  Can you see those gears turning in their little heads….so cool!  Let the kids brainstorm on what “cleaning agent” they should try.  Here are a few examples:

  • Ketchup
  • Lemon/Lime Juice
  • Orange
  • Dish Soap
  • Milk
  • Soy Sauce
  • Plain Old Water
  • Coca Cola
  • Juice

We only did the vinegar and salt, however, I think it would be so much fun and very educational to set out several bowls or jars and try the different ingredients to see which one works best.  This would create more of a “lab-like”  setting for a scientific experiment.  Heck, go the distance and get them some goggles and lab coats.

Check out these colorful kid-sized science goggles!

And, of course, this awesome lab coat for kids ages 2-16 years.


You can make this experiment as simple or as bougie as you wish (I have always wanted to use that word 🤣).  Obviously, the most important takeaway is that the children are engaged and excited about science!

Other Ways To Gain From This Experiment ~

I threw in the tweezers on this activity.  What a great way to work on coordination.  Max had so much fun figuring out how to pick up the coins with the tweezers.  The fun didn’t stop there though!  Once the coin was in the grasp of the tweezers, he had to move the coin from the bowl to the paper towel.  *This is definitely where goggles come in handy as the coin can splash in the liquid very easily.  

If you think you have a budding scientist on your hands, you might want to go ahead and invest in a fun kit for your little one!  This science kit is so dang adorable and includes everything you need for an inquisitive child!

Seriously, isn’t this just too cute?  It includes:

  • Lab Coat
  • Name Badge
  • 4 Large Test Tubes with Stand
  • 4 Eyedroppers
  • 3 Funnels in Different Sizes
  • 5 Measuring Spoons
  • 1 Large Measuring Cup
  • 6 Small Measuring Cups
  • 1 Plastic Beaker
  • 1 Magnifier
  • 1 Set of Tweezers
  • 1 Set of Safety Glasses
  • 1 Stirring Rod
  • 3 Color Agents
  • 1 Pack Citric Acid
  • 1 Pack Baking Soda
  • 2 Balloons
  • 20 Color Catching Sheets
  • 1 Double-Sided Activity Cards Book

Conclusion of Science Experiment ~

I have done this with the kids a couple of times.  In fact, I wasn’t planning on this activity when Max came to visit yesterday.  We were supposed to be having basketball camp with Mimi.  However, Max looked at me with those big eyes and asked, “Mimi, can we clean coins?”  Well, of course we can Max!  Obviously, he enjoyed this activity.

What I wasn’t planning on (but should have knowing my daughter’s obsession with cleaning) is Max being worried about one coin that just wasn’t getting clean enough.  “You see that dark spot Mimi?  We need to get that off of there!”  Next time I will have an old toothbrush ready for issues such as this.  This time, however, we used an SOS pad because that is what I came up with on the fly.

  • Yes, we washed his hands thoroughly right after using it
  • No, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest using this unless maybe they have gloves on
  • Yes, my cream colored chair stayed clean….whew!!!

Have fun experimenting with your little ones and please, come back and let me know if you tried other methods of coin cleaning.  I can’t wait to hear about it!

Much love and learning ~