Cleaning Books

Written by Amy Gordon (last updated December 2, 2019)

In my home, books seem to generate spontaneously. We have hundreds of books, filling every bookshelf and many nooks and crannies. Every once in a while we need to clean the books so that they don't look—or smell—dirty or uninviting.

You can clean books with the dusting brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, or brush off the dust with a shaving brush or soft paintbrush. When brushing the edges of your books' pages, brush with the grain of the pages. You should only need to clean the parts of the book that have been exposed to the air, so it's better not to let dust get between the pages when you open the books.

Books kept in a damp room will invite mold and mildew. Having more bookshelves around the house can keep you from having to store books in your garage or cellar. If you are storing your books for the long term, airtight plastic boxes can help prevent mold and mildew. If you see such pests appear in your library, wipe them off the bindings and pages with a clean, soft cloth. If the pages are still moldy, wipe them with a cloth dampened with alcohol, then fan out the pages to dry. You can also try sprinkling some corn flour onto the affected pages and brushing it off after a few hours.

Cleaning leather book bindings is a bit more intensive. Use saddle soap, neat's-foot oil or petroleum jelly to both dust the bindings and condition the leather. Apply the soap, oil, or jelly gently in small amounts. Use your fingers or a piece of felt, muslin, or chamois leather. Wait several hours and then apply again.

Sometimes books may become infected with book mites, in which case you'll want to treat all books and papers in the infected area, which may even include food wrappers or boxes. To kill the mites, lay your books out flat on a pan in your oven and heat them to 135 degrees for three hours.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...


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