Your baseball cards mean the world to you. It is for that reason alone that the sight of an otherwise mint card in your collection showing creases or even bends can make the heart stop. No, you don’t have to throw out or replace the card quite yet. You don’t have to settle for creases or other minor instances of damage either. As you are going to find, there is still a lot that can be done.
The method we’re going to primarily focus on here today is known as soaking. Yes, the process entails work that is exactly as the name suggest. The idea of soaking a baseball card to get rid of creases may strike you as strange. Indeed, some do not consider it to be a viable option.
However, anecdotal evidence from generations of collectors all over the world suggests it is something at least worth trying. First, let’s discuss some of the most common methods for getting creases out of your baseball cards. This will make it easier for you to decide if soaking is the right ways to go.
Different Ways to Remove Creases From Baseball Cards
From very minor creases, to more serious bends in the card itself, no one wants to keep a valuable baseball card that isn’t particularly valuable due to damage. Over time, humidity and other factors can conspire to cause one problem or another.
In terms of addressing the problem, we’ve got you covered with four different possibilities you can try:
- Ironing: This one can strike you as a little dangerous for the card. Indeed, it can be. However, use a heat-resistant cloth over the cards. Make sure you’re using a fabric that can stand up to the heat of the iron. Avoid the steam setting, and iron the card gently until it becomes flat.
- Blow-dryer: Using a hot setting and a flat surface, you can give your creased baseball card the blow-dryer treatment until it flattens properly.
- Steaming: This requires a heavy bowl, some plastic wrap, and your trading card. Boil the water, and then pour it into your ceramic bowl. Place plastic wrap over the bowl. Next, leave the card on top of your plastic wrap for approximately 30 seconds to a full minute. Make sure the card is facing down.
- Soaking: Our final option is the most intensive of the four. Having said that, you could make the argument that it is the most proven method. We’re going to go into more detail on this method below.
How to Properly Soak a Baseball Card
Some consider soaking the baseball card to remove creases to be akin to changing the actual appearance of the card. This has given the method a measure of controversy, as some argue that repairing the card in this fashion eliminates its value.
While that isn’t something we personally believe, it is an interesting facet to this process that can be worth a closer look on your part.
Here are the steps involved in soaking a baseball card to restore its former glory:
Use a Container Deeper than the Card
Get a bowl or lid. You need something that will be deeper than the card itself, as well as flat.
Fill the bowl or other container with water. Some prefer distilled, but tap water more often than not should be just fine.
This is where things can get challenging. Your next step is going to be to submerge the card completely in the water. Don’t do it slowly. It should be done all at once, and the card should be held down in the water with a finger, or perhaps even a cotton swab. Putting the card in gradually can lead to staining.
Soak the Card
How long should you leave the baseball card in the water to soak? That is really up to your discretion, as well as the stock the card has been printed on.
Anywhere from a few minutes to several hours is considered a good idea, as long as the card is being consistently saturated. Some will even leave the card in the water for up to a week, but this probably won’t be necessary.
Depending on the age and general condition of the card, it may look a little yellowish or discolored in appearance. This is not something to be concerned about.
Dry the Card
Place your baseball card inside a napkin, pushing gently to soak up any excess water the card may have accumulated.
Transport your card to a new, dry napkin. A double-folded paper towel is acceptable in this situation, as well. The next step will involve using two smooth-sided pieces of board.
You need something that will be big enough to comfortably hold the card inside the napkin for a prolonged period of time. Depending on how you cut your pieces of board, it can be possible to perform this process for multiple cards at the same time. 1”x 4” boards are considered to be ideal for restoring a single card.
Use a Heavy Weight
Place a weight over the two pieces of board, with the baseball card and the napkin still between them. This weight will need to be at least five pounds.
After leaving the card like this for about an hour, you will move the card yet again to a new napkin or paper towel. Return the card and paper towel/napkin to being between the two pieces of board. Put the weight back on top, as well.
Wait 24 Hours
After waiting for at least twenty-four hours, you can check to see the progress of the card drying safely and correctly. If the card is still in fact a little damp, don’t panic. Simply transport the card to a new paper towel, return it to the boards, and put the weight back on. After a few more hours, it should almost certainly be dry.
Taking the card out too early can cause damage that will force you to begin these steps again. Patience!
With these measures in place, you can restore far more aging or damaged baseball cards than you might suspect.
There are several methods to remove creases from baseball cards. The method of soaking baseball cards has been the most proven and effective way to get creases out of cards.
Do remember that there are risks associated with soaking baseball cards, as with other methods of altering or removing creases from a card.
Only attempt card soaking if you are willing to damage your card further as there is no guarantee that your card will be undamaged during this process.