How To Clean Military Medals

The Congressional Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, and other military medals are all symbols of a soldier’s bravery, courage, and love for their country. These are normally given to soldiers that have exemplified these traits and characteristics in a particular event during the war or military exercise. Anyone receiving an award of this magnitude should feel proud since these are only given to soldiers who deserve it. Now, if you have a couple of medals of your own, you may notice that over the years, these medals begin to develop discoloration, which really ruins the entire effect and image they exude. When this happens, your recourse should be to clean and polish them. Here are some tips on how to clean your medals.

  • Detach the ribbon. Alright, so you have noticed that the highest honors you received while in the military has started to gather enormous amounts of dust and you have noticed what once used to be gold glimmering in the sunlight is now a metal that is dull and closely shaded as copper. Well, it is now time to clean these shiny things and to begin the process, you will need to remove and detach the ribbon. You will be applying certain solutions and cleaners to your medals and should these chemicals find its way on the ribbon, it could easily ruin it. Remove it as best you can. Some medals may have irremovable ribbons. If this is the case, then find a way to protect the ribbon while you clean the medal. Wrap it in plastic or something.
  • Apply a silver cleaning product. Most soldiers will highly recommend using a silver cleaning and polishing product normally found in hardware supply stores to clean virtually any type of medal. Gold, silver, and bronze or brass can be cleaned using this product. Use a lint-free piece of cloth to apply the product on the medal. A couple of drops on the cloth should suffice per medal. If necessary, add a few more drops. Work the product onto the medal paying close attention to the grooves and intricate reliefs on it. Scrub vigorously to remove traces of discoloration. If the grooves are too deep, then consider using a cotton bud or old toothbrush to access and clean these hard to reach places.
  • An alternative cleaning agent that you can use for silver medals is toothpaste. Apply a minute drop on the cloth or toothbrush and work it into the metal. On the other hand, some metal cleaning solutions can be used in a way where you dip the medal in it and let it sit for a few minutes in order to loosen the dirt and dust that has hardened on it.
  • Polish the medal. Once the cleaning is complete, use another piece of cloth to buff the medal. You will need to remove any traces of excess cleaning product on it. Leaving the solution on for extended periods of time will compromise the integrity of the medal which in turn may cause more discoloration and even disintegrate parts of the medal. Keep polishing until the cleaning solvent is removed and the medal is shiny and glimmering once more.

It is vital to keep your medals clean regularly so that it will not tarnish over time. Cleaning your medals should be done at least once a year.


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