Simple Tips for Cleaning Books to Make Them Look and Smell Like New

Finding book bargains at yard sales or online can result in getting some stained, insect-infested, or foul-smelling items. Yet, the good news is that cleaning and rejuvenating books is simpler than expected, especially with this helpful guide. Knowing how to clean books goes beyond enhancing reading experiences, as it can save money, improve health, and even elevate profits from reselling.

Cleaning Books Can Be Simple

Cleaning Books Can Be Simple

Breathing new life into old books is practical. From treasures discovered at second-hand shops to cookbooks with food stains, restoration is within reach. Clean books hold value, enhancing financial gains at garage sales. Furthermore, maintaining clean books can promote respiratory health, averting potential bacteria, dust, and mold-related issues. Luckily, reviving books using everyday household items is straightforward.

Cleaning approaches vary depending on the type of dirt. Here’s how to address different issues:

Dust: Employ a dryer sheet. Its positively charged ions attract and repel dust, leaving a pleasant scent. Use a clean blush brush beforehand for heavily dusty books.

Odor: For musty odors, place books in an airtight container with baking soda. A few days later, remove and shake off excess baking soda. Adding essential oil to the baking soda infuses a refreshing scent.

Dirty or Stained Pages: Gently use fine-grit sandpaper in a circular motion for dried-up stains. On interior pages, a pencil eraser is effective.

Book Cleaning Approaches Vary

Book Cleaning Approaches Vary

When it comes to cleaning covers, it should be done based on the material.

Leather Covers: Use a microfiber cloth and leather cleaner to gently rub, removing marks while conditioning to prevent damage.

Cloth Covers: Smaller dirt stains can be buffed with a pencil eraser, while larger ones can be addressed with a damp cloth. Avoid using chemicals like soap or detergents.

Tackling Grease Splatters and Mold

For grease splatters in cookbooks, place a paper towel between pages, close the book, and weigh it down. After a few days, the paper towel will absorb the grease.

To address mold and mildew, vacuum loose spores or powder with a handheld vacuum and prepare a mix of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. Gently rub over mold spots with a microfiber cloth. Dry the areas with another cloth and leave the book in a dry space. Adding silica packets or rice nearby helps absorb excess moisture.

Book Cleaning Approaches Vary

Confronting Insects

Insects residing in books can be eliminated by isolating infested books to prevent spreading.

Use a handheld vacuum with a soft brush attachment to remove visible bugs, larvae, and eggs.

Freeze the books in zip-top bags for 48 hours to kill the remaining insects and eggs. Ensure books are dry before freezing to avoid moisture damage.

Knowing how to clean books is not just about restoration — it’s about preserving value, health, and the pleasure of reading.