How to Iron Money to Help Your Bills Looking Crisp and New

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Building your paper currency collection takes considerable time and effort. You’ll want to ensure that your collection is in its’ best condition. We’ll show you how to iron your paper currency to have your money looking like new again.

If your paper currency is crumpled or creased, you can make them crisp and flat again using a regular household iron. You’ve spent so much time searching for specific bank notes, it seems only right to invest some time in improving the appearance and condition of the currency.

It’s a good idea to know exactly how to iron your money correctly before you get started. By following a few prep suggestions, you will reduce your chances of scorching, tearing, or even melting your paper currency.

The Composition of Money

Paper currency in the United States is made of a special blend of 75% cotton and 25% linen. This formula gives it the texture we’ve come to expect in paper currency.

Modern technologies also use plastic fibers, or sections of plastic foil fused to or weaved in the bank notes to increase their authenticity. In some instances, notes may contain a high ratio of plastic fibers to increase their durability.

You can tell if this is the case by examining the notes under a microscope. If the bill is smooth with no visual texture or has unusual coatings, you could actually melt your money if it's exposed to very high heat.

Washing Your Paper Bills

Banknotes tend to accumulate sebum, dirt, and bacteria over time. So, washing your bills first before you iron them can effectively sanitize and remove mild stains and films from them. There are a few ways how this can be done:

  • Wash Bills in the Washing Machine

You could place your bills in a pinned sock, a cloth pouch, or a lingerie bag in the washing machine. Add a small amount of mild detergent with the load and choose the gentle wash cycle on the cold setting. Check to make sure the bills aren't tearing or coming apart in the wash, especially if your bills are very old or fragile.

  • Wash Bills in the Sink

Some collectors prefer to wash their bills in the sink or a small pan rather than in the washing machine. This method is suggested when your paper notes are very old or fragile and you don't want to risk them being torn or damaged beyond repair.

Run warm water in the sink or pan at the shallow level. Add a small amount of mild liquid soap or dish liquid in the water and swish it around to form a soapy solution.

Rub the soapy water in light circles over the note for about 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse the note in the warm water and rinse it again in clean water. Hang the bills up to dry until they feel damp. They are now ready to iron.

  • Clean Your Bills with Carbon Dioxide

Another way to clean paper money is using carbon dioxide. The bills' holograms and phosphorescent inks stay intact, while its composition is safely and effectively preserved. This is especially important if you want to sell your bills to a collector.

Collectors are usually willing to pay generously to buy old, rare or discontinued banknotes, but only if they haven't been tampered with or are in the right condition.

If you are investing in your bank notes for a future sale, it’s not suggested to wash them since this could remove the top film from the mint and decrease their value.

How To Iron Money

Image Source Flickr user Dan4th Nicholas

Ironing Your Money

The ironing instructions below are easy and simple to follow. A little effort and you’ll have straightened your banknotes:

If you prefer not to wash your money at all, dampen your wrinkled notes with a spray bottle or sprinkle them with a little water by hand.

Gently smooth the notes and place them on a dry cloth on an ironing board, table, or other stable surface.

Place another towel, thick handkerchief, or other natural fabric on top of the paper bills to prevent scorching or tearing them.

Set the iron between the "Silk" to "Rayon" settings and steam press. Never iron your bills with dry heat. Iron your notes using a circular motion on top of your fabric. Unless you actually want your bills to have a burnished, aged look, it's recommended not to iron your money past the "Rayon" setting to avoid irreversible damage.

Once the notes are pressed, let them air dry. Wait a bit and they should look crisp and new again.


Even if you’re not interested in selling your paper bills, you might still want to improve their

appearance. Following the above tips to iron your money is a simple, easy way to create and display a pristine paper notes collection with pride!

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