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How to Clean and Maintain Your Books So It Lasts Forever

Closet Storage Ideas | Helping Hands Cleaning Services

Stephen King mentioned in his memoir that “books are portable magic.” A lot of book lovers will agree. After all, there’s nothing quite like finding a good title and immersing yourself in its pages.

That magic can disappear though if you’re not careful. Books do suffer from wear and tear too. Especially if you love to re-read your favorites. It’s why you should also pay attention to your books the same way you do your house cleaning. After all, you don’t want to take your favorite book down from the shelf and find it covered with mildew. Or worse, that insects or rats have feasted on it.

Here’s how to clean and maintain your books so they will last for a long time.

Store Your Books the Right Way

It’s best practice to store your books upright. Group them according to their length and size. It’s easier on the eyes. It also maximizes space. You should always use bookends so they won’t slump over. Slumping causes the book to become deformed. It could also lead to creases on the cover.

Coffee table books and hardcovers are trickier to store because of their larger size. It would be nice if your shelves can accommodate the extra heft. If not, your best option is to place them flat on the shelf. It ensures the spine gets support. Since hardbound books are heavier, the spine can weaken. It will separate from the cover if they’re stored upright.

Keep Books Away from Direct Sunlight

Books might shine a light on new ideas but they don’t do well with bright light. It’s why you should never place your book collection in direct sunlight. The sun’s UV rays can do a number on them. Their pages will turn yellow. Love the intense colors of the book cover? Yeah, that will become discolored or fade under the sun.

The best place for your books is away from the windows. If you have large windows or limited space, find a way to lessen the effects of the sun. You can place curtains on the window. You can also install a darker film on the glass.

Check the Temperature

Many people store their prized book volumes in their garages, attic, or basements. It does keep your collection safe from prying eyes and hands. But you’re destroying your books. It’s because of the harsh temperature conditions of these places.

Books are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Attics and garages can be too hot. The basement is too damp. You want to put your books in a room with a stable temperature. The rule of thumb is if you’re comfortable in the room then your books will be too.

Space is always a problem in most households. You might have no choice but to store those precious volumes in the basement or attic. But make sure you stabilize the temperature. Invest in a humidifier for dry rooms. A dehumidifier is best for damp and sticky spaces.

Poor air quality can also damage books. Too much sulfur or nitrogen in the air speeds up deterioration. You can invest in a good storage box to keep out these harmful elements. An air purifier is an effective and affordable alternative.

Give Your Books a Regular Dusting

Your books won’t be able to escape from dirt, dust, and other detritus. The bad news is dust is one of the biggest culprits in book damage. The dustier it is, the higher the chances of acidic components developing on the paper.

It’s best practice to dust your books once a week. You can use a regular duster for the job. A paintbrush with soft bristles will also work. So does gentle vacuuming. Here’s how you can do the job:

  • Get rid of the dust. You want to contain the dust while you’re cleaning the book. A microfiber cloth is good for this due to its electrostatic qualities. You can also use a vacuum but place a mesh fabric over the nozzle first. Cheesecloth is an ideal material. You want to lessen the intensity of the suction so the pages and bindings are not damaged.
  • Remove the dust jacket. Clean the cover and the bindings. You can then flip the volume on its spine. This will cause the dust between the pages to fall.
  • Get rid of smudges and stains. Nothing good comes from a dirty hand grabbing a book. Unless it’s a greasy hand grabbing a book. You can remove smudges caused by these offenders with an art gum eraser. Rub out the soil from the pages. But do this with a gentle hand.
  • Meanwhile, sprinkle some cornstarch on greasy spots. Place a paper towel on top and close the book. Put several more books over it for added weight. Leave it for a day. The cornstarch and towel will suck up the grease. Dust off the cornstarch.
  • Look for insect damage. Seeing a silverfish darting away from one book isn’t a good sign. Check the rest of the books. Place the volumes with insect damage in a sealed plastic bag. Place them in the freezer. Leave it for about a day. This will kill those pesky insects. Vacuum the entire bookshelf or area. You should also treat it with organic pesticides.

Keep Your Collections Clean

Everyone has a collection or two. Cleaning it on a regular basis can be a pain though. That’s why you need a company like Helping Hands Cleaning Services. We’ll take care of it for you. We’re among the top cleaning firms in the US. We specialize in keeping homes and commercial areas spotless. We also offer office cleaning and move-in move-out cleaning. We also do Covid 19 corona virus sanitizing. Why not give us a call at (630) 530-1324? You can also send us a message at Our well-trained and reliable team is waiting for your go-signal.

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