A Web viewer asked:

Have you any safe means to clean playing cards? After playing with them for sometime, they become sticky and hard to handle. It would help if you have a way to clean them to restore them to a more slippery condition. Or for that matter, for a collection, how do you clean playing cards?

Unless this is an expensive deck, or a deck of considerable value, it is not worthwhile to clean it. Cleaning playing cards, particularly decks with a paper surface (rather than plastic) is not easy. It is off times much easier to toss the old deck and buy a new one. However, here are some cleaning suggestions.

  1. Use a dry, lint free cloth and gently wipe the surface, do not apply too much pressure. If this doesn't do the job, then...
  2. Use a very lightly dampened paper towel. Very gently wipe the card surface. This may alter the colors on the surface - so be gently and work slowly. After a card has been wiped - do not replace it in the deck. Let it dry by itself at room temperature on a flat surface. Since a paper playing card is not just one piece of cardboard, but a number of layered pieces of paper, if you use too much moisture, you will loosen the glue that holds the layers together.
  3. For really bad stains... Go to an "art store" and buy a fine art gum eraser that feels like dough. Tell the dealer what you wish to do and ask them to show you how to use this product. This will remove some of the dirt on your card surface that has become embedded. Work slowly and gently in small areas at a time.

NOTE: This page was originally created and posted on the Web on August 15, 2002. Subsequently it has been modified and periodically updated. Last update: June 7, 2010