Jump to content


Is there any way to clean trading cards?


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Avalon

Avalon
  • Islander
  • 1,730 posts

Posted 10 March 2009 - 04:45 PM

So...my teenage son just brought an expensive trading card to me and asked how to clean it.  He spilled soda on it weeks ago, so now it's a little tacky (not a lot, that I could tell).  The card doesn't seem bent or anything.

I suggested he just put it in a card sleeve (where it should have been before the accident!) because I figure any attempt I make to clean it will just make it worse.  He doesn't think he'll be able to get it out again (he's probably right).  Any suggestions?

#2 cotss2012

cotss2012

    n00btard

  • Dead account
  • 675 posts

Posted 11 March 2009 - 08:36 AM

The only way to get the soda solids (sugar, caramel color, etc.) out of the card would be to submerge the card in an appropriate solvent and then dry it out. However, this would reset the hydrogen bonds in the paper fibers, causing the card to warp as it dries.

The best idea is to do nothing.
WARNING: I am a troll, a spammer, a necroposter, a /b/tard, a tide of violence and human misery, a liar, and an unremorseful killer. Blurring and stirring the truth and the lies, everything that I say has a 90% chance of being a joke, and a 90% chance of being the truth, meaning that 81% of what I say is both funny and true. The other 19% is what I post on the Internet. Also, Ron Paul did 9/11.



Do not say that I didn't warn you.

#3 Avalon

Avalon
  • Islander
  • 1,730 posts

Posted 11 March 2009 - 09:39 AM

Thanks.  :)

#4 cotss2012

cotss2012

    n00btard

  • Dead account
  • 675 posts

Posted 11 March 2009 - 05:43 PM

On second thought, considering that sugars, which are 90% of the soda solids, are nonpolar molecules, they'll probably dissolve in nonpolar solvents, which wouldn't affect the hydrogen bonds in the paper fibers (ergo no warping). The problem is that most nonpolar solvents around the house happen to be oils, which NEVER dry out. You might get lucky if you try kerosene or gasoline, though; I'd recommend testing on a less valuable card first, just to be sure (just find some Magic players and ask for a single basic land card. Most veteran players have about five thousand, so this shouldn't be too hard).

If this doesn't cause warping or color-bleeding/leaching, then you're good for step 2: the actual cleaning process. Do NOT simply soak a rag in the solvent and scrub away at the card! This could cause tiny pieces of the card to end up in the rag. Instead, dunk the card in the solvent, swish it around slowly for 10-20 seconds, pull it out, and put it somewhere warm, dry, and away from direct sunlight.

Note that I've never actually tried this, but it should work.

[/MacGyver]

If he had spilled milk on the card, though, he'd be totally screwed.

Edited by cotss2012, 11 March 2009 - 05:48 PM.

WARNING: I am a troll, a spammer, a necroposter, a /b/tard, a tide of violence and human misery, a liar, and an unremorseful killer. Blurring and stirring the truth and the lies, everything that I say has a 90% chance of being a joke, and a 90% chance of being the truth, meaning that 81% of what I say is both funny and true. The other 19% is what I post on the Internet. Also, Ron Paul did 9/11.



Do not say that I didn't warn you.

#5 RommieSG

RommieSG

    Heir to the Empire

  • Islander
  • 17,172 posts

Posted 12 March 2009 - 02:24 PM

Well my mind is totally blown lol
Posted Image

#6 Orpheus

Orpheus

    Get my agent! I'm supposed to be Castathan, not Indogene

  • Administrator
  • 16,918 posts

Posted 14 March 2009 - 12:39 PM

Er...what? Sugars are polar.  That's why they dissolve so famously in the polar solvent water.

Nonpolar substances, like grease and oils don't mix well with water. Perhaps it *seems* like sugars should be nonpolar, but they are carbohydrates, not hydrocarbons: there is a polar hydroxyl oxygen on every carbon (Don't feel bad. Immanuel Velikovsky couldn't tell the difference, either, and sold tens of millions of books as a result)

BTW: the average house has a huge number of nonpolar solvents, often in the form of petroleum distillates, and many are much *more* volatile than water (e.g. gasoline, most paint thinners, the ethyl acetate in acetone-free nail polish remover, the hexane or petroleum ethers in household spot removers; hair sprays)

Of course, any of the above could instantly wreck a baseball card. Think of it this way -- since water, a polar solvent, didn't dissolve the inks/pigments, it's a fair bet that a nonpolar solvent might. The nonpolar substances you seem to be thinking of  (oils and such) are not safe because they are nonpolar, but because they are poor solvents in general. Table salt is completely polar, but equally safe because it, too, is a poor solvent.

Polar vs. nonpolar isn't the answer here. The cards survived the polar protic solvent water, but a polar aprotic solvent, like acetone (often used in nail polish remover) might destroy them in seconds.

I agree that the best course may be to do nothing, but if the card is only superficially tacky, very gently wiping a damp (not sopping wet) tissue, followed by wiping off with a dry tissue, and careful drying may work without damaging the card. Though I know nothing of modern trading cards, the ones I recall had a thin protective coating that is somewhat water resistant (or sometimes quite a substantial plastic coating). Water is your best bet to remove sugar. That's how it arrived.

#7 cotss2012

cotss2012

    n00btard

  • Dead account
  • 675 posts

Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:44 AM

I was told in my chemistry classes that sugars are nonpolar, and the fact that they dissolved in water was highly anomalous...

