piggy bank floating in ocean Can Wet Money Still Be Used?

Can Wet Money Still Be Used?

Accidents happen. Whether you left a wad of cash in your jeans before putting them in the wash or you got caught out in a rainstorm, money can inevitably get wet.

But does that mean you can no longer use it? No, if fact, wet money is still money.

There are ways to dry it out and you may need to take it to your bank for it to get exchanged, but you’re not out the value of the cash just because it got wet.

Keep reading for some tips on using wet money.


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How to Dry Wet Currency

To drain the excess water, place the notes on napkins. To remove the water, place another napkin on top of each bill.

Place the cash on a level surface in a cool, dark location with plenty of fresh air. The air aids in the gradual drying of the cash.

To keep the air circulating around the banknotes without blowing them around, switch on a fan to its slowest setting.

You can also put individual bills in between pages of a hefty book. While drying, the mass of the book straightens the currency.

It is important to note that you should never use an iron to straighten the money, as the heat can cause the notes to discolor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about wet money.

Does Money Get Ruined in the Wash?

The majority of bills should survive the washing machine and dryer. Technically, as long as you have 51% of a bill, you can get it replaced for the full amount.

On the other hand, while a wash cycle may make your money appear spotless, it destroys the bills; high water temperature can ruin security features, and detergents alter the way currency reflects light, which currency-sorting machines sense.

If you washed your money, bring it to the bank to explain what happened and see if they’ll exchange it. If your bank won’t take it, they may have you send it to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Washed money is generally taken out of circulation after it’s turned in.

Are Dollar Bills Waterproof?

US bills are made from cotton fiber which is water-resistant but not waterproof. The ink that the bills are printed with is waterproof.

This means that while the bills will hold up fairly well after getting wet, they aren’t completely waterproof and can get damaged depending on how wet they get.

Do Banks Accept Washed Money?

If more than half of the entire note remains (51%), highly filthy, dirty, damaged, disintegrating, and torn bills can usually be swapped through your local bank.

These notes would be exchanged and handled by the Federal Reserve Bank through your bank.

Can You Wash Paper Notes?

If your paper money is extremely dirty, it’s easiest to bring it to the bank to exchange rather than risk damaging it even more. It is generally not recommended to try to wash the cash yourself since it’s a legal tender and will likely get damaged by cleaning products.

Can You Iron Money?

It is not recommended to iron money since the intense heat will damage the bill and can cause decoloration, or even burn the bills. If you need your bills to flatten out, use a hairdryer on low or place the bills under a heavy book in order to flatten it.

Can I Put Wet Cash in a Microwave Oven?

No, do not put wet cash in the microwave. The inks that are used to print on US bills are magnetic which is not safe in a microwave.

You could end up damaging your microwave or catching your bills on fire if you try to dry them in a microwave.

What Is Money Made of?

US banknotes are made up of 75% cotton and 25% linen, as per the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Each pound of dollar bills contains three-quarters of a pound of cotton.

The Bottom Line

Should your money become wet for whatever reason, you do not have any need to be concerned. Your bills still retain their value and are not diminished in any way at all.

While torn money can sometimes be a cause for concern, a wet note is no problem. Simply take your wet currency to the bank and ask them to swap it out for you.

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