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Water wrecks books - here's how to dry a really wet book you want to rescue.

If you have a ton of soaked books from a flood call a commercial service.

A dried book will never be like new.

But at least you will be able to read it and use it.

Creative Commons by-nc-sa

Step 1: First Aid

  • Wet books are fragile, hold it flat with two hands and do not shake it.
  • Blot - do NOT rub - the wet pages with old tee shirts or cloth towels.
  • Careful blotting the cover as dye will transfer to your towel.
  • Stand the book up on an upside-down plastic mesh basket
  • Fan the cover and pages out in a warm, dry area
  • The plastic mesh helps air flow and supports the book
  • Sunlight and a fan will speed the drying
  • Allow a day or two to dry

Step 2: Cover and Flyleaf

Sometimes a hardcover book is so wet that the cover falls off.

This can actually be okay since it speeds the drying of the pages.

The cover has four parts: front and back cardboard covers, a cardboard back (spine) and a cloth covering.

You will see that the block of pages for older hardcover books has a mesh gauze glued to the back.

The mesh is then glued to the inside covers of the book - not to the spine.

Then heavy paper called a flyleaf or endleaf is glued over the mesh, and the inside of the cover, and to the first and last pages.

After the cover and pages are dry, use a flexible, water-based, craft glue like Aleene's Tacky Glue to glue all the pieces back together.

Step 3: Final Flattening

  • After drying the pages will be wrinkled and the covers may be bent
  • Put a wood board and 10 pounds (5 kilos) of weights on top
  • After a week or so, the book will be somewhat flatter
  • You can just store it flat on a book shelf under a pile of heavy books
  • If you are in a hurry just start using it without flattening it
Thank you so much! I was reading in the tub and I dropped my library book(Oops!).
reganbella
Omg how did you revive it ??? Pls help !! I'd appreciate it heaps<br>
I had a bunch of books (magazines really) that were caught in a flood during the ice storm in November. There were I lot of them and they aren't particularly valuable, so I followed a different procedure: -bake them in the oven for 20-30 minutes -remove them, flip through the pages to let the steam out -bake them again, flipped if I remembered -press them between two pieces of plywood, lined with aluminum foil, and held together with C-clamps. obviously, they didn't come out perfect, but they're still serviceable.
<p>wow!amzing thing u did! the things we do for our love of books.</p>
Great instructable! A good think to know, since I like to read in the bath tub!
so I'm not the only one! And here my mum was making it out like I was.... would have been extremely valuable to me a few months ago... the librarians weren't too happy that I dropped their book in a tub! It survived, but a few of the cover pages sticked.
The book I dropped in the tub was borrowed from a friend, I felt pretty bad.
Or just throw it in a freezer for a few days and it will be almost like it never got wet.
Thanks for the reminder, I meant to explain about this. Home freezing a completely soaked book is destructive.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=restoration+freeze+drying+documents+books&btnG=Search">Commercial water removal and restoration</a> companies uses <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeze_drying">vacuum freeze drying</a>. This causes the water to sublimate directly into a gas.<br/><br/>Just plain old home freezing causes heavy damage to sopping wet books. <br/><br/>Ice crystals expand and burst through pages and binding. Pages become welded together permanently and ink, glue and dies, spread through the book. <br/><br/>When it thaws, you have a pile of mush, perfect for <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Papier-Mache-Roast-Turkey-Pinata/">papier machie pinata</a>.<br/><br/>
most freezers have anti frost if you leave an open container in it, it will dry out.
This would also be a good way to antique a book for display or prop making. Nothing like wrinkly pages to make a book look old.

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