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Topic: What is the best way to clean books?

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Subject: What is the best way to clean books?
Date Posted: 4/18/2009 3:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2009
Posts: 1
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What is the best way to clean the cover of both PB and HC books? I have a ton of them going out Monday and a few have been on bookshelves (in real life) for a long time and have become dusty. Now mind you, not "dirty" just finger prints and dust from setting unread for a long time. I remember some time ago seeing a librarian clean a book once with what looked like petroleum jelly like substance. Does anybody know what I'm talking about or do you have any helpful tips you can pass along?


Thanks, Tonya G.

Date Posted: 4/18/2009 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 2,800
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If it is just dust, you might try blowing it off with pressurized air to get rid of the dust.

I've gotten sticky stuff off of my daughter's board books with a baby wipe before (no, I don't post those). I don't know if that would make a book unpostable here, though, due to exposure to moisture.

Susan V.

Date Posted: 4/18/2009 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 11,171
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If they are dusty, you can vacuum them ... if you have a hose attachment to your vacuum. I do it all the time.

You can clean the covers with a damp (not wet cloth), and make sure you dry them off right after you wipe them. I also do that all the time without causing any harm to the books. Make sure you don't let water get on the pages, ad make sure that there aren't any rips or worn spots on the cover that will absorb the water.  If the covers you clean this way are the shiny kind, not the paperish kind it should be just fine. I also use glasses wipes -- the kind with alcohol in them, it evaporates in a snap.

Books with water damage are not postable here ... but if you can clean a book without damaging it, that's perfectly OK.


Date Posted: 4/20/2009 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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If the book is just dusty, a damp wipe would do but if it is stubborn mark or sticker residual , I clean my book covers with rubbing alcohol (damp and not wet). I always make sure to use a dry wipe and go over it again afterwards, just in case.