CommunityCategory: InteriorPenny Stain: How to Make

Penny Stain: How to Make

I was excited about trying the vinegar and pennies and followed the directions from your article, but nothing happened. The pennies have been soaking for about 2 weeks now and for the most part the vinegar is still clear. What am i doing wrong? Laura

The Money Pit Answer

Fresh lemon juice and salt takes the tarnish off pennies – not vinegar!  Wet the penny with the lemon juice and then rub in salt.  Sea salt or other big crystal works the best!

This was a favorite dinner table trick when traveling with my kids. They love to get those flat pennies when were on vacation and later that day I'd grab the lemon off an ice tea glass and the salt shaker, mix up a paste and polish 'til it was bright and shiny!

Tom Kraeutler

4 Answers
Guest Staff answered 5 years ago

Fresh lemon joice and salt takes the tarnish off pennies – not vinegar!  Wet the pennie with the lemon joice and then rub in salt.  Sea salt or other big crystal works the best.

Teddy Ralph Robertson answered 5 years ago

You were probably using modern pennys, which are not copper. Try using something you know for a fact is copper and has no protective coating on it. Cheers!

Martha Taranto answered 5 years ago

I want to discuss 2 items both address in other answers. First copper, pennies before 1964 are not pure copper.  Second acidity, add a little salt to the mix and the effective acidity will be increased (lemon juice or vinegar either will work).

Barbara Jean Henning answered 5 years ago

When making a stain using vinegar and a metal object there needs to be an introduction of oxygen.  I just made the penny stain in under an hour.  Add hydrogen peroxide to the vinegar.  The results with the pennies weren't instant, but it developed pretty quickly, as did the stains I made with steel wool and the other with rusty nails.  I really hope this helps!