How To Clean And Maintain Your Metal Detector Effectively

How To Clean A Metal Detector

Metal detecting is an exciting and rewarding hobby that allows enthusiasts to uncover hidden treasures and historical artifacts. While most hobbyists pay great attention to cleaning their finds, many often neglect to properly maintain and clean their metal detectors.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your metal detector are crucial for its longevity and optimal performance. Using natural cleaning solutions is an excellent way to clean and maintain your metal detector without the use of harsh chemicals.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with valuable tips and techniques to effectively clean your metal detector, ensuring it remains in top-notch condition, ready to assist you in your treasure-hunting adventures.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Metal Detector

Cleaning your metal detector is an essential aspect of metal detecting that should not be overlooked. A well-maintained metal detector will function efficiently, allowing you to detect targets accurately and avoid false signals.

Regular cleaning helps prevent the buildup of grime, dirt, and debris on critical components such as the search coil, coil cover, connections, nuts, and bolts.

By keeping your metal detector clean, you not only extend its lifespan but also ensure that it performs optimally during your detecting sessions.

Understand Your Metal Detector’s Components

Before delving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the different parts of your metal detector. This understanding will enable you to clean each component with precision and care.

Control BoxThe brain of your metal detector, housing controls.
Shaft and CoilThe long handle and circular disc responsible for detection.
Search CoilThe circular disc responsible for detecting metals.
HeadphonesAllow you to hear signals from your detector clearly.
BatteriesPower your metal detector.

Natural Cleaning Solutions for Your Metal Detector

Using natural cleaning solutions is an excellent way to maintain your metal detector without the use of harsh chemicals. Two highly effective natural cleaners that you can use are white vinegar and baking soda.

White Vinegar: A Natural Disinfectant

White vinegar acts as a powerful natural disinfectant due to its acidic properties. To clean your metal detector with white vinegar, simply dampen a cloth with the vinegar and gently wipe down the detector’s surface.

The acidic nature of the vinegar helps dissolve gummy buildup, rust, and hard water stains, leaving your detector clean and refreshed.

Baking Soda: Versatile Cleaner and Odor Absorber

Baking soda is another natural cleaning solution that works wonders for metal detectors. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth and use it to gently clean the surface of your detector.

Additionally, baking soda is an effective odor absorber, making it ideal for removing any lingering odors from your metal detector, especially if you use it underwater regularly.

Cleaning Your Detector with Commercial Cleaning Products

If you prefer using commercial cleaning products, there are several options available that are safe and effective for metal detectors.

Seventh Generation Professional All-Purpose Cleaner Spray

The Seventh Generation Professional All-Purpose Cleaner Spray is a biodegradable cleaner that effectively removes dirt, grease, and grime from all surfaces.

It is plant-based and does not contain harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach or strong fragrances, ensuring your metal detector remains free from any chemical residue.

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid

The Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid is a versatile and commonly available cleaner found in many households.

It contains lauryl sulfate, which efficiently breaks down grease, making it ideal for cleaning the parts of your metal detector.

Dilute the liquid soap with water and consider adding a few drops of essential oil to provide a pleasant scent during the cleaning process.

Using a Keyboard Cleaner/Vacuum for Hard-to-Reach Areas

For deep and tight parts that a cloth cannot easily reach, consider using a keyboard cleaner/vacuum. This tool is designed to absorb dirt and debris from crevices and can be handy in maintaining hard-to-reach areas of your metal detector.

Areas of Your Metal Detector That Need Cleaning the Most

Certain areas of your metal detector require special attention when cleaning to ensure optimal performance.

Search Coil and Coil Cover

The search coil and coil cover are the parts that tend to accumulate the most dirt, especially after detecting in muddy or sandy conditions. Regularly cleaning these components will prevent grime buildup and maintain accurate target detection.

Connections, Nuts, and Bolts

Connections, nuts, and bolts are vital for the proper functioning of your metal detector. Cleaning these areas regularly will prevent corrosion and ensure stable connections for reliable performance.

Control Housing (Non-Waterproof)

The control housing, which houses the electronics and LCD screen, is usually not waterproof. It is essential to keep this area dry and dust-free.

Use a dry rag to dust off the control housing and remove any covers to allow the unit to dry completely after detecting in wet or humid conditions.

Fully Waterproof Detectors

If you own a fully waterproof metal detector and use it in saltwater, it is crucial to thoroughly clean the entire unit, including the control box, to remove any salt residue that can damage the detector’s surface over time.

Risks and Precautions When Cleaning Your Metal Detector

While cleaning your metal detector is vital, it is essential to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions.

Avoid Water in Non-Waterproof Control Box

The most significant risk when cleaning your metal detector is getting water into the non-waterproof control box. This can lead to malfunctions and damage to the electronics. Use a slightly damp cloth to clean the control box carefully, avoiding excessive moisture.

Caution with Batteries

When cleaning your metal detector, be cautious not to touch the batteries directly. Moisture can cause rust and damage the batteries over time. If needed, use a dry cloth to wipe the battery compartment carefully.

Recommended Cleaning Frequency

The ideal cleaning frequency for your metal detector depends on how often you use it and the conditions in which you detect.

Regular Detecting (Once a Week)

If you go metal detecting once a week or every other week, it is advisable to clean your detector after each hunt. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the search coil, coil cover, connections, nuts, and bolts. Ensure the control housing remains dry.

Frequent Detecting (3 Times a Week or Daily)

If you are a frequent detectorist, going out 3 times a week or even daily, cleaning after each hunt may not be convenient. In this case, cleaning your metal detector once a week should suffice. However, always inspect critical components and clean as needed.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How often should I clean my metal detector?

Clean your metal detector after each use, especially if you’ve been in sandy, muddy, or saltwater areas. Regular cleaning will prevent dirt buildup and keep it functioning optimally.

2. Can I use water to clean my metal detector?

Yes, you can use water for cleaning, but ensure it’s only a damp cloth, not soaking wet. Avoid submerging the detector in water unless it’s specifically designed for underwater use.

3. Why are rechargeable batteries recommended?

Rechargeable batteries are more cost-effective in the long run and create less environmental waste compared to disposable batteries.

4. Can I repair my metal detector myself?

For minor issues, consulting the user manual can help with troubleshooting. However, for major repairs or technical problems, it’s best to contact the manufacturer or a certified technician.

5. How can I prevent rust on my metal detector?

Regularly clean and dry your metal detector after each use, especially if you’ve been in wet or saltwater environments. Consider using a rust inhibitor or corrosion-resistant spray for added protection.

6. What’s the best way to store my metal detector during the offseason?

Store your metal detector indoors in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Use a padded carrying case or bag for added protection during storage and transportation.


Regularly cleaning and maintaining your metal detector is an essential aspect of responsible metal detecting. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your metal detector remains in top condition, delivering optimal performance during your treasure-hunting adventures.

A clean and well-maintained metal detector will provide you with accurate signals and help you uncover hidden treasures with ease. Remember to clean your detector after each hunt, or at least once a week, to keep it functioning at its best. Happy detecting!