I have seen a question here about how to restore a receipt that has faded. What I want to know is how to prevent receipts from fading in the first place.

I have some receipts from a recent vacation that I want to keep as souvenirs. I was thinking of putting them in a PVC-free and acid-free protective page (such as this) in a binder along with other documents/pamphlets I collected. What else can I do to prevent them from fading?

  • Side note: I have discovered that receipts are covered with the chemical BPA. Perhaps this explains comments I saw from a couple people saying you should keep your receipts separate from other documents because the receipts could damage the other documents. – pacoverflow Sep 11 '19 at 17:23

Some receipts are printed on a thermal printer. This does not use ink, but heat to blacken the special thermal paper. If you leave the receipt where sunlight falls on it, it heats up the paper which darkens.

Other printers use ink which is sensitive to light, which causes the ink to fade.

So my hack is to keep the receipts away from the light, for example inside a cardboard folder.

The result is that I have receipts in my archives which are still legible after several years.

I suggest that you do not try to laminate them - the heat can ruin the receipt.

In the digital age, you can scan the receipts and keep them in a digital album. This is what I do with photographs. I rarely print a photo: I put together an "album" on my PC, and email certain pictures to friends and family.

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  • Have your receipts shown any sign of fading? Also, since you mentioned lamination, do you think non-thermal laminating would provide any benefit? And I just realized that some tickets I have might also fade over time. – pacoverflow Sep 11 '19 at 0:47
  • Some have faded a little. As mentioned you could make photocopies, but they might fade too. I've added an edit to my answer. – Weather Vane Sep 11 '19 at 8:39

Scan them. If needed you can print the scanned document on acid free paper.

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@WeatherVane provided a thorough answer. I want to add that in case those techniques fail for some reason, you could make a backup by photocopying the receipts. Personally, I would then cut them into the same shape as the original receipt, so they're more similar to the original. Then, if the receipts do fade in a year or two (or five), at least you'll have something similar that won't fade over time.

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Your idea for an archive seems as good as any.
(It's similar to what I use.)

Hack: Instead of a binder, consider using a document storage box (same size) for the pages holding your memorabilia. Being enclosed will give your original keepsakes added protection.

Document boxes come in various widths and colours (for sorting or for matching your decor).

They have the added benefit of an even shape that will sit or stack on a shelf neatly.

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  • Good idea. With a regular binder, light can still reach the items. I managed to find a binder that has a zipper around the outside, so that light can't affect what's inside. – pacoverflow Sep 13 '19 at 14:24

How about keeping them on your phone using an app. There are a bunch of "receipt tracking" apps you can download for both iPhone and Android.

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  • 1
    Welcome to Lifehacks! A member had marked your answer as potential spam, since it linked to one specific app. You were probably just trying to be helpful! But as a community moderator here, I edited your answer a bit to remove the link to that particular app. You'll find we're a friendly bunch of people, and if you want to find out more about our community you can take a tour of our site, and check out our help center. – BrettFromLA Oct 4 '19 at 0:42
  • @BrettFromLA I was linking to a top 10 for both Android and ios, which would be a nice neutral (not 1 app) link in my book. However I don't mind you editing it. I just tried to help with something I would find the most logical to solve this problem. – online Thomas Oct 4 '19 at 7:58
  • Thanks Thomas! I thought that was probably what you were doing. – BrettFromLA Oct 4 '19 at 13:21

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