How to Repair a Paperback Book That Got Wet

Updated April 17, 2017
waterlogged book image by Joseph Chiapputo from

Books are a valuable commodity, not just for the information they contain but for their rarity and quality of craftsmanship. Water damage is common to books and can cause irreversible damage. If the wet book is collected quickly enough, it can be saved from serious water damage with a few steps and the right technique.

Freeze the book as soon as possible. Place the wet book in a plastic bag and place it in a freezer, spine side down, supported so it will not tip over. Online resources indicate the optimal temperature is -15 degrees Fahrenheit, but a conventional freezer will do in a pinch. Leave the book in the freezer overnight.

Open the cover and dry it with a hair dryer. Move the dryer across the surface of the cover, top to bottom and side to side, inside and out.

Dry the first page with the hair dryer using the same technique.

Continue to the next page when the first page is completely dry, using the same technique.

Stop drying, return the book to the plastic bag, and place the bag in the freezer when the rest of the book starts to thaw. You can begin again once the remaining wet pages have frozen again.

Dry each page individually with a hair dryer, placing the book in a plastic bag and returning it to the freezer when the rest of the book begins to thaw.

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  • Freezing the book while it is still wet prevents further damage by stopping the water from dissolving the paper. Keep the book frozen at all times except the portion you are drying.

Things Needed

  • Wet paperback book
  • Freezer
  • Plastic bag
  • Hair dryer
  • Bookmark

About the Author

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