Saving Damaged Books - Water and Fire (1 Viewer)

eske silver

In Disguise
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
251
Location
Oakland
How to Dry wet Books and Save them from Mold
DIY
  1. Air Drying Wet Books
  2. Blow Drying Wet Books
  3. Dealing with Mold Growth
  4. Additional Tips and Advice

~~~​

When books get wet, prompt action is the key to restoring them and bringing them back to life. There are professional services that will do the task for you, or you can dry the books out at home. It takes time and patience, but if you’re willing to put forth the effort, you can get the same results as the professionals. Here’s how to dry your books and remove any mold that may have started growing.

~~~​


Air Drying Wet Books

If you are starting with frozen books, allow them to come to room temperature before proceeding with the drying methods below.

You Will Need:
  • White paper towels and/or Non-printed newspaper
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Sponges
  • Electric fans
Steps to Dry Very Wet (Dripping) Books:
  1. Begin by covering the work area with plastic so the water does not damage it.
  2. On top of the plastic, spread out several layers of white paper towels or non-printed newspaper. These will be used to help absorb the moisture from the books.
  3. Keep the book closed so that pages will not become damaged.
  4. With the book closed, stand it up on edge on top of the absorbent paper.
  5. Place a sponge under one corner of the book to prop it up slightly. This will allow water to drain out of the bottom.
  6. Allow the book to stay propped up until no more water drips from it, and there is no water pooling on the pages when they are opened gently.
  7. Once the book reaches this point, you are ready to move onto the steps for drying a moderately wet book.
Steps to Dry Moderately Wet (wet, but not dripping) Books:
  1. At this point, it is safe to gently open the book.
  2. Cut the non-printed newspaper or paper towels so they are just slightly larger than the book.
  3. Open the front cover and place a paper towel or paper between the cover and the front page.
  4. Lift about ¼ inch stack of pages and insert another sheet of absorbent paper or a paper towel.
  5. Continue placing an absorbent paper or paper towel every quarter of an inch throughout the entire book.
  6. Place a final sheet between the last page and the back cover.
  7. Lay the book on top of some paper towels. Keep it lined up so that the binding does not lose its shape.
  8. Change the papers as needed.
  9. When you change the papers, insert dry sheets between new pages to allow for more water removal.
  10. Once the book is just damp, you can proceed to the steps for cleaning damp books.
Steps to Dry Damp Books:
  1. When books are just damp, they are not as fragile as wet books.
  2. Stand the book up and fan open the pages.
  3. The book should only be opened about 60 degrees so that the binding is not stretched.
  4. Keep fans running in the room, but not aimed directly at the book. You don’t want the pages to be flapping with the air movement.
  5. Allow the book to stay open until it is completely dried. This can take time, up to several weeks.
  6. Once completely dry, close the book and press it by laying several books or a brick on top. This will help to flatten out rippled pages.

Blow Drying Wet Books


This method is offered by a disaster recovery expert who claims it will provide professional results at home.

You Will Need:
  • Plastic Ziploc bags
  • Waxed paper
  • White paper towels and/or Non-printed newspaper
  • Blow dryer
  • Freezer
Steps to Blow Dry Wet Books:
  1. Pull out a sheet of waxed paper and wrap it in a “u” around the book. If there is no waxed paper available, place the book in a plastic bag.
  2. Place the book in a freezer. If it’s possible to have them commercially frozen, you will have better results, but home freezing will work.
  3. Once frozen, you can remove it when you’re ready to work. You’ll only work as long as the book is still frozen. Once it begins to thaw, you will return it to the freezer. (While you wait for it to refreeze, you can work on the next book if there is more than one.)
  4. Lay the book flat and turn on the blow dryer. Use the high heat and air settings.
  5. Keep the air moving around the cover. Work up and down and side to side.
  6. Lift the cover carefully and allow the air to flow inside. If any pages are stuck to the cover, gently loosen them so they don’t tear.
  7. When the cover is dry, move to the inside pages.
  8. Start with the first page, blowing air on it as you smooth it out with your hand.
  9. When the pages begin to feel wet when you touch them, the book is thawing and it’s time to refreeze.
  10. Place a blank sheet of paper to mark where you were and rewrap the book.
  11. Place it in the freezer and allow it to freeze again.
  12. Move onto a second book or wait for the first.
  13. When frozen again, remove it and begin working again, using the same drying methods as before.
  14. Keep working in short amounts until you have worked through the entire book.

Dealing with Mold Growth


You Will Need:

  • Spray bottle
  • 97-99% isopropyl alcohol
Steps to Remove Mold from Wet Books:
  1. Fill a spray bottle with the isopropyl alcohol. Normal rubbing alcohol is only 3% alcohol. To get these higher concentrations, see your drug store or pharmacy.
  2. Spray all areas of the book that have mold starting to grow. The book is already wet. The additional moisture will not cause more damage, but leaving the mold definitely will.
  3. Once you have sprayed all of the moldy areas, cover the book as described earlier and freeze. It is best to wrap these books several times and place them in well sealed bags. The taste of alcohol will be absorbed by the other foods in the freezer if left exposed.
  4. Once frozen, continue with the drying method described above.


Additional Tips and Advice
  • If you have a large number of books and don’t have time to get to them right away, keep them in the freezer (use the steps found in the blow drying section). This also applies if you are having them professionally cleaned. Freezing the books prevents further damage and mold growth until you or a professional are ready to dry them.
  • Run an electric dehumidifier in the room to help remove moisture from the air and speed up drying times.
  • If the pages are glossy, it requires a different cleaning method. The glossy pages are made from a clay that causes them to become sticky and adhere to each other. Placing waxed paper between the pages and freezing them immediately will help restore this successfully. Be prepared to put in extra time and effort on these glossy books.
  • Professional book restorers have access to chemicals and drying methods that may produce better results. If the book is valuable or you don’t have the time to dry it yourself, they will do it for you, for a fee. Be sure to keep the books frozen until they can come and assess the damage.
  • If there is dirt on the books, leave it alone until the book is dried. Once dry, most dirt will brush off. If you try to remove it while wet, it will just spread the mud around and cause a larger stain.
 
