"I hate it when the $1 dollar bills stick together." "Stickin' together is what good $1 bills do!"
January 14, 2012 7:41 PM   Subscribe

I have $500 in brand new, fresh-from-the-mint, sequential $1 bills. What is the fastest way to "break them in" so they don't stick together?

The two things we've tried so far:

1. Peeling off and alternating the bills face up/face down, then folding stacks of $15 vertically, then horizontally, on both sides. This doesn't work too well.

2. Peeling off individual bills, crumpling them into tiny balls and then smoothing them out. We've had the best results from this method, but it's time consuming and the stacks of bills are now so fluffy as to not fit in the till.

A co-worker mentioned something about using lime juice and cotton balls. I have neither of those handy (and I kind of don't believe him.)

Google doesn't seem to have any better ideas, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?

Any tips, Mefites?
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! to Work & Money (17 answers total)
Wash em.
posted by boofidies at 7:43 PM on January 14, 2012

I second boofidies. Put them in a mesh laundry bag for lingerie, toss them in the washer and hang the bag to dry. (I have washed lots of dollars along with the pockets that housed them)
posted by francesca too at 7:53 PM on January 14, 2012

I'm sure there's some time consuming method out there that would work but the path of least resistance is to that $250 of those ones and trade them at the bank for non new ones. Then you make a stack alternating new then old and voila, they won't stick to each other. This is what I do at work when I get the dreaded bundle of new ones.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:56 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Washing them would make them weaker - they won't last as long in circulation. Too much time too.

I do this: about 15 at a time, crunch/wrinkle them up then flatten them. After they're all crunched, alternate them, as if shuffling them, one by one - in other words, make two piles, and take one from left then one from right to make a single pile again. If that's not good enough, repeat the process.
posted by caclwmr4 at 8:06 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Grab a stack of bills at one end. Fluff the other hand with your free hand, sort of like you would do with a fresh deck of cards.

Switch hands, and fluff the other end.

Repeat as necessary.
posted by dfriedman at 8:15 PM on January 14, 2012

When I went to a tour of the mint, they took the stacks of (sheets of) notes and put them on a vibration table, then repeatedly bent them into a ripple, creating rather significant bends in the paper. They worked them back and forth for around 90 seconds before they sent them off to be cut. Our guide said that was to keep the bills from sticking together. Maybe more of the same?
posted by arnicae at 8:41 PM on January 14, 2012

Throw them in the dryer.
posted by sanka at 8:42 PM on January 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Toss them onto a bed and jump on them.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:57 PM on January 14, 2012 [6 favorites]

Washing/drying would take a lot longer than the individual crumple method, and you risk damaging the bills. I say crumple then flatten, and put one of these by your till so your cashier doesn't have to do the dirty money finger lick.
posted by lovecrafty at 9:14 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding the dryer method. Spray the edges with water first.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:30 PM on January 14, 2012

If you were really compulsive, you could record your new bills at Where's George, and see where they end up.
At 3:30 in this video from "To Live and Die in LA", the counterfeiter loads his newly-made bills into a dryer with some poker chips, presumably to loosen them up and wear them a little.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:33 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

The trick i learned from a bar owner is a faster and simpler version of washing them.
Take a plate of water, very little water on it and take the stack and place just the edges of the stack, ie the bill edges, in to the water. Of course not the face of the top and bottom of the stack.
Let the stack dry and the bills will separate enough when dried out. Much like a book you get wet and the pages naturally crickle when they dry.
This separates the edges and lets you do all the riffing etc above without the possibility of sticking while letting them dry out fast because only minimal water was used.
posted by stuartmm at 12:50 AM on January 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

I've seen a bar tender take a slice of lemon and rub it on the long edge of the stack. Similar to what stuartmm suggested.
posted by JujuB at 7:12 AM on January 15, 2012

Interleave them with old bills. And yes, register them at Where's George. As a Georger, it's a real pleasure to (enter and then) stamp crispy new bills.
posted by bink at 9:06 AM on January 15, 2012

The poker chips were meant to leave red and blue marks on the bill in order to look like the red and blue fibers embedded in genuine currency paper.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:27 AM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Years ago a printer showed me how to separate the sheets of paper he fed into the printer. He took the ends of the stack lightly in his hands and bent it into a curve. Then he gripped the ends firmly between his fingers and thumbs so the paper could not slide, and straightened out the curve to the original position. Try it with a stack of paper--it's pretty slick. With a pile of money you may want to crease the bills a bit by over-bending the opposite way when you do the final move.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:57 PM on January 15, 2012

In my cashier days I used to stick the bills in the microwave for 10 seconds or so.

Yes, really.
posted by Blandanomics at 10:10 PM on January 15, 2012

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