How to Clean Your Credit Cards

woman cleaning her credit card
Photo by DuxX / Shutterstock.com

Originally published by Raychelle Heath on Bankrate.com.

You’re likely washing your hands more often and for longer than you ever have — or should be — because of COVID-19. And you’re also likely doing a daily wipe-down of your high-traffic surfaces — like counters, phone, computer and door/cupboard handles.

Harvard Medical School reports that the coronavirus can remain active on surfaces for several hours, even days. So, even if you’re frequently washing your hands and wiping down surfaces, don’t forget less-considered surfaces — like your credit card.

How to clean your cards

As more people use their credit cards for fear of contaminated cash, it’s wise to clean your credit card frequently and thoroughly.

Depending on your situation, you may not be using your card out in public as often as you used to, but when you do, disinfect your card after each use. Even if another person isn’t handling your card, others frequently use card readers when paying, making card readers a potential source of contamination.

Cleaning your credit cards is an easy and quick process that can help you stay healthy. Here’s how to thoroughly clean your credit cards without degrading the integrity of the card itself.

Clean hands and cards with good old soap and water

The first step to cleaning your credit card is to wash it off.

You can do this by washing it the same way you wash your hands. Get the card sudsy with soap and water and give it a gentle rub for 20 seconds before rinsing it off. Don’t use too much force or you may cause premature wear of the card.

If you prefer, you can wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe. Just be sure to get in all the nooks of the card with the wipe.

You may notice that your signature fades or wipes off when you clean your card. If this happens, you can simply re-sign it once the card is dry.

Avoid soaking your cards in cleaning substances or cleaning them with abrasive sponges. While your cards are waterproof, they’re not really meant to withstand prolonged contact with corrosive substances, and you may sustain damage to your chip if you use a strong cleanser on your card.

Also, part of good credit card hygiene is keeping your wallet or stick-on phone wallet disinfected — preferably each time you swipe.

Minimizing the amount of contact your cards have with other people and surfaces outside the home can help you avoid constant card cleaning.

How often should you disinfect your credit cards?

How often you should disinfect your cards will come down to how often you make in-person transactions.

If you’re using your card outside the home multiple times a day, cleaning your cards after each use is ideal.

If you can’t clean your card each time, thorough cleaning once a day should be sufficient. Just make sure you wash your hands to kill any germs you may have picked up.

How to limit contact when you pay with a credit card

Limiting germs that may come into contact with your card is an important step in keeping you healthy.

The key to limiting germs on your credit card is reducing the amount of contact your card has with other surfaces, including card readers and your own hands. Using contactless cards and mobile wallets can help you limit contact with card readers.

If you don’t have a contactless card, you can request one. Just keep in mind that card issuers are dealing with a high volume of calls right now and it may take some time for your request to go through.

Mobile wallets can be synced to the cards you already have, contactless or not, offering another flexible option that limits your card’s exposure to germs.

And as general safety precautions, make sure you’re wearing a mask when you do your shopping and avoid touching your face.

If there is a hand-sanitizing station in the store, clean your hands after you finish making your purchases. If not, when you return home, try to wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you arrive.

Bottom line

As we work to continue to flatten the curve of infections, it’s necessary to be vigilant about cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you come into regular contact with. Avoiding contact altogether by using contactless cards or mobile wallets is the most ideal option.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50
7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50

Simply avoiding these actions, or lack thereof, can improve the odds of a longer, more healthful life.

9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean
9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean

We’ve rounded up some of the best products for cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and every other room.

The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money

There’s still time this summer to make improvements to the exterior of your home. These offer the best payback.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.