How To Protect Yourself From DIRTY, FILTHY, Fiat Money

With news that the Chinese are burning Yuan banknotes to fight the Coronavirus, there may be fears that fiat currency is too dangerous and dirty to handle. After all, money is only as clean as the uncleanest place it has been. Consider that one US study showed that most dollar bills are contaminated with cocaine, and the conclusion you may draw is that the majority of greenbacks have at some time been up someone’s nose. While it’s true that fiat money does harbour a considerable number of bacteria, germs and viruses of all varieties, there are some sensible precautions that can be taken to ensure you never fall foul of fiat.

In this article we list the most sensible ways of keeping yourself safe from dirty, filthy fiat money. It’s easy and fun to try.

Brush and disinfectant

One of the best ways to kill germs is with a hard-bristled brush and a lot of disinfectant. Since scientific testing shows that banknotes hold more germs on their surface than the inside of a toilet bowl, this is a very appropriate way of cleaning money. 

For best results we suggest that you wear protective hand gear and scrub hard to ensure a deep cleanse that reaches beyond the surface and penetrates deeply. One small warning: on occasion bleach is known to fade colours, even on the toughest of banknotes (it can even harm polymer banknotes), but at least those shiny white pieces of paper will be safe and sanitary.

High temperature

Heat is one of the most common germ killers, destroying bacteria in kitchens, cooking stoves and ovens around the world on a daily basis. In the course of researching this guide, we discovered, however, that finding accurate heat-treatment instructions for the different types of fiat money can be challenging. This being the case, we were forced to derive our conclusions about proper heat-treatment from other sources. For safe use we discovered that:

  • Steaks and roasts should be heated to at least 145 F (62.8 C).
  • Ground beef or pork should be cooked to 160 F (71.1 C).
  • Chicken and turkey must be cooked to 165 F (73.9 C).

Since fiat is far less hygienic than any meat product, we suggest heating your bank notes in an oven (fan-assisted is preferable). The notes should be cooked at your oven’s maximum heat capacity until the edges turn slightly brown. Be careful to attend to and monitor the process at all times as there is a risk that, by overheating your banknotes, your money could go up in smoke. 


Fiat currencies and laundering have a very long history together, so why not take things one step further and employ your washing machine to clean the filth off those disgusting germ incubators? The specific wash cycle you need will depend on whether you are cleaning cotton notes or polymers, but in either case we highly recommend drying the cash indoors rather than on an outside line. For the final flourish you can ensure a nice crisp finish by ironing your notes on a low heat setting before folding and storing away.


It’s a widely accepted fact that microwaves kill germs. There’s also a widely reported rumour that the metal strips in some banknotes cause them to explode when microwaved. Since facts are a far superior source of knowledge to rumours, it’s probably perfectly safe to kill the germs on all of your banknotes by nuking them in the microwave. You’ll know the experiment has been successful if you hear no explosion before you hear the ding. This is exciting!

Hazmat suit/protective wear

If you’re thinking of spending or receiving fiat money, one of the best ways to protect yourself is with Hazmat gear – or at the very least a protective suit and gas mask. The police may take a passing interest in you walking around town dressed as Walter White, but swiftly explain to authorities you have no absolutely no intention of Breaking Bad today, as you’ve only left the house to do a little grocery shopping. Just remember to offer them a cheery smile and wish them a good day as they happily accept your explanation and let you on your way.

What’s the alternative?

As you can see, there are lots of ways to thoroughly protect yourself from the risks of using dirty, filthy fiat money, but if none of the above appeals, you could always try Bitcoin.

It may sound a little crazy, but it just might work.