Cleaning up CW buttons?


Well-Known Member
Jake, you can clean some buttons with a dry soft bristle toothbrush depending on what type of soil they were found in. Our Georgia red clay will eat them up. Be careful because sometimes you can actually punch the center out with a thumb or finger if pressed too hard depending on the condition or the fragility of the button. This is true with Eagle buttons. I've seen this happen before and it's heartbreaking. You can also try getting an old jar and adding white vinegar along with some arm & hammer baking soda.


Well-Known Member
OK. Got some naval jelly and trried it on a Great Seal button. There was no gild on it so let's give it a go.The results were okay. Got all the dirt out of the fine lines and finished with a nice bronzey color. The back of the button was so corroded it would probably disintegrate so I left it alone. Instructions say not to use on aluminum but I had a small electrical connector with a piece of wire in it and it came out good too.


Well-Known Member
If its military related I don't clean it except to use a soft bristle brush. I don't want to remove the patina. Also, soaking a two piece button in any liquid allows that liquid to get inside the button and that could cause problems. I am fortunate that we have sandy soil down here and most of the buttons I find are very clean.