We sell all kinds of other stuff in our Etsy store!

eske silver

In Disguise
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
251
Location
Oakland
How to Clean Smoke/Fire Damaged Books
DIY

  1. Cleaning Smoke Damaged Covers
  2. Cleaning Smoke Damaged Pages
  3. Additional Tips and Advice
~~~​

When books become smoked damaged, there are a couple of common problem areas. The bindings and top typically receive the most build-up, because the rest are protected when stored on a bookshelf. When the pages become smoke damaged, there are a couple of steps that can be taken to remove the discoloration.

~~~​

Cleaning Smoke Damaged Covers

You Will Need:
  • Mild detergent
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Soft cloths
  • Oil based furniture polish
Steps to Clean Smoke Damaged Covers:
  1. Fill a small bowl or sink with warm water.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the water and mix well.
  3. Moisten a soft cloth or sponge with the soapy water.
  4. Wring it out well so it is only slightly damp.
  5. Gently wipe the soot from the covers of the book. Do not scrub the surface, or you risk damaging the cover.
  6. Wipe with a dry, soft cloth or sponge.
  7. Allow the book to air dry completely.
  8. If the cover has become dulled, apply a light layer of oil-based furniture polish. It may not make them look as shiny as the original, but it will help.

Cleaning Smoke Damaged Pages


You Will Need:

  • Sponge
  • Art gum eraser
  • Hard rubber eraser
  • C-clamps
  • Sandpaper
Steps to Remove Light Smoke Damage:
Light smoke damage can be wiped away.

  1. Use a dry sponge to gently wipe the edges of the book.
  2. Do not apply moisture as this will only make the stains more difficult to remove.
Steps to Remove Moderate Smoke Damage:
If the smoke damage cannot be wiped away, a more abrasive approach may be needed.

  1. Start with an art gum eraser. Hold the book firmly together as you rub the eraser along the edges.
  2. If the art gum eraser does not remove the damage, use a hard, rubber eraser. Again, rub it back and forth along the edges as you hold the book tightly shut with your other hand.
Steps to Remove Heavy Smoke Damage:
When the first methods prove unsuccessful, its time for the advanced methods.

  1. Hold the pages in the center of the book, and allow the covers to open to the sides, supported by a surface to keep them from opening too far.
  2. Use a clamp to hold the pages tightly shut. To prevent the clamp from damaging them, you may want to add some thin wood sheets or similar on either side to spread out the clamping pressure over a large area.
  3. Take a piece of fine sandpaper and gently rub it along the edges to remove the smoke damaged layer.
  4. Take your time and keep the strokes even to avoid causing waves in the pages.
  5. Use a dry sponge to remove any dust that was created during sanding.


Additional Tips and Advice
  • Some smoke damage may not be removable. In these cases, use a felt tip marker to color the edges of the book. This will cover up the stains. Craft stores sell a product called gilding that can be used to paint the edges gold, offering a more attractive way to cover up the damage.
 

Joni

Wanderer
Joined
Nov 8, 2013
Messages
179
Age
43
side note i recently saw how the library of congress er something freeze dehydrates water damaged bank records. basically dry ice and pulling a vacum. its pretty kewl and stuff comes out like it never happened. lots of info on youtube of course.

hope this helps..
-joni
 

eske silver

In Disguise
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
251
Location
Oakland
Nice! I'll check it out.
I've heard of freezing books before I've never done it.
Soooo many moldy books :(
 
K

kokomojoe

I deleted myself
As long as the books are still readable, why let the appearance bother you? However getting rid of mold is pretty useful stuff.
 

Joni

Wanderer
Joined
Nov 8, 2013
Messages
179
Age
43
As long as the books are still readable, why let the appearance bother you? However getting rid of mold is pretty useful stuff.
unfortunately a lot of books that i have gotten wet on the road or even damp have a tendency to stick together. darn cheap paper and ink :/ give me velum anyday.. gotta love cow lol.. so its advantageous to dry them as quickly as possible to prevent this from rendering the book useless. probably something to to do with the ink that on them acting as a glue er something as a guess?!?!? i played in a print shop as a kid and the ink was like a sticky tar when it was coming out of the cans. very kewl though. :D

hope this helps...
-joni
 
K

kokomojoe

I deleted myself
unfortunately a lot of books that i have gotten wet on the road or even damp have a tendency to stick together. darn cheap paper and ink :/ give me velum anyday.. gotta love cow lol.. so its advantageous to dry them as quickly as possible to prevent this from rendering the book useless. probably something to to do with the ink that on them acting as a glue er something as a guess?!?!? i played in a print shop as a kid and the ink was like a sticky tar when it was coming out of the cans. very kewl though. :D

hope this helps...
-joni
ahh well in that case it makes more sense. I need to remember to pack plastic bags or something waterproof when I start travelin
 

Users who are viewing this thread

About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Support StP!

Donations go towards paying our monthly server fees, adding new features to the website, and occasionally putting a burrito in Matt's mouth.

Total amount
$60.00
Goal
$100.00

Monthly Goals

  1. Paying the Bills
    $50.00 of $50.00 - reached!
    The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $60.00 of $75.00
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully his will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $60.00 of $100.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $60.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.