How To Clean Antique Military Medals And Medal Ribbons

Whether you are a proud veteran or a fan of antique military items, you should learn how to properly clean these items. While these items tend to be for display, things always gather dust over time. You do not want to risk having medals such as a German Cross and medal ribbons going to waste because rust and damage got on them. Trying to clean them without having proper knowledge about the methods could also make you risk damaging the items. To learn how to properly clean them, here are the tips that you need to know.

Know What Kind of Metal It Is

Before you start even attempting to clean anything, you should learn what kind of metal the medals or medal ribbons are made out of. If you got your medal from a place such as a reputable museum, then they would list what kind of metal the item is made out of. However if you do a quick search online to find out what kind of metal the medal is made out of, you will be able to find out your answer as well. It is crucial that you know what metal it is, that way you can efficiently clean the medal without damaging the metal.

Take a Purple Heart for example. Typically, Purple Hearts are mostly made out of copper alloy, which will help you know what method and materials you need to clean the medal. Keep in mind that each metal would have different tolerances for abrasiveness. For instance, silver is very soft, which is why you should be more careful and gentle when dealing with silver. It is also very malleable, which means you could accidentally bend it due to heat and pressure.

The Typical Cleaning Method

One of the first things you will want to do is carefully try to remove the ribbon before you clean the metal. However, if it is impossible to take out the ribbon, you should just be more careful to avoid getting any cleaner or polish on the ribbon. Keep in mind that the ribbon is just as precious as the medal, so you don’t want to remove it.

If you are using a silver cleaner or a polish, you should always use a soft cloth and rub the medals very gently. If you are dealing with bronze medals that have some stains on it, you might be better off using a slightly more abrasive polish for brass or use polish wipes that are meant for several different kinds of metal. Crevices and hard to reach area may be wiped up with cotton swabs. When you’re all done, just put the ribbon back.

Another very important thing to note is how you store the medals. If you have got a German Cross, you better take care of it. Make sure the medals are kept away from extreme temperatures, light, humidity, etc.

Military medals and medal ribbons are truly precious items that signify a lot of importance in history. If you happen to own one or several of these items, you should learn how to properly take care of them so you can have them forever.

If you are looking for war medals such as a German Cross or other WWII memorabilia, check out the website of Gettysburg Museum of History. Contact us for more details.

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