There is nothing more disappointing than little critters eating away at your precious book collection. Even more disappointing is when they leave a musty smell which keeps you from enjoying your books. For a bibliophile, the above scenario is no laughing matter.
Don’t find yourself throwing away or reselling your old or antique books as a result of the condition your volumes are in. Instead, reinvigorate your collection by following our top two must-know tricks on how to clean old books.
The strategy consists of:
1. Cleaning the outside surfaces
2. Cleaning the pages
Firstly, you will need the following book cleaning supplies:
– Soft cloth rag for wiping the covers and spines
– Sheet to protect the surface of your work area
– Cotton pads or ear buds for cleaning small and delicate areas
– Baking soda for getting rid of mildew
– Plastic pack for storing old books in the freezer in case of a malodour
– Eraser or absorene paper cleaner to attract dust and dirt off books
– Feather duster, magnet brush cloth or dry cleaning sponge for dusting off pages
– Gloves to prevent your hands from any fungus and paper cuts
– Hairdryer for removing any stickers, if necessary
1. Cleaning the outside surface
Firstly, have a look at the front and back cover as well as the spine and edges of your book and take note of the spots that require cleaning. If your book has any malodours, put it in a plastic bag, sprinkle in some baking soda and store it in a freezer for a minimum of three days. This freezing method will get rid of the micro-organisms.
In preparation for cleaning your book, place a sheet of paper or towel on the surface of your working area.For any book with stickers you prefer to get rid of, use a safe heating electric appliance such as a hair dryer. While hovering over the stickers gently heat them with the hair dryer.
After removing the stickers use a lightly dampened cloth to wipe off the sticky residue. For shiny covers with marks or grease on them, dab a small portion of your cleaning cloth with essential oil to easily remove the stains.
We would advise that you clean the spine first and then proceed to the gutters, covers and lastly the edges of the book. Be careful not to lift any layers of the covering.
2. Cleaning the pages
Often, the pages are a breeding channel for mildew as well as other micro-organisms which tamper with the quality of the paper.This is why it is important that you leaf through the pages of your books for any required cleaning.
For cleaning book pages, gently run a feather duster, magnet brush cloth or dry cleaning sponge through the pages in one direction (along the top, side and bottom edges of the book) to prevent them from tearing.
If your book has any pencil or ink marks on the pages, it is best to use an appropriate eraser (for ink or pencil). Also, rub slowly and gently in one direction.
Good luck with preserving those volumes. Grow your book collection and enjoy reading!