How to Deep Clean your Books

Even though the information is currently available through electronic means such as the internet, books continue to play a very important role in libraries and on the shelves in the homes of all those who love reading and love books.
Which is necessary to fulfill the essential function of conserving them. This function requires a series of care to extend its useful life and allow the person who consults it to get the most out of them.
Taking into account that the books are made with materials of natural origin and that they deteriorate when exposed to various factors.
From the moment a book leaves a publishing house, it goes through a binding process; a chemical composition in its inks, and a certain quality in the paper, factors that will contribute to postponing its deterioration.
Paper is an organic and perishable material, coming from wood that requires oxygen and a suitable temperature to stay in good condition.
We can improve the durability of books, controlling and improving the environmental and natural conditions of the place where they are. In addition to applying preventive measures.


1. Biological Factors. Which have a greater presence in places with a tropical climate where heat and humidity favor the development of different types of organisms that feed, lodge, or nest on paper. The most visible are the mice, which search the piles of paper for their food and the necessary heat to nest, destroying the leaves and the pastes of the books. Another type of organism is bibliophagous insects, that is, those that feed on the cellulose of the paper, such as moths, cockroaches, termites among others; finally there are the microorganisms that make the paper more fragile and spongy and even stain it.

2. Physical Factors. Direct sunlight, heat, and humidity. These factors can also generate reactions in the chemical substances of the paper and inks, which we can perceive in the deformations, such as swelling or folds, and discolorations such as yellow tones on the sheets, or rust spots due to the iron of the ink. Or in some cases, by staples that hold the sheets. As well as dryness and accelerated aging of the paper among other damages, physical factors often also favor the appearance of biological agents.

3. Chemical factors. Chemicals used in papermaking can react with other agents in the environment such as hydrocarbon combustion gases from automobiles or factories. The iron in the inks also generates chemical reactions that alter the acidity or alkalinity of the paper, derived from the above, cellulose, the main component of paper, degrades slowly causing changes in its color and weakness in the resistance of its fibers.

4. Human Factors. The constant use or improper handling of books causes damage to their structure and materials, accidental falls of the book and rough handling can break the spine, the pastes, or cause them to be unbound. Another damage occurs when you consult a book without washing your hands. When staining it with grease and dirt, and even worse when looking at it, the fingertip is moistened and with it, the paper is also moistened.
Another harmful practice and unfortunately very common among some users is to scratch, fold, wrinkle and even tear the pages of the books, in some cases, spacers or inappropriate objects are used to mark a page which can stain or deform a book, too they deteriorate when placed horizontally, m diagonally, stacked, or squeezed onto the shelf, which forces the person to pull them hard by the spine.

To prevent the deterioration of the books there are three fundamental measures:

1. The maintenance of the place.

Cleaning the floors of walls and ceilings is essential, with them, dust, humidity, cobwebs, and animal nests are prevented. The maintenance and safety of electrical installations are no less important. This way we will avoid short circuits and overloads that can lead to fires.

An adequate level of humidity for a library ranges from 40% to 55% and the temperature conducive to the conservation of books is between 18º and 22º Celsius, in this way we will avoid dehydration or drying of the paper, as well as the mold growth, stains, and rust on book pages.

It is also important to properly ventilate the place to avoid the formation of fungi and animal nests. In the case of books and shelves, a general cleaning must be done to avoid the presence of microorganisms, rodents, or insects and, of course, the oxidation of the metal shelves. A deep cleaning will prevent the formation of fungi and bacteria.

2. The good use and handling of books

It is important to maintain continuous surveillance in the reading rooms, the frequent organization of guided tours helps to keep the library alive. All this helps to avoid or at least reduce premature deterioration in books such as breakage, unbound, scratches, theft, and abuse.

3. Cleaning the books and shelves.

Cleaning the books is an activity that must be carried out with the utmost care to avoid their deterioration, before carrying out any cleaning activity it is advisable to use a gown, latex gloves, and mouth covers. To deep clean the books a dry brush is used, a flannel, and a bowl of water. The flannel is moistened and placed on the table to retain dust. With the brush, the edges, pastes, and spines of the closed book are shaken. This way the dust will fall on the flannel and prevent its dispersion, the dust inside the book is eliminated by aerating the sheets that is, passing them, quickly from one side to the other with the book in the direction of the wet flannel two or three times with each book.

Finally, when closing it, the dust is cleaned from the edges and the spine.

Once empty, the bookshelf should also receive a good cleaning with a damp flannel to remove the dust and wait for it to dry before putting the books back in, when the shelves are clean we should take the opportunity to check their condition. It is advisable to carry out this detailed cleaning at least every 3 months, remember that the dusters and the vacuum cleaner only move the dust from one place to another so it is not advisable to use them when this cleaning is done.

So now you know how to perform a professional and detailed cleaning of your bookshelf or library with a good selection of books, which can take a long time if you are looking to reduce your time, that is why at Gomez cleaning service we offer you our professional cleaning team, take care of yours and leave us the hard work.

Leave comment

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Sign up to receive cleaning news and updates!