Poker Chip cleaning - Safe and Effective

MikeNV79

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I picked up some dirty chips off ebay a while back. Now I have some time to clean them. What is the most effective way to clean them without risking any damage to the chip. I read about using Oxi Clean before, is there any other solution I should be using?

Thanks

Mike
 

Mr. Cheese

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I use dawn dish soap in hot water and a magic eraser. I take 20 chips at a time and put them in the water to soak. Wait a few minutes then pull the first one out and magic eraser both sides. Rinse, Dry, and Repeat till you have that barrel done. That's how I cleaned all my Oak Tree Casino chips. If I ever have to do it again I might try oxi and magic eraser instead of dawn and magic eraser though.
 

Milo013

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If these are hot stamps, then DO NOT USE TRISODIUM PHOSPHATE (TSP). This will clean the hot stamps right off of your chips.
 

saw28

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If these are hot stamps, then DO NOT USE TRISODIUM PHOSPHATE (TSP). This will clean the hot stamps right off of your chips.
+1 I cleaned all my chips with tsp and I regretted it on my par-a-dice hotstamps there almost blanks, then again I now have blank paulsons lol
 

Jackstraw

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+1 I cleaned all my chips with tsp and I regretted it on my par-a-dice hotstamps there almost blanks, then again I now have blank paulsons lol
How much TSP did you use, I have never had that happen. I do have some hotstamps that are going to be relabeled and will use more if it will remove the foil.
 

ryanhawk55

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I also find dawn dish soap to work relatively well.

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Do the magic erasers ever damage the chips? I am not familiar with them, but I hear a lot of people are using them.
 

atomiktoaster

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I've used magic erasers on Paulson inlaid chips before. My process was warm water and oxyclean plus a tootbrush to clean the gunk off the chips, and the magic eraser to take care of rack check and other marks. The magic eraser picks up a lot of color when you use it on the clay, which is a bit worrying. It does a good job getting off all sorts of streaks and marks though. It's a very mild abrasive, so I wouldn't use it for the first pass, but it's hard to do real damage if you're careful.

After cleaning, I follow up with a very light oiling. Oxy clean can make the chips look chalky after drying, but the mineral oil brings back the color.
 

tigon

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I've tried TSP and Palmolive w/ Oxy. The TSP did a great job removing finger jam or the most part, the Palmolive w/ Oxy wasn't as effective with much more work needed. I might not have used enough soap though since I only tried it once and then stuck with the TSP.

I have some Lucky Derby hotstamps that I might want to keep on if they're in good enough shape, so TSP isn't an option for those. Are powdered Oxiclean/Oxiclean pods safe for hotstamps? What other stuff have you used? I remember reading a post somewhere that all some Mexican cardrooms just use club soda/carbonated water to clean their chips.
 

BGinGA

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Oxi and hot-stamps is a very fickle relationship. Sometimes the hot-stamps simply sparkle. Sometimes they change colors (gold-to-silver). Sometimes they just disappear. I don't use Oxi on hot-stamped chips anymore.

I don't use Magic Eraser on hot-stamps either, for the same reason(s). YMMV.
 

cpiaaq

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My experience cleaning ASM H-Molds in Diamond Chip Cleaner were that the chip ... softens .. in the bath (10min). Any scrubbing I did (damp towel) took the surface off the chip! The ones I I did not scrub seemed to be OK after drying.

NOT recommended :)
 

Trihonda

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How much TSP did you use, I have never had that happen. I do have some hotstamps that are going to be relabeled and will use more if it will remove the foil.
This! And where do I get tsp! :). I just got a bunch of the LD chips, which will get labeled, but the scraping of the HS is the part that is freaking me out. I have a nice drill press, and was considering using that and a scraped blade but to take a hair off each chip, but if the tsp works, then that's better..


now, my cleaning process doesn't involve a magic eraser on chips unless there are rack marks, etc.. I do similar to above, with warm water, dish soap. aND a smidge of oxy... I soak a barrel at a time, and then I use a nail brush in quick circular strokes (usually three per side) and the chips come out sparkly! The nail brush bristles get into the H&C symbols and such much easier than the magic eraser.

I then rinse them and place them in a vat of clean water Untill the barrel is done. I actually use a two bowl setup.. With a strainer in the inner part of the rinse/soak bowl, so that I can lift them in and out of the rinse bowl with the strainer to get all the residue off.
 

BGinGA

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This! And where do I get tsp! :). I just got a bunch of the LD chips, which will get labeled, but the scraping of the HS is the part that is freaking me out. I have a nice drill press, and was considering using that and a scraped blade but to take a hair off each chip, but if the tsp works, then that's better..
The TSP just removes (or discolors) the hot-stamp foil. It doesn't remove the indentation/deformation of the chip caused by the hot-stamping process, which is what needs to be scraped to get a flat surface for relabeling.
 

ski_ex5

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So much manual labor, so much scrubbing, so much wiping, so much TIME! Seriously... do you all not place any value on your time, or do you actually enjoy all the time spent manually cleaning chips?

Anyway, regarding the hot-stamp foil issue while cleaning chips, I've been using sodium metasilicate (one of the TSP substitutes) with outstanding results in my ultrasonic cleaner. I've cleaned several hundred hot-stamped Paulson chips (mostly Casino Miami chips) with both gold and silver foil with no discoloration or other problems.

It bears repeating over and over again that you should NOT use this stuff on ASM/CPC chips! ASM/CPC chips are GREAT chips, but they're like Play-Doh (i.e. soft and very soluble) compared to Paulsons, and require much more care when doing maintenance like cleaning or de-warping.

