War Medal Cleaning and Restoration

Introduction to War Medal Cleaning and Restoration

War Medals are often handed down from generation to generation as a way of preserving the memory of those who served their countries in times of conflict.

Unfortunately, over time these War Medals can deteriorate, making them difficult to display.

However, with the right techniques, it is possible to bring these war medals back to life through a process of cleaning and restoration.

This article will explore the processes of War Medal Cleaning & Restoration, including why it is important to do so as well as the steps involved.

war medals

Why Clean and Restore War Medals?

WWI - Soldiers march to Somme
WWI – Soldiers march to Somme – 1916

War medals are often treasured keepsakes, commemorating the bravery, courage, and commitment of those who have served their countries with honour, dignity, and pride.

As such, it is important to take care of them and preserve them for generations. Cleaning and restoring war medals is a great way to bring these unique objects back to life and keep them looking their best.

Cleaning and restoring war medals can preserve the beauty and remind us of their importance. War medals are often made from gold, silver, and bronze, which can tarnish over time.

Cleaning these metals can help preserve the original look and colour of the medals. Additionally, cleaning and restoring war medals can help to make them look as good as new.

Dirt, debris, and tarnished metal can all build up over time, creating a dull and faded surface. Cleaning and restoring these medals can help to remove this buildup and give them a new look.

The process of cleaning and restoring war medals is often very delicate and requires expertise. Specialists can assess the condition of a war medal and determine the best cleaning and restoration methods to use.

This is especially important when it comes to restoring older medals, as they can be particularly susceptible to oxidation and wear.

Specialists can carefully clean the medals and use specialised tools to repair any damage, such as scratches and dents. This can restore their original condition, making them look as good as new.

Cleaning and restoring war medals is an important part of preserving the history of our soldiers and honouring their service.

It is also an excellent way to keep these cherished keepsakes looking their best and ensure that they can be enjoyed by future generations.

For Personal Collections

War medals are precious tokens of honour and remembrance for the brave men and women who served their country.

They represent a piece of history, a testimony of military service, and a symbol of the cost of freedom.

Over time, these medals can become dull and tarnished, but with the help of war medal cleaning and restoration, we can bring them back to their former glory.

It’s important to preserve these artifacts not only for their owners but also for future generations.

War medals are physical links to stories and histories that may be forgotten, and by restoring them, we are preserving these stories and appreciating the bravery of those who served.

War medal cleaning and restoration is a unique opportunity to return the shine and importance of these valuable items.

By investing in these services, we can proudly display our war medals as a tribute to all those who have sacrificed for their country.

Assess the Condition of the Medal and Ribbon

Gather necessary supplies: gloves, cotton swabs, gentle cleaning solution, soft cloth, and magnifying glass.

Inspect the medal under a magnifying glass: assess the level of damage, scratches, and tarnish.

Examine the Mounting Hardware

Before cleaning and restoring a war medal, examine the mounting hardware to make sure it’s in good condition.

Most war medals have a metal bar with two pieces of metal: a swing mount attached to the ribbon and a bottom mount attaching the medal to the bar.

Poor condition of the mounting hardware can damage the medal during cleaning or restoration, so it’s best to leave it untouched unless necessary.

Inspect for dirt and debris and remove it with a gentle cleaning solution and cotton swab or small brush.

Check if the hardware is broken or bent and replace if necessary.

Make sure the medal is placed in the medal bar correctly with the side with the ribbon facing up to avoid twisting or turning.

Proper examination of the mounting hardware ensures the medal remains safe and secure during the restoration process.

Steps for Cleaning and Restoring War Medals

  • Carefully examine the medal to determine the type of cleaning needed.
  • Protect the medal from damage by using a clean work surface and soft cloths, wearing rubber gloves.
  • Prepare the medal for cleaning by wiping it with a soft cloth.
  • If the medal is tarnished, use metal polish or mild detergent and water to gently scrub it.
  • Use a soft brush to clean the medal’s crevices and details.
  • Protect the medal from future tarnishing by using a polish or wax.
  • Apply the wax by gently rubbing it in circular motions with a soft cloth until a shine is achieved.
  • Store the medal in a dry, dark location to protect it from future damage.
  • Check if the ribbon is frayed or discoloured. Replace the ribbon if necessary or clean and restore discolouration if it is in good condition.

With the right supplies and knowledge, cleaning and restoring war medals can be an honourable and meaningful task.


Properly assessing the condition of the medal is a crucial first step in the cleaning and restoration process.

Use necessary supplies and inspect the medal for any damage or tarnish before proceeding.

Cleaning and restoring war medals is a great way to honour and remember the bravery and sacrifices of veterans who served in the armed forces.

Restore the Medal’s Finish

Bringing a war medal’s shine back to life is an important part of the preservation process. Depending on the condition, the finish of a medal may need a little TLC (Tender Loving Care).

Let’s get started by figuring out the type of finish on the medal. Most medals have either an enamel finish, a polished finish, or a lacquered finish, and each requires a different cleaning method.

For enamel finishes, a mild detergent or polishing agent will do the trick. Polish finishes do best with brass cleaners, and lacquered finishes can be cleaned with mild soap and water.

Once you have the right cleaning solution, simply let the medal soak for about 15-20 minutes, being careful not to let the solution touch any intricate details. After the soak, give the medal a gentle rinse.

To keep the medal’s finish looking its best, apply a protective coating like a clear sealant or wax to enamel and polish finishes, or buff and polish a lacquered finish to a shine.

To keep the medal in tip-top shape, store it in a cool and dry place, away from humidity and heat. To display, use a holder that will support the weight and prevent damage.

With these simple steps, you’ll bring a war medal’s finish back to life and preserve the memories of our service members for generations to come.


In conclusion, restoring war medals to their former glory is a rewarding and meaningful experience that can be shared with family, friends, and even the veteran who originally earned the medal.

Cleaning and restoring war medals is an intricate process that requires specialised knowledge, skills and techniques, but can ultimately bring these timeless objects back to life.

Military historians, collectors, and organisations dedicated to preserving military history all understand the importance of preserving the legacy of wartime sacrifice, and part of that preservation is making sure that these medals remain in the best condition possible for future generations.

War medal cleaning and restoration is a rewarding task that can ensure that these medals remain a symbol of honour and courage for years to come.

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