People could do it with playing cards, both sets are cards. In fact, it is believed the tarot started off, or at least was also used, as a playing card game.
The tarot as ased upon today coincides with the qabalistic tree of life nicely, a it is the Golden Dawn who reorganised the deck. I therefore would never switch to playing cards as that would not be a perfect representation, for me, the reading would be vastly different.
I think if people can make playing cards work for them then great. I think they should never be used for playing, always cleansed if you feel the need to. They become consecrated through continued use for the most part.
Personally, I don't cleanse them, I would have to check my journal to confirm I have never done, but, I have meditated on each one and the images are firmly fixed in my mind- the deck has become an internal tool within me and I believe that is what is truly important.