Cleaning Old Books

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 4, 2019)

Cleaning old books is something that many people don't even want to try and attempt. Surprisingly though, cleaning old books is a fairly easy task. If you have an old family Bible, or some other book that you wish to preserve for years and pass on to your children, then you may want to learn how to clean your books. After all, you only really have three options, learn how to clean old books, hire someone to do it for you, or simply keep purchasing replacements.

Materials Needed:

  • Absorene (book cleaning putty)
  • Vacuum
  • Soft bristled vacuum attachment
  • Paper towels or soft clean rag
  • Dry cleaning pad
  • White plastic eraser
  • Glass cleaner
  • Quart sized plastic bags

Procedure:

  1. Vacuum. When cleaning your old books, begin by vacuuming them. Yes, I said vacuuming. Use a soft bristled attachment to vacuum your books though, or you will run the risk of damaging the books further. The vacuum will help remove the vast majority of dust, dirt, and grime that has accumulated on the book. Be sure that you not only get the cover and the edges of the book though, actually get every page as well. Be careful that you don't rip the pages.
  2. Get rid of grease. As you are vacuuming the pages of the book, make note of any pages that have any particularly nasty greasy or oily spots on them. In order to remove those marks, place a paper towel between the pages, and then place the book inside a quart sized plastic bag with a weight on the book to hold it closed. Leave the book alone for three days, and then remove the paper towel. The greasy and oily marks should have absorbed into the paper towel, and all you really need to do now is throw the towel away.
  3. Pencil marks. In order to get rid of any pencil marks found in a book, simply use a white plastic eraser. These erasers can often be purchased at any art supply, stationary, or hobby store. Gently rub the eraser over the mark working from the inside out, being sure that you do not rub back and forth. When you rub back and forth you are running the risk of tearing the page. Once finished erasing the mark, vacuum the book again to get rid of the debris that is left over.
  4. Dust jackets or covers. In order to clean glossy cover or dust jacket, all you really need to use is a little bit of glass cleaner. However, you want to make sure that you do not spray it directly onto the cover. Instead spray it onto a paper towel, or soft clean rag, and gently wipe the cover. For a non-glossy cover, use a dry cleaning pad, which can be purchased at any of hobby, arts and craft, or similar store. Put a little bit of the cleaning solution that comes with the pad onto the pad, and gently wipe away the dirt and grime.
  5. Cloth covers. For any dirty cloth covered books, you will need to be particularly careful with. The best way to clean the dirty cover of a cloth book is through the use of a product called Absorene. This product can be purchased at most hobby or arts and craft store. Lightly rub the cover of the book with the putty, and then vacuum clean. You'll be amazed at how clean the cover becomes.
  6. Once you have cleaned the book, you will want to make sure that you keep it clean. The best way to do this is to ensure that you are careful with your books. Do not keep any liquids near the books while you are reading them (it is really easy to have accidents with books and liquids). In addition, you will want to regularly vacuum your bookshelves to prevent any build up of dirt and grime. The best way to do this is to vacuum your books at the same time you vacuum your carpets.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

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