I think the biggest and best-kept secret in magic is the ruthless treatment of playing cards by magicians. Good for only a short while, a deck rarely sees more than a couple dozen Charliers, a few fan thumbs and ribbon spreads, before being *cough* discarded.
Stop this insanity, I say. Plastic playing cards, such as this Bicycle Dura-Flex deck, is the shizzle.
Mine is, oh, a hundred years old, and is still good to go. I've used various agents to clean them: regular soap, hand soap, and a 25% alcohol bath, and none of these seem to degrade the cards significantly. After the first few washes, some of the ink did come off, but it wasn't a white-wash.
In fact, I used a 50% alcohol solution and a lot of elbow grease to on purpose create blank cards from the jokers. This experience taught me that casual sloshing around in alcohol is not going to fade the cards noticeably.
Once washed, make sure you rinse them at least 200 times in clear running water. Sandwiched between a towel they dry rapidly.
Fanning powder does help - but be prepared for rapid gunk build-up on the cards. Which, of course, is no loss: just pop the cards in the laundry again.
And what's even cooler, while washing them, you get to Charlier and double-lift underwater. Shazaam!
nothing more to see. please move along.