The Book Doctor is In: How to Clean Books

Books are not one of the most frequent items you clean. However, it’s essential to remove mould, dry some pages, or remove some dirt from them. But because books contain paper, you shouldn’t place liquids on paper since they could smear the ink. That’s why it’s helpful to know what supplies and methods to use when cleaning your books.

So, whether you’re a collector of rare or ancient books or just a regular reader, knowing how to clean books is valuable. However, it would be best if you cleaned books safely using a tactful procedure and tested cleaning techniques. In light of these, here are some trusted ways to clean your books:

1.    Make a list

Preparation is the secret to any mission’s success. If you desire to preserve the appearance of your book, you’ll need a strategy. That entails figuring out the book’s most pressing problems and ensuring you will keep it.

Before you begin, list all the changes you wish to make to this book. Then, try each cleaning product you intend to utilize on a small, insignificant portion of the cover and pages, to mention a few. Of course, you’re hoping for a negative response. However, you will be aware not to use citrus cleansers, for instance, if your book reacts to them.

2.    Remove the dirt first

When it involves cleaning up books, dirt is the easy target. You’ll need a bristle brush, a  new paintbrush or toothbrush, for this phase and a mild vacuum. To weaken the vacuum hose, consider covering it with a clean cloth. To a certain extent, you can use a soft cloth, so far it’s unscented, in place of the brush. However, long bristles are handy when removing dirt between pages.

Place the book’s spine facing up. Remove the dust jacket if it has one. Using the vacuum, you should also remove dust accumulated on the binding or cover. Finally, remove dirt from the pages and the spaces between them.

To remove caked-on grime from a book, use document cleaning pads. To release part of their residue, gently press them over the injured region. Next, gently scrub.

3.    Remove fungus and mildew

Most of the time, mildew is what many call the well-known and adored old book scent. To clean this, first put on a face mask. Understand that both mildew and mould are harmful to your health. If you can spot decay, use a new piece of clothing or brush to get rid of it. If that isn’t an option, gently wet a clean towel with alcohol and wipe down the covers. Dry the surfaces completely and thoroughly afterwards. Spot testing is a brilliant option to try before application.

Before treating mould-infested pages, insert wax paper underneath the offending page. Keep in mind that these fungi exist in both living and infectious forms. After safeguarding the book’s remainder, use hydrogen peroxide to carefully wipe the rotting spots. Denatured alcohol also works well here. Place the book in a container with charcoal or baking soda that is tightly closed for a couple of hours after you’ve removed the mould.

4.    Get rid of grease and grime

Place a piece of paper between any greasy pages. Put pressure on the book’s top when it is closed. The paper towel will eventually absorb the grease within hours or days. Repetition is required.

Any unappealing material you can tell apart from your finger is considered grime. Food leftovers are a bad instance of this, although it isn’t the only offender. Fortunately, after a few minutes in the freezer, you won’t find it difficult to use a razor to lift the muck from the page. Give the book some time to get cold.

5.    For cloth book covers, use Art Gum

The finest option for cleaning textile coverings is art gum. Along with document cleaning pads, as previously mentioned, you can also use Absorene. Experts advise using a fresh cloth and a small amount of fabric softener. You should minimise your book’s exposure to any chemicals you’re unsure of. If you believe the cloth needs to be moistened, don’t use any water and put the book out to dry the book afterwards. You can also hire a professional book cleaner in London to help you with this.

6.    When Using Leather Covers, Use Caution

It’s vital to spot-check leather book covers because different leathers respond distinctly to similar cleansers. On the other hand, some book collectors prefer petroleum-centred cleansers, and saddle soap might occasionally be a good choice. Always try to use a minimal amount. Never use a wet cloth to clean suede.

Old leather can also develop a deteriorating state known as “red rot.” You’ll know you’re dealing with it when the vintage leather binding of your book falls apart within reach of your fingertips. You can stabilize the deteriorated leather cover with cellugel.


Related Posts