How Should I Look After My Deck? 24 Tips for Making Playing Cards Last So you've got yourself a nice deck of cards. Maybe it's a basic Bicycle rider-back deck, or it's a heavily customized limited edition produced by a popular designer, and you had to dig deep into your pockets to get it. Either way, you want to enjoy it, and you want to look after it to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. So how should you look after your deck? First of all, it's important to realize that it's not an inherently bad thing to have a deck that shows signs of wear, because that usually means you are enjoying your deck and using it! But obviously you don't want to accelerate this process of wear any more than necessary. So is there anything you can do to preserve your deck, and make it last as long as possible? As it turns out, there most certainly is, and you can start by considering the suggestions made in this article. Here are two dozen tips about how to care for a deck of playing cards, gleaned from the world of hard knocks, worn out decks, and experience. Good Storage No rubber bands, please! We've all seen it: a deck of playing cards, secured tightly with a rubber band. Don't do it. Why not? Well first of all, over time that rubber band is going to become brittle and break. Worse, when you add some heat it's going to melt, and you'll have bits of rubber actually stuck to your cards. Yuck! Furthermore, there's a real risk that the rubber band will damage the cards at the top and bottom of the deck, because it puts pressure at those points. A rubber band does help keep your deck together, but it offers zero protection for the cards themselves - and we can do better than that! No pants pocket, please! Sure, it's nice and warm in there, and it seems to be a safe spot to put your cards. And sometimes you'll have no option but to put a deck inside your pocket. But think about it: a deck that's pressed tightly against your body is going to warm up. It may feel romantic, but when romance is in the air, things can start getting sweaty and hot, and that's a sure-fire way to make your deck start warping. Pants pockets also tend to put pressure on the deck when you walk around or even when you sit, and this can quickly cause damage to the tuck box, or cause the whole deck to bend. If you do need to carry your deck inside an item of clothing, try putting it in a jacket pocket instead. And if you really have to resort to using a pants pocket, try putting your deck inside a card clip or some other deck case or protector first. Use the tuck box. There's a reason why playing cards usually come in a tuck box. Tuck boxes are certainly important for marketing and branding, and especially in the case of more classy decks that feature embossing and foil accents on the tuck box, they make an immediate statement of style. But they also serve a very important and practical function in protecting your cards. If you leave your cards out in the open, they are vulnerable to moisture, and will also attract dust - and perhaps even some spider-webs or other nasties that really don't belong in your deck! So use the tuck box, and look after it! You can always patch it up with duct tape if you really need to! Remember that your tuck box is your first line of defence against playing card enemies like dust, dirt, and even against sunlight and moisture. Store your decks flat. You'll find that opinions on this subject do vary. But it can make a difference whether or not a deck of cards is stored in an upright position or flat. When stored flat, gravity is on your side, pressing the cards flat against each other in a natural way. When stored upright or at an angle, there is a greater possibility that your playing cards will warp over time. Whether or not this is an issue for you can depend a lot on your environmental conditions, like the temperature and humidity of the place where your cards are being stored, but you can help combat those other playing card enemies by storing your deck in a flat position. Good Environment Avoid humidity. Sometimes you really can't do anything about the environmental conditions where your deck is stored. But humidity is particularly known to have quite an impact on a deck of playing cards, so if there are ways to store your deck in a cool and dry place, away from sunlight and humidity, and with a relatively stable temperature, definitely that's the preferred option. Wait a moment, does that sound like your fridge?! I have heard of people who swear that putting a deck in a fridge overnight is the best way to improve the condition of a warped deck, and that it's also an unorthodox fix for cards that have that undesirable "click". I haven't tried the fridge treatment myself, because there can be a lot of moisture lurking there too, so it sounds like a bad idea to me, and I can't speak from experience. But if you're really desperate, have exhausted all other options, and are willing to experiment with a particularly rebellious deck, you may want to give that a shot as a last resort! But generally speaking, try to avoid storing your deck in a high moisture area that encourages your cards to curl and warp. Fluctuating humidity is even worse, because cards will expand and shrink, and quickly become damaged. A cool, dry, well-ventilated area is always the best. If you live in a climate with high humidity you might want to put your decks in the same room as your household humidifier if you have one. Avoid sunlight. Sunlight has a tendency to bleach, and if something is left in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, it will inevitably get damaged. You can't buy sunscreen for cards, but you can keep them away from the sun, by ensuring your cards are stored safely in the tuck case when they're not being used. This also applies when your playing cards are inside the tuck case - don't leave it on the ledge of your bedroom window or on the dashboard of your car, where the tuck case is going to sit for hours in the full sun. Avoid heat. Direct sunlight also invites another enemy of playing cards: heat. And of course there are other sources of heat besides the sun, and adding heat is another sure-fire way to damage your playing cards. This isn't rocket science, obviously, but I wouldn't want to be standing underneath the burning flames of rocket engines, would you? Similarly, it's hardly ideal for your playing cards to be exposed to significant amounts of heat. Heat can accelerate chemical reactions, and changes in temperature will cause things to expand and contract. Inevitably, this will lead to problems like warping, which you really want to avoid. The solution is simple: if you can, try to keep your cards at a constant temperature, and don't store your deck right beside your fire place or on the window-sill.