Accidentally Washed Credit Card [What to Do]

Oh no! Accidents happen, and washing a credit card is something many of us have done at least once. Fortunately, your credit card is probably tougher than you think!

Firstly, most credit cards are made of durable plastic and are designed to withstand a certain degree of wear and tear. The washing machine isn’t the best place for them, of course, but there’s a good chance your card will still work after its unexpected bath.

However, there are a few potential problems you might encounter:

  1. Magnetic Strip: The magnetic strip on the back of your card might become demagnetized by the machine’s motions or the heat if you also put your card in the dryer. If the strip is demagnetized, the card won’t be able to be read by swipe card readers. However, if your card has a chip, that should still work as it doesn’t rely on magnetism to function.
  2. Card Warp: The heat and agitation from the washing machine (and especially the dryer) could warp the shape of your card or peel off the layers. This might make it difficult to insert into or retrieve from card slots.
  3. Discoloration or Scratches: Your card could get scratched up or discolored, which might make it hard to read the card numbers, expiry date, or CVV code.

Here’s what you should do now:

1. Test Your Card: Try using your card as you normally would. If it works, great! You can continue using it as you were before. It’s a good idea to monitor your account for any unauthorized charges just in case the card’s details were somehow compromised, although this is unlikely from just a trip through the washer.

2. Contact Your Bank: If your card is no longer working, you’ll need to contact your bank or credit card company. Explain what happened and ask for a replacement card. They’ll likely cancel your old card and send you a new one. There’s usually no charge for this, but it can take a week or two for your new card to arrive.

3. Update Linked Accounts: If you have your card number saved for any online accounts or automatic payments, remember to update these with your new card information once you receive it.

4. Prevent Future Accidents: To avoid a repeat incident, try making a habit of placing your card back in your wallet immediately after use. Checking your pockets before doing laundry is always a good idea, too!

Remember, while washing your credit card isn’t ideal, it’s generally not a disaster.



  1. Will my credit card still work after being washed? Quite possibly. Credit cards are made of sturdy plastic and often survive a trip through the wash. The embedded chip, if your card has one, should remain unaffected. However, the magnetic strip may become demagnetized, which could pose an issue with swipe card readers.
  2. Will washing my credit card compromise my card information or lead to identity theft? Washing your card in a machine should not expose your data or lead to identity theft. However, if you lose your card or it gets stolen while it’s out of your sight, that can potentially expose you to risk. Always keep a close eye on your cards!
  3. What should I do if my washed credit card doesn’t work? If your card doesn’t work after being washed, contact your bank or credit card company to report the issue and request a replacement card.
  4. How long does it take to get a replacement card? The timeframe can vary, but typically, it takes one to two weeks to receive a new credit card in the mail after you’ve requested it.
  5. Will I be charged for a replacement card? Most banks and credit card companies replace damaged cards for free, but policies can vary. You should check with your card issuer to be sure.
  6. What do I do about automatic payments linked to my washed card if I get a replacement? Once you receive and activate your new card, you’ll need to update your card information for any automatic payments or online accounts linked to the old card.
  7. How can I avoid washing my credit card in the future? Always double-check your pockets before doing laundry, and make a habit of returning your card to your wallet immediately after use.