Malaysians washing cash for cleanliness

M'sians Money Laundering Cover
Malaysians are washing their cash during MCO
Image adapted from: @KLCCElevators
& @lahhamid

We’re living in a time where we have to be extra wary about social distancing, making sure that we don’t make physical contact with other people during Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO). Naturally, Malaysians are a tad worried about items that commonly exchange hands, like cash

Recently, Malaysians have not only adhered to the MCO by staying at home. They’ve also made use of their free time to clean their cash with sanitisers and soap in the most hilarious way possible: 

Malaysians doing “money laundering” during MCO

KLCC Elevators tweet "money launders"
Image adapted from:

The trend of washing cash began with Twitter user KLCC Elevators, who tweeted a photo of several RM1 and RM5 banknotes drying out like dishes above their kitchen sink on 25th March 2020. They captioned the photo withWashed them. They are clean now #kitajagakita”. 

Whether it’s a joke or a precautionary measure, it only goes to show the durability of our banknotes and smart thinking that goes a long way even in a crisis. 

Image adapted from:

They later followed up their tweet with, “I didn’t wash any purple notes (RM100) because I didn’t have them. I only have red (RM10), blue (RM1) and green (RM5) left”. This also serves as a reminder not to wash any non-polymer notes like RM50 notes.

Other Malaysians follow suit

Other Malaysians also came out in response to show that they’re taking the same extra care to focus on hygiene during this time to avoid catching the virus.

Money laundering Example
Image adapted from:

Twitter user @AilemracY showed that she had done the same after having no choice but to use cash at a mart as it didn’t accept cards. She ended up washing her RM1 notes and pasting the damp notes onto her window to dry.

Another user Lahhamid also chirped in to say “Same. Money can be used to buy Roti Gardenia. Haha”, with a picture that shows her notes clipped to hang dry like laundry on a line.

Money laundering Example
Image adapted from:

Some even offer tips from experience

M'sian ask for money laundering tips
Image adapted from:

This may come as something new to Malaysians, including Twitter user @aqilahcheamri, who tweeted, “Please give me some tips on how to wash money! Do you need to wash it for 20 seconds? Do you need to soak it for 20 seconds? I’m asking seriously”. 

But it wasn’t to others, who quickly stepped in to offer tips and tricks of the trade.

M'sian gives tip for money laundering
Image adapted from:

Twitter user @MamohMunchkin cautioned people who may want to iron their banknotes, presumably because polymer banknotes may get damaged with heat. And while outlandish, another user @shakirein suggested adding another layer of caution with Dettol hand sanitiser after giving your cash a good wash down. 

Money laundering Example
Image adapted from:

Malaysians washing their cash during MCO

Money laundering Example
Image adapted from:

Malaysians were quick to react with jokes about this new stay-at-home activity that has surfaced, with many calling it “money laundering”.

Money laundering
Image adapted from:

And with COVID-19 on the rise in Malaysia and MCO extended, it’s great to see Malaysians taking extra precautions to help curb its spread – including washing their polymer banknotes if needed. 

While every little thing helps right now, do be careful with trying this activity out and identify what an unfit banknote is before you wash them.

Keep up to date with COVID-19 news here:

Follow The Smart Local Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Telegram for more stories like this. If you have a story to share, email us at