Introduction: Rescue Wet Books

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.

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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