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Home Schooling: Penny Cleaning Experiment

Since a lot of kids are out of school for the rest of the year, making parents and stepparents part-time teachers, I wanted to share a few activities that the girls have enjoyed.   First up is a Penny Cleaning Experiment.

Leighton wanted to do a science experiment, but nothing was catching her eye as we scrolled through Pinterest until she saw a few different Penny Cleaning Experiments.   We decided not to read any of the posts, so her hypothesis wasn’t altered.  Leighton gathered 15 different liquids from around the house and ranked them from what she thought would clean the best (laundry detergent) to not clean the pennies at all (Italian dressing).  The actual results were a little different from her hypothesis, lime juice did the best, and Diet Coke actually made the penny darker.  The biggest surprise with how well Italian dressing actually worked.

Overall it was a fun experiment that we could complete with supplies we had around the house and occupied Leighton’s attention for over an hour; both are very important right now.

Here is Leighton’s explanation of this experiment- I used 15 liquids to test which one cleans pennies Better. I found out that lime juice cleans pennies better. Diet Coke just Made it more Black so it was the worst one. My hypothesis was that laundry detergent would clean the penny better but it turned out to be lime juice. I said that Italian dressing would be worse than Diet Coke but it was diet coke.

Our Version of the Penny Cleaning Experiment


  • 15 Different Liquids*
  • 15 Cups
  • 15 Pennies
  • Paper Towel

*We used Distilled White Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinger, Lime Juice, Lemon Juice, Corn Syrup, Soy Sauce, Blasimc Vinger Dressing, Italian Dressing, Windex, Diet Coke, Orange Juice, Dish Soap, Laundry Detergent, Canola Oil and Soft Scrub Cleaner.


  1. Gather Liquids
  2. Have your child rank what they think will clean the pennies from best to worst, label the liquids 1-15 so you remember what is what
  3. Lable your cups from 1-15
  4. Pour enough liquid into the corresponding cups to cover the pennies
  5. Add a penny into each cup
  6. Wait for a period of time, we waited for about 45 minutes
  7. Take the pennies out of the cup, wash them off with water and see how each liquid worked
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