Despite the drive towards paperless offices, the fact remains that most are still full of paper files and books. While the files usually have a defined life after which they may be thrown away, books are things that are kept. But they are also susceptible to decay and damage and need to be looked after. You never know when you will need some information that is only in a book and not on your hard drive. While your domestic cleaning company will clean the bookshelves as part of their cleaning service, cleaning old and valuable books is something you should do yourself.
There are two steps to cleaning books.
Cleaning the Outside
Wipe the surface with clean paper or a soft dry cloth to remove any dust. Do not allow any dampness or chemicals to touch the paper as it may damage it irreparably. If the book has a glossy cover you can use a little window cleaning spray that is applied to a soft cloth that is then used to wipe the cover. Never spray the cleaner directly on to the cover. If the cover or the pages get damp, place the book in the sun to dry do not place it near a fire or use a hair dryer – these could damage the paper.
For leather bound books, place a little petroleum jelly to a soft cloth and apply it to the leather. Then use a dry soft cloth to rub it to a shine. Do not use any cleaning sprays or polishes on leather bound books not only could they damage this delicate leather, the spray or polish, if it gets on the pages, can damage the paper.
Cleaning the Inside
Use a piece of dry white bread to clean the edges of the pages. Keep the book closed and wipe around the sides of the pages with the bread which will absorb the dirt. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck the dirt out of the books. Be careful when doing this with old and fragile books as the suction force could tear the old paper or damage brittle covers. Do not use any sprays of liquids on the paper. If there are marks or stains on the pages, you can try either:
* Using a white vinyl eraser to rub at the stains – always rub from the inside to the out, being careful not to tear the paper.
* If it is a grease or oil stain, place a paper towel on the stain and close the book. Lay it flat with a weight on top of it. Leave it for a few days and then remove the paper towel which should have absorbed the grease.