Shiny Penny Experiment

Summer. We spend so much time outside and in the garden that we’ve been a little lax on our experiments so here we go.

3 gross pennies
3 glasses
3 q-tips
3 paper towels (more if your kid likes to dump and pour like Joe)
Vinegar and salt
Soapy water
Lemon juice


Place glasses on a each paper towel. In one glass mix soapy water. In another mix salt and vinegar. In the third glass squeeze lemon juice.

Drop a dirty penny in each glass.


Stir. Clean with q-tips.

Pennies before.


Pennies after.


As you may have guessed, the middle penny is the one that soaked in the vinegar/ salt solution. And, when I asked Joe which was the shiniest, he picked it out after a few seconds of careful consideration.

The other two were slightly shinier, but not near as shiny as the vinegar/salt soaked penny. I explained to Joe that this was because the vinegar and salt caused a chemical reaction that dissolves the copper oxide or dark gunk on the penny. Yes, gunk is a technical term. Joe had already moved on to dumping and pouring and making a mess. At least my table will be clean now.



A fun time was had by all. Even Jacob had fun…playing in his bouncer.

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