Read Me First
Casino chips are fairly sturdy and are made to
take a fair amount of abuse, but they do get dirty and unattractive.
Cleaning a chip that is dirty, but is otherwise in good condition, can improve
it's appearance. However, there are exceptions. Cleaning a chip can
actually damage it or give it an unnatural appearance. Certain types of
chips are more delicate than others. Not all dirty chips should be
The recommendations below were compiled from the
suggestions of many chippers, see the list of contributors at the bottom of the
page. If you have something you would like to add to this page, please
send it to: Charles
To Clean or Not to
- I like 'em dirty! Adds character.
- I clean my own chips in my collection as I see
fit. I don't clean traders. I leave that decision for the new
- I don't clean my chips or my traders.
- Don't clean worn chips. Worn chips that
are spotless look unnatural and unattractive.
- Don't clean chips that you intend to trade or
sell, let the new owner decide if they would like the chip to be
- I don't clean used chips, other than to
take off the big globs. For my collection, I currently live by the philosophy
that I can always clean them later, but I can never put the history back on. I
have lots of chips "awaiting a decision."
- Not all chips are created equal. Some old
chips should be cleaned. Can even remove light cigarette burns.
Chips that should NOT be
- Worn chips
- Very old or expensive chips
- Chips with paper inserts
- Chips that are very dirty
- Chips that are of a light or bright color, like
sky blue or orange, show dirt more readily than darker colors. Even if
they are not very dirty, sometimes you cannot remove all the dirt from a light
or bright colored chip and you are left with an odd looking chip.
How to Clean
- Use a very soft bristled toothbrush.
- Let experts clean very old or expensive
- A pencil eraser is good for removing scuffs and
crud from old chips.
- These cleaners have been reported to have good
results cleaning chips: mild dishwashing detergent, Armor All
Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Quick'n'Brite, Sterling Magic.
- The trick seems to be to find something that
will dissolve the greasy deposits that accumulate on well used chips, without
removing any ink, or leeching moisture from the chip. Quick'n'Brite is a thick
paste, and does not seem to encourage any moisture transfer, while doing an
excellent job of breaking down the greasy gunk. I just stick the chip in the
bucket edgewise, rotate it a few time to coat the chip thoroughly, wait about
15-30 seconds, then wipe the chip down with a washcloth. It's revolting how
dirty that washcloth gets after only a few chips.
- I use Sterling Magic full strength with a
toothbrush. I use no water and just wipe clean with a cloth. It has never,
never, ever dried the chip out or caused it to fade. If the chip has a hot
stamp, I don't use the toothbrush on that part, I just dab a little on with my
finger and gently wipe it off with the cloth.
- I clean virtually all of my chips except those
that come straight from the cage and have never seen play. I have also
experienced no fading or drying out. The pink goop (Sterling Magic) is great
- I've been using Armor All Multi-Purpose
Cleaning with fantastic results for the past year, no damage to chip, luster
and shine are still there...and it cleans the chip. Don't use any other
Armor All product i.e., tire cleaner, window, bug, etc.
- Waterless hand cleaner, non abrasive, with
lanolin and a bath of johnson baby oil will restore the luster. Give it a bath
of oil, let soak for an hour or so on a bath towel turn once after a while
wipe dry. Regular mineral oil is too oily
- I use a soft toothbrush & Fantastik. I
spray both sides of the chip & clean the dirt off with the toothbrush
& then rinse under warm water. I dry the chip with a paper towel. I then
use a VERY small amount of mineral oil (which brings out the true colors of
the chip which may have been lost over time or due to cleaning) rubbed between
two fingers & work it into the chip. That entire process should not take
more than a minute. I'll then let the chip dry for 24 hours on one side &
turn it over & let dry for another 24 hours before storing the
- I used a soft children's tooth brush and window
cleaner. Hot stamps will turn from gold to silver, so they get covered
with my thumb and I only clean the mold designs. Chipco, Paulson graphics BJ
and others of like design are much more durable.
- I don't clean many of my chips, but when
I do I use Amway's L.O.C. (Liquid Organic Cleaner and a baby's tooth brush
(much softer than a regular soft toothbrush.) I put a few drops of
L.O.C. on the chip and brush very lightly. I so this to remove the surface
dirt. If the chip is extremely dirty I generally leave it alone. It sometimes
looks better dirty.
