How to clean and refurbish your books

A home library doesn’t have to be a wood-panelled room lined with oak shelves; it’s simply a collection of books. And whether books are shelved in a particular room or stacked haphazardly in a number of bookcases around your home, they must be cleaned. Keep your tomes in best-selling shape and you’ll have them forever.

Dry a damp book 

Simply fan out the pages and sprinkle on cornflour or talcum powder to soak up the moisture. Let it sit for 5–6 hours and then brush off the remaining white stuff. 

Banish insects that reside in books 

Place an infested book in a plastic bag and pop it into the freezer for a day or two to kill off the insects and their larvae.

Mold and Meldew

Wipe away mould on mildewed pages Use a cloth that’s been barely moistened with a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 8 parts water. To dry, open the book to the affected pages and place it in the sun; let it sunbathe for no more than half an hour or the paper will fade and yellow.

Dust with a paintbrush

With a clean dry paintbrush you can dust one book at a time, brushing the covers and the outer edges of the pages.

(Dusting a shelf of books with a feather duster will only redistribute most of the dust onto the other books.)