BOOK CARE AND CLEANING


GENERAL CARE

Simple Do’s: Instead of folding the corners of pages to save your place, use a bookmark. When reading books that you want to keep clean, wash and dry your hands prior to touching them. When turning the pages, turn them carefully from the top corner. Don’t force books to lay flat. When pulling a book off of a shelf, remove it by grasping the spine.

Shelving: When purchasing shelves, be sure to get shelves that are tall enough that books clear the shelf above when standing up straight. Shelves should also be deep enough that you can leave some space between the back of the book and the back of the bookshelf. When placing your bookshelves, try to keep them away from the outside walls of your home, especially when the walls are uninsulated.

Environment: Books should not be kept in direct sunlight or humid environments. Both sunlight and humidity can damage books. Books should also be kept in an air conditioned environment in order to slow the rate at which the chemicals used to make them turn to acid.

Storing: When storing books, be sure to keep them in smaller sized boxes, because they are easier to manage and do not put as much stress and pressure on the books. When packing books, be sure to pack them snugly, but not to tight. The best way to put them in the box is to place them in upright as you would on a shelf, this doesn’t always work though. If you stack them upright and have room at the top, you can place one flat on top of them if they are of even height. If not, it is best to lay them all flat, making sure that they are square. Be sure to seal the box well in order to keep out the vermin. The best place to store books is in the house, in a closet that isn’t located near plumbing. If you can find a climate controlled mini-storage unit to keep them, you should put something between the boxes and the concrete floor to keep them from absorbing moisture, the best things to use are storage shelves or pallets because they allow air to circulate around the books.

CLEANING BOOKS

Do you have books that need some minor repairs or cleaning? Would you prefer to do the work yourself? The following are a few tips and tricks that you can use at home to clean your books. Please bear in mind that if the book is expensive or you aren’t sure, you should take your book to a professional. When working with chemicals or fumigation materials, there is a chance that they might cause damage to the book.

Paper and Matte Surfaces: For matte surfaces and book pages that are dirty, you can try using a dry cleaning pad, which are available at art supply stores. Dry cleaning pads are cloth bags that are filled with easer dust and you simply twist the bag to loosen some of the eraser dust and then rub that around on the surface with clean fingers. If this does not work, you can use the pad itself. Erasers are also good tools for cleaning dirt and my sometimes remove dirt that dry cleaning pads will not. When using an eraser, be sure to move the eraser towards the edge of the page in order to avoid tearing.

Mylar Covers: Mylar covers can be cleaned with a cotton ball or paper towel and a little bit of alcohol. Do not soak the cotton ball or paper towel in alcohol, apply a small amount, and then gently wipe over the mylar surface.

Glossy Dust Jackets: Glossy dust jackets can be cleaned with glass cleaner, such as Windex, but the cleaner should not be sprayed directly on the jacket. Spray just a bit of the cleaner on a soft cloth and wipe the cover carefully.

Adhesives: While you can not always remove adhesives, in some cases it is possible. When removing price stickers from glossy dust jacket, you can carefully apply some Goo-Gone or lighter fluid to the surface with a Q-Tip. Then simply use a thin, flat knife to remove the sticker. DO NOT use a sharp knife to remove any stickers because you risk cutting the surface.

Cloth Binding: Absorene is a Play-Doh like substance that can sometimes be found in art supply stores or it can be obtained from Gaylord Bros. Library Supply. For light cleaning, it can be rolled across the surface. For heavier cleaning, simply rub it across the surface like an eraser. Groom-Sticks, also available from Gaylord, is made of soft, malleable rubber, and can be used for cleaning surfaces as well. Groom-Sticks, however, are sticky and you must take care to make sure that it does not remove ink or gilt from decorations. To use it, you simple rolls it across the surface.

Dust: Dust along the edge of pages can be removed with a vacuum cleaner, but be sure you use the soft brush attachment. In order to keep dust from falling between the pages, turn the book upside down and remove the dust jacket, if there is one. Dusters can also be used, but you should be sure to keep the book tightly closed so that the duster does not just push the dust between the pages. Dust can also be removed with a magnetic wiping cloth, since they don’t contain any chemicals. A soft brush, such as some smaller paintbrushes, can be used to clean dust from the inside pages and the gutter of the book as well.

Odor Removal: Musty odors tend to be caused by mold when a book is kept in a humid environment and if you remove it from the humidity the smell will fade some. If the book is damp, you can go to a hardware store or a farm supply outlet and get some calcium chloride. Bake a cup of the calcium chloride in the oven at 250 Fahrenheit for an hour. Place it in a sealed container when it is done baking and leave it near, but not touching, the book. Let it sit for two or three days, then clean the book with Absobene. Cigarette smoke can be cleaned in very much the same manner, though the book won’t have to dry. You should, however, clean the binding because cigarette smoke leaves an oily film.

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