Are Playing Cards Waterproof?

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 09:31 pm

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Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 09:31 pm

Playing cards are a very versatile option when it comes to gaming entertainment. They are very easily transported, take up very little space, and offer endless hours of fun. 

You can play hundreds of games of varying complexity with playing cards which really makes them a perfect travel companion for your vacations. 

Playing cards offer solo games, two player games, and group games of practically any size. Due to how easy they are to travel with they are really able to go anywhere with you.

When looking at the different types of vacations and random weekend excursions you might go on, bringing a set of playing cards might take some forethought. If you plan on just using the cards to play Solitaire while you wait for your wife to get back from shopping, or if you plan to play games like Golf that might take multiple decks. 

Even the environment could factor into the cards you bring.

For example, if you are going camping at a lake, staying at a house near the beach, or spending a lot of time near a pool, you will want to make sure your cards are able to get wet. 

Most playing cards are not waterproof as a lot of them are made from a cardboard type material that moisture can cause significant damage to. 

Most of your basic playing cards are going to fall in this category. So if you are planning on spending time near the water with your cards, be sure to look for a set of plastic playing cards. 

Some of these decks will be promoted as waterproof, and might even come with a hard plastic case.

Most playing card manufacturers will offer an all plastic deck of cards. These cards are typically clear plastic with the artwork and card details printed on them.

One thing that you might have to adjust to is shuffling these all-plastic cards. Some of these decks have the air glide surface that you might be used to, and this can make it harder to get the cards to do what you are wanting them to.

Having a quality, waterproof, all-plastic set of playing cards is a great addition to anyone’s game library. This is especially true if you are active outdoors.

Are Plastic Cards Better Than Paper?

When considering the purchase of a deck of cards, one must answer a few questions to determine what is the best option for them. One of those questions is what material you would like the cards to be made out of. 

By far the two most common card types are plastic and paper.

If money is an issue or if you rarely play outside then you should buy paper cards. However if you often play cards outside near water then investing in plastic cards is a good choice. 

Paper cards have been around the longest as they are easy to manufacture, and the material is inexpensive. For these two reasons, paper decks are generally the least expensive option. If you are prone to losing cards, a paper deck could save you money in the long run.

Plastic cards are going to cost more initially, but they are more durable. Due to the ruggedness of the plastic when compared to paper, these cards often last fifty times longer than a similar deck of paper cards. 

Plastic cards are also able to be cleaned, so if you have clumsy friends over for a game of cards, that spilled drink won’t ruin your cards.

When determining which of these two options is best, you really need to consider what you plan to do with the cards. In some cases, plastic cards are going to be the better option of the two while in others the cheaper paper cards are a better choice. 

Casinos almost exclusively use 100% plastic cards, as they will last longer; however, they are not always the best option. If you are using your deck of cards to do magic tricks or cardistry, it is most certainly better to use a paper deck.

Magic and cardistry will use a lot of folding, ripping, and burning of cards. These are much easier to perform on a paper deck. Paper decks and plastic decks also react and move differently. For this reason, when trying to impress or distract the crowd, paper cards are preferred.

Generally, if being used as art or in magic, the performer is going to prefer paper. The only time this would not be the case is if the act will include water.

Another thing to consider is whether your cards typically get lost or worn out first. Since I have three kids most of the time we will have cards go missing long before the deck is worn out which means that for us the cheaper paper cards are best. 

How Do You Clean A Waterproof Card?

One of the biggest advantages that a set of plastic cards has over its paper competition is that they can be cleaned. Whether it be a spilled drink, or a night of cards played at a bar-b-que, there are a ton of different reasons you might need to clean a deck of cards. 

If you are using paper cards, once they get dirty you might as well throw them away. If they are plastic, you have the option to clean them.

When considering cleaning a set of plastic cards, you are not short of options. Due to the durability of plastic, there really are not very many cleaning techniques that can’t be used. 

To clean waterproof playing cards you can use virtually anything including soap and water, a bleach solution, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, Lysol wipes, and even spray disinfectants. When you clean the cards, simply wipe both sides of the cards and allow them to dry fully. 

When choosing to clean your cards, determining what you’re trying to accomplish is key. If it is simply getting sticky substances off of the cards, soap and water will probably be your best option. If you are worried about bacteria or viruses the other cleaning techniques could be better options.


If you are hoping to find a deck of cards that is versatile and can cover a plethora of environments, you are not going to be short of options. Most quality sets of playing cards today are made from 100% plastic. Due to the nature of plastic, these decks of cards are waterproof and durable.

Along with their waterproof nature, plastic cards can also be cleaned. Between the durability, water resistance, and ability to be cleaned, waterproof playing cards are a great option to be used for travel and around water.

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 09:31 pm

Matthew R

Hi, My name is Matt and I am all about toys! When trying to find accurate information online about toys I was finding it difficult so I decided to make this site.

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