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How to Clean Hardback Books

Updated February 21, 2017

Step 1

Wipe down the book with a lint-free tea towel, cut-up T-shirt or electrostatic cloth. These cloth types help you to remove lint and debris from the book, leaving the surface prepared for further cleaning. Refrain from using cloths containing cleaning substances, as these could harm hardback books.

Step 2

Brush the spine, edges and any stamping and embossing on the cover with gentle strokes from a small toothbrush to remove dirt and debris. Avoid using a used toothbrush for cleaning books and use only those with soft bristles.

Step 3

Rub an artgum eraser on smudges, pencil marks, crayon marks or other areas of dirt that can be gently rubbed away. Wear disposable gloves while using erasers. Blow or brush the eraser shavings out of the book with a small, soft toothbrush.

Step 4

Rub dirtier areas with the dry-cleaning soot sponge. The sponge is intended to use dry, as it wipes away markings on paper, some rings on book covers, soot, mold and pet hairs. Perfect for smoke-filled books, soot sponges are nongreasy and work well for delicate fabric book covers and paper.

Step 5

Dab a cloth into a book-cleaning gel and lightly work it over the area you intend to clean. Petroleum-based gels work best to reveal areas hidden by grime, dirt and film. Use book-cleaning gels on either paper or the hardback cover according to instructions on the jar.

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Things Needed

  • Light-colored tea towels, cut-up T-shirts or electrostatic cloths
  • Small, soft toothbrush
  • Artgum eraser
  • Disposable gloves
  • Dry-cleaning soot sponge
  • Book-cleaning gel

About the Author

As a former elementary school teacher, Cheryl Starr now writes full-time from Missouri. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including "Teachers of Vision," "Insight" and "Highlights." She is currently writing a novel and a devotional book. Starr studied elementary education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.