- Try Johnson & Johnson baby gel instead of
oils to restore the luster. I've been told this by a noted chip collector and
- Crest and seals - Clean with a 3M scouring pad
or wet/dry sandpaper. Then bring back coloring with Johnson & Johnson Baby
Gel. (Note: the 3M scouring pad is non-abrasive, it is sold for cleaning
How NOT to Clean
- Don't clean the hot stamp with a toothbrush,
only gently rub the cleaner in with your fingers.
- Never use anything abrasive to clean your
- Don't use steam to clean clay chips, the steam
will heat the chip until it softens and will warp.
- I did ruin a batch of old clays once by putting
them in the washing machine with bleach and Tide, it messed them up pretty bad
and was very loud to boot.
- I find tying them up in an old T-shirt and
running them through the washing machine cycle usually does the trick.
However, for that really tough grime that gets lodged down in the bottom of
the cane in the hat&cane or the crevices in a small key mold, there's
really nothing like a good stiff wire brush and some elbow grease.
A little vaseline to bring out the colors when you're done, and Viola! (This
is meant as a joke.)
- Do not clean a hot stamped chip with a
toothbrush, instead gently rub with your fingers
- I have had very good luck with Sterling's Magic
cleaner. However, when I cleaned some old Mint roulettes (this is the series
with the small crown mold and a round white inlay) I ended up removing a thin
clear plastic cap that covers the inlay.
- Once I was cleaning (I think a Diamond Jim)
inlay chip with what I usually use -- dove hand soap bar, toothbrush pared
down and warm water, and water got under and discolored the inlay. I
think it must have happened because the inlay was weak/lifting
- Once I really screwed up. I had a lot of
dried out, faded embossed style poker chips (maybe the Golfer wearing
knickers) I often rub chips like these with sewing machine oil (or
mineral oil, or Vitamin E liquid). I'd apply the oil and rub it off
right away with a paper towel.....But
this time I left all the chips in a pot on mineral oil
overnight, and in the morning a found them practically ruined. As I
remember, the main
problem was that
rings and crescents were left on the chips where one chip rested on
Chip Cleaning Horror
- I was using my soft toothbrush with Sterling's
Magic to clean this Club Savoy chip ("Q" rated). The sink in which I was
doing the cleaning is made out of stainless steel. Because I didn't want to
disturb the hot stamp, I put my thumb over the center of the chip. I
guess I put a little too much pressure. That, combined with the fact
that a stainless steel sink flexes, resulted in a "SNAP". Moral of the
story: clean chips on a hard surface, not one that will flex. Don't
clean the hot stamp with a toothbrush, only gently rub the cleaner in with
- I bought a $100 Silver Bird (coin inlay).
It so happened that there was a kind of glue or cement on one side of the
chip. I tried most everything. Lacquer thinner seemed to work. It
worked too slow for me. I poured some Lacquer thinner in a small cup a
dropped the chip in. Unfortunately I lost track of time. Attached
is the results of "too long in the thinner".
- Unfortunately there is no picture because I
"sold" this chip at about $175 loss. This was a $100 Dunes chip from the
dig (I think this was a "Q"). I ebayed it for $7. This chip was
warped. I put it in the micro at "5" setting for about 30 seconds.
I got about 90% of the warp out. Was I satisfied? A big NO. I put
it back in for another 40 seconds. The chip came out flat, BUT the black
chip separated from the white and pink inserts. The main black, in
effect, shrunk away from the inset which did not shrink.
- I got this California Bell Club 50c chip with a
bunch of other chips. I didn't need and wanted to use it as a trader,
but it was dirty. I thought that steam would do a good job cleaning
it. So I put some water in the tea kettle and waited for it to
boil. I couldn't hold the chip in my fingers, the steam was to hot, so I
used a pair of needle nose pliers to hold the chip. The chip started to
get clean, but the clay softened from the heat and the pliers left a lasting
Contributors to this
- Scott Brodsky
- George Conrad
- Robert Eisenstadt
- Rich Hanover
- Larry Hollibaugh
- Andy Hughes
- Charles Kaplan
- Tyrus Mulkey
- Michael Par
- Pete Porro
- Jim Reilly
- Greg Susong
- Gene Trimble
- Gary Tucker