How to Clean a Dollar Bill Changer

Not all dollar changers can read and validate this bill.
Not all dollar changers can read and validate this bill. (Image: Adam Gault/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Everyone has an amusing anecdote about that dollar bill changer that refused to accept any dollar bills. They are popular stories because they are easily embellished and describe an almost universal experience. The villain in these recollections is often technology. Many people assume bill changers just don’t work very well. The truth is that the technology has been around long enough to work just fine and the real villain is whoever is supposed to clean them.

Things You'll Need

  • Bill acceptor and validator cleaning cards
  • Owner’s manual or instructions for your dollar bill changer
  • Clean, soft cloth
  • Distilled water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton swabs

Insert a bill acceptor and validator cleaning card into the bill slot on the dollar bill changer frequently. These cards, from multiple vendors, are sold in packs and contain a solvent that cleans the optical sensors inside these machines.

Read the owner’s manual or instructions that came with your machine. There are dozens of models of these machines, but the general instructions that follow will work with all of them.

Unplug and unlock the machine. Remove the bill box and access the bill path. Wipe dust from around the bill box with a clean, soft cloth.

Mix a solution that is one-half distilled water and one-half isopropyl alcohol. Dip a cotton swab in the solution and clean all sensors along the bill path with the cotton swab. Change cotton swabs as needed and allow the sensors to air-dry.

Reassemble, lock and repower the machine.

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