If your hardcover books have become the victims of mildew, you probably find it difficult to even touch them, let alone read them. Mildew forms when books are kept in a damp, humid environment where mould spores commonly form, but you can restore your beloved hardcovers to their crisp, former glory by gently removing the mould in the correct manner. The sooner you deal with the problem, the more damage you can prevent.
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Things you need
- Electric fan
- Disinfectant spray
- 2 soft cloths
- Rubbish bin
Place your book outside in the warm sun to dry. To effectively eliminate mildew, you will need to remove the moisture and kill the remaining mould spores. Leave the book in direct sunlight for about 10 to 12 hours. If your hardcover book contains a jacket, remove it from the book and allow it to sit separately in the sunlight, fully unfolded.
Dry the inside pages. Though sunlight will remove dampness from the surface of the book, you will have a more difficult time drying the individual pages. A report from the University of Missouri recommends sprinkling talcum powder along the damp pages. The powder will absorb the moisture and dry the inside of your book.
Wipe away the stray mildew particles with a dry cloth. Gently wipe the jacket, the cover and the pages while holding the book over a rubbish bin or trash bag.
Wipe the cover of the book with a wet, soapy cloth. Any mild dishwashing soap or detergent will suffice. Scrub the front cover, back cover, inside covers and spine, but avoid contact with the pages.
Dry the book thoroughly. Pat the covers with a soft cloth to remove surface moisture and place the book in direct sunlight to remove any additional moisture.
Even after you eliminate the primary problem, you may still notice a musky odour that remains. To remove the smell, Littera Scripta recommends that you stand the book in front of a fan with the pages open. Spray a scented disinfectant spray toward the pages from behind the fan. The spray will waft gently onto the pages of the book without over-saturating it.
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