Dirty Credit Cards/License
June 26, 2006 2:53 PM   Subscribe

My credit cards and driver's license are dirty. They have some black marks on them. I guess from my wallet. What's the best way to clean these cards without ruining them?
posted by rme014 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
 
Pencil eraser is usually safe, though I would test it first.
posted by smackfu at 3:00 PM on June 26, 2006


Vinegar and water are pretty safe on nearly every surface. I wouldn't be suprised that some of the dirt has likely abraded some of the surface of your card, especially around the magnetic strip.

If your cards are turning to crap, you can typically call the issuing company and say "my cards are turning to crap" and ask if they'll send you some new ones.

Erasers are semi-abrasive and would do nicely on the glossy and mostly useless front, care should be given around the numbers and magstrip.

I've found heavier-duty solvents such as a bit of Goof Off do the trick in a pinch too, but I've usually escalated my way through several cleaners worth of stuff.

Chances are if your cards get the same way as mine you are getting dirt on them from your pockets and if its on the cards, its on the wallet as well. Might want to shell out a few bucks to invest in a new shell if you're going to go through the work.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:11 PM on June 26, 2006


Nail varnish remover is pretty good at getting rid of most marks (i.e. permanent marker on dry wipe board).

Do you have an old credit card you could test on first?
posted by Glum at 3:12 PM on June 26, 2006


While I don't recommend it, I've had an entire wallet make it through the washer and dryer. All cards worked (and they were sparkly clean!)
Soap, water and a soft sponge should be just fine.

(fyi - nail polish remover may make the plastic a bit melty)
posted by zerokey at 5:34 PM on June 26, 2006


I'm gonna say that's a negative on the nail polish remover (acetone). I don't know whether it'd melt the cards, but it seems like overkill for what are probably just grease, dirt and lint.

I use a green general purpose surface cleaner from Trader Joe's, but I'd imagine 409 or something similar would work. Dish soap and a microfiber cloth might even work.
posted by evil holiday magic at 5:57 PM on June 26, 2006


Just say you lost them and get new ones. I do this all the time.
posted by zackdog at 10:02 PM on June 26, 2006


Don't use the nail polish remover. It's death on most plastics and doesn't clean grease that well anyway. A good maleable eraser, those grey blobs of putty sold at art supply stores, have worked well for me for similar uses.
posted by bonehead at 6:20 AM on June 27, 2006


Having a duct tape wallet for many years, I'm familiar with this problem. I was embarrassed when a waitress actually cleaned my card for me once, and I asked her what she used, and she told me Windex. I've used it ever since, and had no problems.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:53 AM on June 27, 2006


Awesome. You have all been very helpfull. Thank you very much. Windex seemed to work best for me.
posted by rme014 at 6:15 PM on June 29, 2006


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