I use small aquarium gravel. For each tumbler I put the clad coins, nickles and gravel in, add two ounces of vinegar, a tablespoon of salt and add water until the coins and gravel are covered. I tumble the coins in the vinegar/salt solution for a half hour or so and that loosens the crude on them. Then I pour out the vinegar/salt solution and run water in to rinse the coins and gravel. I put plain water in until it's a half inch or so higher than the coins and gravel, add a squirt of liquid dishwasher detergent and tumble the coins for 9 to 10 hours. That cleans clad and nickels well enough the bank will take them. Make sure there's not even one penny mixed with the clad and nickels as it will turn them pink.
For pennies I do the vinegar/salt thing and rinse. Then I pour out the pennies, fill the the tumbler with clothes dryer lint, put the pennies back in, add nothing but water and tumble for 8 to 10 hours. That cleans them really well. I did clean them the same as I do clad, but some guy posted that clothes dryer lint did better, and darn if he wasn't right. Now my wife saves the dryer lint for me and that's all I use for pennies. Pennies in the photo are some of those I cleaned with lint last week.
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