How to Clean Money

While you shouldn't clean any money you think might be worth something or that you are planning on selling, there may be other times you wish you had clean money. Cleaning your coins and paper money for sanitary reasons before giving your child an allowance might be a good idea, and you may have a collection you plan to keep forever that you'd like clean, even if it lessens the selling value.

Things You'll Need

Dish soap
Laundry detergent
Rubbing alcohol
Olive oil (optional)
Jar with lid (optional)

Paper Money

Add a small amount of laundry detergent (one without bleach) to a small bowl and then add the hot water, mixing the detergent with the water. Make a mental note that paper money cannot be cleaned completely because of the fibers used to make it, but that this process will get it as clean as possible at home.

Add the paper money--no more than three bills at a time for a small bowl, or use a large bowl for more bills. Soak the bills completely on both sides. Let the bills soak in the hot water for 15 minutes.

Rub the bills while they still are in the water to remove any dirt that may have lifted a little bit while soaking. Remove the bills and place them flat on a dry towel. Fold the towel over so both sides of the bill are covered. Press on the towel to remove any excess liquid. Remove the bills and place them on a flat, dry surface.

Rinse your coins in warm water to remove any surface dirt with your fingers. Move the coins aside and fill a small bowl with dish soap and hot water. Place the coins into the bowl, but be careful not to place too many coins together, as they may scratch one another in the water.

Let the coins soak in the water for 15 minutes. Check the coins to see if they are clean enough. If not, fill a small bowl with rubbing alcohol and let the coins soak in the bowl for 10 minutes. Dry the coins with a clean towel and check if the coins are clean. If not, proceed to Step 3.

Fill a jar a few inches deep with olive oil. Place the coins in the jar, ensure they are not scratching one another and seal the jar. Leave the jar alone for a week, then check on the coins to see if they are cleaner. Note that olive oil can get the deep, ground-in dirt out of coins, but it may take a very long time (years, sometimes). If your coins still are dirty after a week, put them back in the jar and check again in another month. Do this until the coins are clean to your satisfaction.

Tips & Warnings

To shine your already clean coins, use jewelery cleaner.

Do not clean or shine collectible money of any kind if you plan to sell it later or think it might be worth a good amount of money as a collectible item.