How to Clean a Dirty Credit Card

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A credit card ought to be kept clean for several reasons. Dirt can affect the magnetic strip that contains your information and the card may cease to function. Numbers and expiration dates can become illegible, resulting in you providing the wrong information to a business or not being aware when your card expires. Also, what is in your wallet and what you hand people is a reflection of you. Dates, interviews, business meetings or formal occasions are times when others may see your card. The human mind is constantly searching for facts or images to associate with people, events and situations. A dirty, scratched card gives someone an impression about you as much as a clean, hygienic card does.

1 Wipe the card against your shirt

Wipe the card against your shirt. Cotton shirts work best. An abrasive material may affect the magnetic strip. If there is just a wet spot or a little dirt, rubbing it gently should keep it clean. Be sure to not scratch the upraised numbers and cause the paint to come off.

2 Blow off dried dirt

Blow off dried dirt, dust and lint with a can of compressed air. This is generally used to clean computer keyboards and is available at most computer and photo dealers.

Buff the card with a plastic bag. This may be especially helpful if the magnetic strip has dirt on it or is scratched and not readable. Put the card inside the bag and rub it firmly.

Place clear tape on the magnetic strip or on any dirt on the card, press it and then lift off to peel away dirt that has become embedded within the strip.

Wash the card with water and a small amount of plain soap. This may be needed if the card as a whole is stained or dirty. Dry with a soft cloth.

Clean the card with a baby wipe. These are very gentle cloths with liquid within them. They will generally get of all dirt and stains while being gentle enough to not affect the magnetic strip or take the paint off the upraised numbers.

Employ cotton swabs and nail polish or paint remover if you have a very serious issue such as paint or ink spilled on the card. Isopropyl alcohol may also work.

Maintain card cleanliness by keeping it within a plastic sleeve. For cards you don’t use often, find a good location such as a safe or drawer to keep them at home. Every time they are put in a purse or wallet, they have a potential to get dirty.

Daryn Edelman, a professional writer/lecturer in spirituality, mysticism, business ethics, culture and politics since 1999. He has written scripts for "The Chabad Telethon" and diverse articles featured in "Farbregen Magazine" and He graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and the University of Liverpool with a Master of Arts in English.