It's International Literacy Day, and we're gonna talk about books!!! Everyone loves a great book collection, so much so that even after the advent of e-books and audiobooks, 32% of the American population exclusively read print books, 33%, both digital and print, and only 9% only read digital books. If you’re reading this article, you want to know the basics of bookshelf cleaning and care. We got you.
Proper maintenance and care are essential in preserving your book collection. This guide will help you with effective bookshelf cleaning and maintenance hacks to keep your literary treasures looking splendid for decades.
Our guide on book care tips will start with giving you a list of the tools you’ll need to provide your books the TLC they so desperately need. The necessary tools for cleaning your books and bookshelves are:
This is the first step in book maintenance. Start by carefully removing all your books from the bookshelf. Gently place them on the floor or any surface. Flip through the pages of each book to check for dust, dirt, or dead insects within each page. Place an old sheet or towel on the floor to catch all of it.
When you remove your books from the shelf, always treat your antique books with the utmost care to avoid damage. Keep them away from direct sunlight and moisture.
Dust is your enemy, as it can damage the covers and pages and make your books look terrible. With your soft brush, gently dust the pages of each book. If you want to use a vacuum cleaner instead, place a mesh fabric such as cheesecloth over the hose's nozzle. This reduces the suction and prevents damage to your book. Don’t forget to dust the cover or jacket of your book.
Wipe the book covers with a lightly damp microfiber towel until clean, then buff with a dry towel. You can also use an art gum eraser to gently rub smudges away from your paper- or cloth-back books.
For cleaning book covers or pages of your book that might have grease stains, sprinkle generously with cornstarch. Place a white paper towel over the cornstarch and weigh the book down with other books for about 24 hours. Dust or vacuum the cornstarch off the book. If the stain isn’t completely gone, repeat.
Use a mixture of saddle soap and water for stains on leather-bound books. Dampen a microfiber towel with this mixture to clean the leather. Buff dry with a dry microfiber towel.
Care for your books by keeping them away from food items, moisture, and direct sunlight, as these could damage the pages of your book. Clean the pages using the steps above if they accumulate dust, smudges, or stains.
To keep your bookshelf in a pristine condition, it needs regular dusting and organizing. Dusting should happen once a month, but this can be flexible depending on where you live. If you live on a farm or near a dirt road, you might have to dust your shelves more often. Shelf dusting shouldn’t be neglected as dust could weaken the wood of your bookshelf. You can also use a magic eraser to remove scuff marks on your bookshelf.
You should organize your bookshelf to boost its appearance and for easy access to your favorite books and authors. Organizing your bookshelf wouldn’t be much of a problem if everything had its place. Depending on the contents of your library, you could organize based on color. However, if your library contains several authors, series, or book genres, it’s best you organize it according to subjects.
To prevent your books from falling or leaning on each other, you could also use bookends to support them.
To do this requires that you follow some ground rules. They are:
Preserving rare books is an art that needs to be mastered by every antique book owner. Improper storage causes mildew growth, rapid deterioration, and aging of rare books. They need to be kept in good condition to keep up their value.
A clean and organized bookshelf will enhance the aesthetic of your bookshelf and allow for easy accessibility. Remember that to enable your books to last for a very long time, you need to keep them away from direct sunlight, moisture, heat, and excess pressure, as well as food and drink items of any kind. You also need to dust and inspect your books and bookshelves regularly.
Celebrate this International Literacy Day by implementing these book care tips in your library for a beautiful book collection. Don’t forget to share this knowledge with fellow book lovers.
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