Quote

BTW: the average house has a huge number of nonpolar solvents, often in the form of petroleum distillates, and many are much *more* volatile than water (e.g. gasoline, most paint thinners, the ethyl acetate in acetone-free nail polish remover, the hexane or petroleum ethers in household spot removers

I already beat you to it on the gasoline part, and I've never heard the phrase "household spot removers". As for nail polish-remover... that crap dissolves nail polish. I wouldn't even put it in the same room as a trading card.

Quote

Of course, any of the above could instantly wreck a baseball card.

Again, I beat you to it when I said "I'd recommend testing on a less valuable card first, just to be sure" and "If this doesn't cause warping or color-bleeding/leaching, then you're good for step 2"
WARNING: I am a troll, a spammer, a necroposter, a /b/tard, a tide of violence and human misery, a liar, and an unremorseful killer. Blurring and stirring the truth and the lies, everything that I say has a 90% chance of being a joke, and a 90% chance of being the truth, meaning that 81% of what I say is both funny and true. The other 19% is what I post on the Internet. Also, Ron Paul did 9/11.



Do not say that I didn't warn you.

#8 Orpheus

Orpheus

    Get my agent! I'm supposed to be Castathan, not Indogene

  • Administrator
  • 16,918 posts

Posted 23 March 2009 - 08:02 PM

Perhaps your teacher was thinking of "covalent" vs. "ionic" bonds, since you were studying basic general chemistry and not physical, organic or biochemistry.

I was merely trying to explain why polar solvents would work, but the nonpolar solvents you suggested would not. Try it yourself: see how well a spoon of table sugar or fructose sweetener dissolves in a nonpolar solvent. I also wanted to expand your list of common household polar solvents, because they are so useful for "household chemistry".  Having said that, I of course *had* to repeat your very important  warnings, lest I be seen as contradicting them (with disastrous results).

Sugars are *definitely* polar and there's nothing anomalous about their dissolving in water. While a simple sugar (monosaccharide) has a carbon backbone, the basic subunit of a sugar is a carbon with a hydroxyl and a hydrogen -- hence the term "carbohydrate". As you know even a single hydroxyl on an alkane (the classic nonpolar compound) turns it into a polar alcohol. (For long alkanes, it may only create a polar segment) A sugar has a polar group on *each* carbon!

The sugars we are discussing are mostly glucose, fructose and perhaps sucrose. Glucose and fructose are six carbon monosaccharides with the chain looped in a ring; sucrose is disaccharide of glucose linked to fructose.  The ring is formed by an aldehyde (glucose) or ketone (fructose), both of which are also polar groups, as hydroxyls are.

If you'd be interested in a discussion of these terms, you'll find a good one at the start of the "sugars" section of any good biochem text: the difference between various monosaccharides lies solely in a) its size (number of carbons); b) its arrangement of polar groups (e.g. as you go around the ring, is each corresponding hydroxyl "above or below" the ring); and if/how the ring is closed (aldehyde or ketone). In other words, not only are sugars definitely polar, but their polar elements define their identity: there are 24 basic six-carbon sugars (not counting mirror images) with exactly the same empirical formula (C6H12O6), differing only by the arrangement of these polar groups.

Being polar is essential to the biological behavior of sugars as well. Otherwise they would (e.g.) accumulate in fatty tissues; penetrate the lipid cell membrane, bypassing all the gates/ports that cells use to control them; etc. Our enzymes mostly distinguish between different sugars of the same size by "feeling" how the pattern of polar groups match the charges on the enzyme's active site.

-- Orpheus "Sorry, I used to be a molecular biologist, so I find all this stuff ridiculously interesting"

#9 Avalon

Avalon
  • Islander
  • 1,730 posts

Posted 25 March 2009 - 07:24 PM

Holy toledo, I didn't realize there was still discussion going on over here!  Sorry.  

I'm going to have to come back and read all this again when my absorption rate's a little higher, though.  Somehow I got an A in chemistry without retaining much of anything (well, and...it's been a few [hundred] years).  Also, I'll send my son in to read the thread; he'll find it interesting.  Thank you, Orph and cotss.  *waves at Rommie*  I'm with you -- my mind went asplodey, too.  :)

#10 CJ AEGIS

CJ AEGIS

    Warship Guru!

  • Islander
  • 6,845 posts

Posted 27 March 2009 - 04:37 PM

Do nothing....  

Paper should only be worked on by professional paper conservators.  Even in a museum setting our standard response to a spill or exposure of a document to water is to freeze the document until we can get it to a conservator.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#11 foborg

foborg
  • Islander
  • 2,260 posts

Posted 28 March 2009 - 09:34 PM

Water expands and compresses with temperature changes. How does that effect the fibers in paper? It doesn't ruin things?
Please don't spoil future episodes, even if they've been previewed.

#12 cotss2012

cotss2012

    n00btard

  • Dead account
  • 675 posts

Posted 19 April 2009 - 06:18 PM

View PostOrpheus, on Mar 23 2009, 06:02 PM, said:

Perhaps your teacher was thinking of "covalent" vs. "ionic" bonds, since you were studying basic general chemistry and not physical, organic or biochemistry.

No, it was from the book, not the teacher, and there was explicit mention of the solubility of sugars in water being an exception to the "like dissolves like" principle.

Either way, thanks for pointing out that it's a crock. The schools here really do suck.
WARNING: I am a troll, a spammer, a necroposter, a /b/tard, a tide of violence and human misery, a liar, and an unremorseful killer. Blurring and stirring the truth and the lies, everything that I say has a 90% chance of being a joke, and a 90% chance of being the truth, meaning that 81% of what I say is both funny and true. The other 19% is what I post on the Internet. Also, Ron Paul did 9/11.



Do not say that I didn't warn you.




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users