How to Clean Your ID Cards

You might wonder why anyone would dedicate an entire article on how to clean your ID cards. Well, there are two good reasons for this – everybody has at least one ID badge and credit card, and they are about as riddled with germs as a smartphone. Very few people ever think to clean these cards, even though they use them constantly, and it’s time that people did this for health’s sake.

Think about it. How long has it been since you cleaned any of your ID badges? Have you ever thought about doing it?

What’s worse is that while you may not willingly hand over your phone to strangers, you do it all the time with your ID cards. Most people hand over their company ID badges, credit card, debit card, and national ID cards without a second thought. The clincher is you take them back!

Now, let’s assume that you’re like most Canadians when it comes to your use and treatment of ID cards. So it stands to reason that knowing how to clean id cards properly and regularly is important.

Why You Should Clean Your ID Cards

It might seem unbelievable that your ID card is capable of spreading disease, but in the case of COVID-19, it can happen. Another possible source of infection is the equipment at your office. Whether it’s an ID card printer in Canada or a photocopier in the US, if more than one person uses it, it can become a source of disease. With that said however, the real concern right now are the actual cards you have on hand.

According to WebMD, the COVID-19 virus (or any other virus, for that matter) can remain active on plastic surfaces for as long as three days. Imagine how frequently you held one or the other of your cards in that time. Now recall how often you washed your hands after holding these cards before touching your face or eating something with your hands.

If any of this is making you cringe, you should take steps to minimize your exposure to germs.

Things to Do When Cleaning Your ID

One concern you might have with cleaning your IDs and credit cards is fading or physical damage, which is valid. Before going out and splurging on a whole slew of cleaning supplies, you should find out how to clean these cards properly without doing any damage to them.

Before cleaning your ID

Get a supply of disinfecting wipes since these are the easiest to use regularly. If you prefer to put together your own cleaning kit, however, assemble the following:

  • Small bowl
  • Old toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Dish soap and warm water  mixture (1:1)
  • Soft, lint-free cloth or paper towels
  • White rubber eraser

If you don’t have dish soap, you can use laundry soap as long as it’s a neutral detergent.

Next, detach the lanyard and remove the IDs from their badge holders. Place all your ID cards and paraphernalia on your work surface. Before you begin, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly.

During cleaning your ID

Now for the cleaning part. Here are some things you can do for the many different cards you have:

  • For credit cards and anything with a magnetic stripe or EMV chip, use the white rubber eraser to rub off any built-up grime on those areas of the cards. Gently blow off the debris into a trashcan.
  • If you’re using disinfectant wipes, use one for each ID card and wipe all surfaces gently but thoroughly. Make sure to get at each nook and cranny of the holders. Lay each cleaned item on a cloth or paper towel.
  • If you’re using DIY cleaning kits, pour some of the cleaning solution in a bowl and agitate it until bubbles form. Dip a corner of a paper towel or cloth into the soapy solution, wipe each item lightly but thoroughly, and let it soak for a little time, about 20 seconds.
  • If you have lanyards, use the remaining soap solution to dip and wash them as you would shoelaces. Rinse them off thoroughly and hang them to dry.

After cleaning your ID

Once your ID cards are clean, here are a few things you need to do to finish this task:

  • Dry off each item with a dry towel or cloth
  • Let your IDs and credit cards air dry before putting them away
  • After cleaning your plastic ID cards and accessories, wash your hands thoroughly

Things to Remember to Keep ID Cards Clean

Cleaning your ID and credit cards is an excellent idea, but you can avoid having to do it too often by keeping it clean longer.

The following tips can also keep it from fading or damage:

  • Avoid using specific products with strong chemicals such as bleach to prevent fading and other damage to your ID cards
  • Keep your ID cards clean longer by using badge holders
  • Don’t use coloured erasers to avoid leaving dye marks on the magnetic stripes and EMV chip
  • Ensure to dry all items thoroughly as any moisture left on PVC cards could cause the protective film to peel off
  • Use badge holders to protect ID cards from the elements and keep them from rubbing against keys and clothing, fading their information
  • Use contactless options when paying with a credit or debit card whenever possible

Did you know?

A clean ID card can last a long time.

Protect Your IDs from Possible Damage

Keeping your IDs and credit cards clean can help protect you from viral exposure. Cleaning these regularly can also help make your cards last longer. Some companies choose to replace IDs every so often, but if you keep yours neat and clean, you may not need to get yours replaced.

The best way companies can save on replacing company IDs frequently is to have them manufactured using high-quality materials. Avon Security Products is Canada’s largest photo ID warehouse and they can provide any business with ID card printers, proper ID card printing supplies, badge holders, and even lanyards.

Aside from company IDs, you can also print PVC cards as gift cards, health insurance cards, and temporary security IDs. Of course, it’s also important to clean ID card printers, which you can do with an ID card printer cleaning kit.

Are you looking for the best ID systems provider? Check out Avon Security Products today.

FAQs on How to Clean Your ID Cards

What happens if my ID was accidentally washed in the washing machine?

Most PVC cards will probably survive the occasional trip through the washing machine as long as you don't use bleach or any strong detergents. If it has a magnetic stripe, it might still work. One with an EMV chip is less likely to come off unscathed. Dry the card thoroughly and hope for the best.

How do you preserve your ID?

Use badge holders to prevent physical damage to the card. You should also avoid bleach and strong chemicals to prevent the print from fading. If your ID is made out of stiff paper, have it laminated.

How do you remove things from your ID?

If you need to repurpose old or used ID cards, you might be able to remove the print using rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or nail polish remover. You can also use xylene if you can get your hands on it. Please don’t use anything too strong because it might leave a residue or melt the plastic.

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