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When is Laminating Documents a Bad Thing?

While every self-respecting office should certainly have a laminator, not everything should be laminated. Yes, we know that one gets a tremendous amount of satisfaction when a shiny, professional-looking and somewhat more robust document comes sliding out of our laminating machine. However, there are some instances when laminating documents can go wrong.

Laminating Documents – When Not To

Most of us went to a school where everything was laminated. Our flashcards, the front cover of many books, counting cards – everything. And with good reason. A thin laminated film of plastic over a piece of paper or card is often the only way to keep it intact for a period of time.

So, what should we not be laminating?

Birth Certificates

It may be tempting to pop our birth certificate in the laminator as we are always going to need them, right? In more and more countries, official departments are no longer accepting laminated copies of identification documents due to the risk of forgery or duplication. An article in the Bangalore Mirror says, “It is difficult to ascertain if laminated documents are originals or duplicates. And with a WhatsApp message doing the rounds to this effect, people are panicking and flocking to de-laminators in the city.”

Official Documents

Some official documents such as certificates are specially printed with a security seal or stamp to confirm their validity. Laminating such a document will likely flatten out or distort these security measures making them nothing more than a piece of paper.


It would be wonderful to protect our precious photos from dirt, moisture and damage by laminating them! However, we need to be careful that the paper that these special memories are printed on does not react to the intense heat needed to melt the plastic in the laminator.

So, if we’re not laminating these important documents, how are we going to keep them safe? In these instances, we would advise a plastic Ziplock bag in a hanging file, away from sunlight and moisture. Everything else – feel free to laminate!

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