If you need to REMOVE hot-stamps, simple isopropyl alcohol ("rubbing alcohol") in the ultrasonic cleaner makes very short work of the process. I've removed the ChipRoom cancellation hot-stamp from several hundred St. Jo Frontier casino chips this way. You really need to take the proper safety precautions with the alcohol, though. If you're into the manual labor thing, you can use a toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol instead. However, if you're removing hot-stamps for the purpose of relabeling, you really need to resurface the chips if you want your re-labeled chips to look great. Resurfacing is a topic unto it's own, and is simply a boatload of time, effort, and good equipment to get the job done right. If you place any value at all on your own time, it's probably more cost effective to simply order custom clay chips from CPC!

Back to the question of how much you value your time, here's the text from a reply I sent to another PCF member's PM question about cleaning a bunch of Par-A-Dice chips. For any of you who DON'T enjoy the manual labor and time spent scrubbing chips, I hope you'll find this useful:

PM from Ski in answer to question on cleaning Par-A-Dice chips: said:
Yes, you have a LOT of cleaning ahead of you, BUT, if you put any value whatsoever on your time, you can pick up an ultrasonic cleaner like mine for about $200. I can clean 1,000 RHC mold chips like Par-A-Dice in less than an hour with my ultrasonic cleaner and sodium metasilicate (a TSP substitute). I need to update my ultrasonic cleaning topic with details, as the info in the topic still lists Oxi-Clean, and Oxi-Clean (relatively speaking) is horrible for use in an ultrasonic because of the effervescent action that makes it great for manual cleaning.

Realistically, with really filthy chips like Par-A-Dice, Aztar E, or Empress, you will spend at LEAST one minute per chip when you clean manually (soaks, scrubbing with toothbrush, wiping with Magic Eraser, etc.), and often two or more minutes. Certain colors (red, purple, and some greens) will experience significant permanent fading with the long soak times in Oxi or other cleaners. So, you're comparing a minimum 1,000 minutes (nearly 16.7 hours) of manual labor to about an hour of largely automated cleaning in the ultrasonic.

For "just" 1,000 chips, 16.7 - 1 = 15.7 hours time savings. Plus no manual effort to clean. Plus *significantly* reduced permanent color fading.

So... if you think you'll only ever clean 1,000 chips in your chip collecting career, you just have to ask yourself, "Is my time worth at least about $12.75/hour?" ($200 / 15.7 hours saved)

In my case, I've cleaned somewhere between 20-30 thousand chips. I'll call it 25k, and I promise you I value MY time more than 50¢ and hour! (roughly $200 / 390 hours saved)
:)
 

Milo013

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While I will concede your point about the time involved cleaning chips (it is one of the reasons I try to stick with "mints"), you have to remember that, for most of us, the cleaning process is done while doing something like watching TV, or videos, or whatever, so the time is "down" time, anyway.

25000 chips? No wonder you bought a machine . . . me? I've cleaned (maybe) a thousand. No thanks.
 

BGinGA

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So much manual labor, so much scrubbing, so much wiping, so much TIME!....
lol, I knew I should have taken the under for how long it would take for ski to show up with this....


Well, everybody needs something to be passionate about, I guess.
 

tigon

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How big a cleaner do you need for that? Some of those I've seen made for jewelry you probably couldn't fit 40 in at a time.

I can't find sodium metasilicate available in Canada online anywhere. If I walked into a hardware store and asked would they know what I'm talking about?
 
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Shaggy

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Ski,
how well does the ultrasonic do with the grime that sticks in the mold? Example, my old grimey ASM Binion Horseshoes on the Horseshoe mold. Can this chip (ASM) be cleaned without any scraping to dig crud out of the mold?
 

Tommy

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How big a cleaner do you need for that? Some of those I've seen made for jewelry you probably couldn't fit 40 in at a time.

I can't find sodium metasilicate available in Canada online anywhere. If I walked into a hardware store and asked would they know what I'm talking about?
The Magnum....

20140527_151329.jpg
us5.jpg
 

tigon

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What volume is that in L or ounces? It looks like a deep fryer!
 

tigon

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I haven't found sodium silicate at Home Depot or Canadian Tire. Googling leads me to believe there's a phosphate free TSP substitute out there, but I haven't found it. The cartons I have and saw all say: Caution: contains Trisodium Phosphate. Anyone have a lead?
 

mtl mile end

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I haven't found sodium silicate at Home Depot or Canadian Tire. Googling leads me to believe there's a phosphate free TSP substitute out there, but I haven't found it. The cartons I have and saw all say: Caution: contains Trisodium Phosphate. Anyone have a lead?
Use TSP.

*edit - just realized you have hotstamps - never mind.
 
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mtl mile end

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Canadians who want to ultrasonically vibrate their chips may be interested in this:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/NEW-2-5L-STA...-JEWELRY-/161042406948?_trksid=p2054897.l4275

It's a 2.5 litre ultrasonic cleaner buy it now shipped (!) price to Canada 189.95 CAD. The one linked to above by Tommy (currently available) is 3.2 US gallons, which I think is 3 litres. It's currently 225 USD shipped to the States. This may be a rare case of ebay Canada beating Amazon.com. Or perhaps the machine shipping from Scarberia is a piece of crap.
 

tigon

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That seems like it would be a good investment to buy it, use it, and sell it once all your chips are finished. If I hadn't already finished cleaning most of the chips from the first sale, it might have been worthwhile for me.

I've found a light solution (like a sprinkle or two in around 2L of warm water) of TSP soaking for up to 40 minutes hasn't done the faded to slightly damaged Lucky Derby $2 and $3 hotstamps I have any further harm with no discoloration, contrary to most peoples' experiences of TSP killing hotstamps. I'll still probably do the most pristine ones with dish soap instead.
 
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