First of all, it’s important to realize that it’s not an inherently bad thing to have a tarot deck that shows signs of wear. That usually means you are enjoying your deck and using it! But obviously, you don’t want to accelerate this process of wear any more than necessary. So is there anything you can do to preserve your tarot deck, and make it last as long as possible? As it turns out, there most certainly is.
How to maintain your tarot cards in good condition?
Store your tarot deck in a dry and cool area
Cards are made out of reinforced cardstock paper, and paper doesn’t mix well with moisture. Your tarot deck will get clumpy and possibly warped if it isn’t stored in a dry and cool environment. People who live in dryer climates are lucky and their decks can last many months or even years if they are taken care of. If you live in a humid climate, then the decks will see more wear because of it.
Use cards with clean and dry hands
Skin retains moisture. If your hands are clammy, your deck is soaking up that moisture. Moisture also can get trapped between the tarot cards in the deck which can warp and thicken the individual cards over time. When you handle a deck of tarot cards with dirty hands, this filth has a habit of unattaching itself, and along with the oils from your skin, finding a new home on your deck. Before you know it, those crisp and clean edges start to look yellowed or have flecks of grime mysteriously appearing on them.
Properly store your cards when not in use
First of all never ever use rubber bands, please! Why not? The rubber band may leave a mark on the edge of the cards. Also, over time that rubber band is going to become brittle and break. Worse, when you add some heat it’s going to melt, and you’ll have bits of rubber actually stuck to your cards. Secondly, don’t ever put cards in your pockets. They are moist and your body will warp the cards. Use the tuck box or a tarot card bag. Both will help keep your cards in good condition. If you leave your cards out in the open, they are vulnerable to moisture, and will also attract dust
Store your decks flat or even add some weight on top
Store your tarot decks flat. You’ll find that opinions on this subject do vary, but when stored flat, gravity is on your side, pressing the cards flat against each other in a natural way. If you suspect that your cards warped and are no longer completely straight, you can put some heavy books on the top of it for a day or two.
Spread your tarot cards out on a table overnight
Sometimes your cards will get clumpy and no longer spread nicely after dirt and oil gets in between them. Try spreading them all over a table and let them air out for some time.
Sunlight has a tendency to bleach, and if something is left in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, it will inevitably get damaged. You can’t buy sunscreen for cards, but you can keep them away from the sun, by ensuring your cards are stored safely in the tuck case when they’re not being used. This also applies when your tarot cards are inside the tuck case – don’t leave it on the ledge of your bedroom window, where the tuck case is going to sit for hours in the full sun.
This isn’t rocket science, obviously, but I wouldn’t want to be standing underneath the burning flames of rocket engines, would you? Similarly, it’s hardly ideal for your tarot cards to be exposed to significant amounts of heat. Heat can accelerate chemical reactions, and changes in temperature will cause things to expand and contract. Inevitably, this will lead to problems like warping, which you really want to avoid.
Regulary clense your tarot decks
Cleansing and clearing your tarot deck can mean a variety of things. Some people say to “clear” the cards mean you intentionally neutralize them. Just like when you have a problem with computer and you call an expert and they say: »Did you restart it?«. Well, this is what you have to do with your cards. Try to rebooting them back to factory settings and clear any personalized files stored in it. You can read more about how to clense you tarot deck here.
In the end, the tarot cards will eventually wear out, but that is not a bad thing
The bad news is that a deck of tarot cards will wear out. It’s just a fact of life, so you need to accept it. It’s the same for us, the more adventures we have in life, the more scares we have at the end of it. But that means that we really lived. So a tarot deck that shows signs of wear is not a cause for sadness or grief. A deck that is being used and enjoyed is a happy deck! So actually signs of wear are usually evidence that you are using a deck and enjoying it for what it is – and that’s often better than leaving it untouched in the fear that it might get hurt.