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Is there something I can put on my vintage fabric books to make them look brighter and healthier? Answered

Is there something I can put on my vintage fabric books to make them look brighter and healthier? I have some vintage books that I want to clean. I tried a damp wash cloth and it took off some of the color. I just want them to look brighter and cleaner.

Please only answer this if you have hands on experience with books. 


Anything you put on them to make them "look" brighter andhealthier will end up shortening the life of the fabric in the end.
It's a sad fact you'll have to deal with that the books were not takenvery good care of before; but now you need to do something to ensurethey at least deteriorate more slowly.
Place the books in a dry, cool place out of the sunlight.

Is there a wax or sealant that I could use?

Depending on how old your books are, you might be able to use a dry-cleaning agent (usually available at a fabricstore), following the directions carefully. Use no wax or sealant, just keep them away from what damages them(sunlight, heat, and humidity) and you will maximize their life.

Have you ever tried this....<br /><br />http://apps.webcreate.com/ecom/catalog/product_specific.cfm?ClientID=15&ProductID=23545<br /><br />Someone suggested it but hadn't tried it personally. <br /><br />I am repurposing some old book covers into new notebooks (journals) soas far as them being kept for as long as the time of man, I'm not tooworried. I just want them to look cleaner and brighter. Some of thecovers are faded. <br />

If you are not interested in preserving the book itself I'd try taking the book out of the covers and trying to dye the covers with fabric dye. I have taken some books with colored images on the fabric of the book and used colored felt tips do re-introduce color in areas where it has faded. This is most effective in small areas. Some of the books I have used this on had many small dots where, I guess, something was splashed or spilled on the book that faded the dye. I have no idea how this might effect the fabric or the book in the long run. I would not do this to a book that has much collector's valueas I am reasonably sure that any action such as this would seriously impact the value to a collector.

I'd suggest just giving up and making slipcovers for them. They probablycame with slipcovers in the beginning anyway, unless the binding isremarkably fancy.

I doubt that there much of anything you can do.  They look dull anddirty because they pick up dirt over the years but they also age. The fabric yellows and the dyes that make up the color fade and oxidizeover time.  If they are exposed to bright light they fadefaster.  The shine that was there when new has oxidized and is nowa dull finish rather than bright and shiny.