Skip to content is reader-supported. This site contains eBay and PWCC affiliate links for which I may be compensated when you buy through links on our site.
Sports Card Cleaning

The Controversy of Sports Card Cleaning

Visit our Daily Auctions page to see the latest sports card deals on auction ending daily! And listen to our podcast Cards To The Moon!

When the Victor Wembanyama Black Prizm 1/1 finally surfaced, a lot of the basketball card collectors were in awe.

Arguably the best Wembanyama card was pulled but that’s not all. It was already graded by PSA and given a PSA 10.

But the controversy started when the guys who pulled it, who were of course ecstatic about the grade, shouted out Kurt’s Card Care for their product which presumably helped clean the surface.

Now the question is, “Should this card now be considered altered?”

There is, and will continue to be, a debate on this sports card cleaning issue until the hobby decides whether a card that uses anything really (from water to any chemicals) to clean the card’s surface is considered altered or not.

This applies mostly to modern chromium cards that are more likely to have scratches.

Of course, what may help in answering this question is whether graders themselves take a hardline stance on this issue.


Now PSA, in response to the controversy, stated on social media, “Lots of conversations about this card in recent days. I got to hold it and its cousin while they were both in house. PSA stands by the original assessment and our graders did not detect anything with the surface to deem it was altered.

“That said, I want to clarify: PSA does not approve of any chemicals or foreign substances being added to the surface of a card to improve the condition or appearance. If we detect that this has happened to any card, we will consider it altered.”

So it seems pretty straightforward yet that begs a couple of questions. One, is Kurt’s Card Care or any other company that offers products to help clean the card (ie. Mr. Minty) approved by PSA for use on trading cards to be graded.

Or is it a question of PSA just not being able to detect whatever is used by such companies to have the card cleaned?

It then seems that what might be a better clarification is to just outright provide a list of what is and isn’t accepted which includes examples of specific products.

Otherwise, we’ll be having the same debate and discussion on future big cards that receive a favorable grade over and over again.

Want more posts like this? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter here! And tune it to our weekly podcast Cards To The Moon!

Leave a Reply