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18 Comments

  • Donna Pooley April 26, 2016 @ 7:59 am Reply

    I’ve found the best solution for removing ink from book pages is a Venus 605B Typ-E-Rase Eraser. It can still remove the print from the page if not careful, but it is great for erasing ink between the print and in the margins as it can be sharpened to a point. Unfortunately, this item is becoming difficult to find.

    • John Ison John Ison July 24, 2016 @ 8:24 am Reply

      Donna,

      Thanks for your suggestion. You are correct that these erasers are difficult to find though I did locate a limited number on Amazon.

      John

  • Ashley June 23, 2016 @ 2:17 pm Reply

    I have a grease stain on my hardback, how can I clean it off?

    • John Ison John Ison July 24, 2016 @ 7:52 am Reply

      Ashley,
      That’s a tough one since there’s a very good chance that you will remove some of the color from the cover along with the grease. I would suggest that you place some paper towel on the stain and weight it down for a few days. That may draw some of the grease out. If the stain is still objectionable, you could try gently working some diluted dishwashing liquid into the stained area. Since that could remove some of the color from the cover you might just be trading one problem for another. You should test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous place first. Along the bottom edge or inside the book where a bit of cover cloth is exposed would be good.
      I checked on line and found other suggestions like rubbing alcohol and auto brake cleaner but I’ve never tried them and they sound risky to me as there seems to be a good chance of further marring the cover.

      John

  • ashley September 4, 2016 @ 12:56 am Reply

    my book was bent and it left a mark how can I fix it

    • John Ison John Ison September 8, 2016 @ 3:47 pm Reply

      Hi Ashley,
      Can you give me more information? Was this a paperback or hard cover book? Was only the cover bent or did the entire book somehow get bowed? Was the mark you mentioned a line from folding or something else.

      Please let me know and I’ll see if I can help.

      John

  • Donna Hiestand September 20, 2016 @ 2:22 pm Reply

    I have a book that has a few blood spots at the bottom of a couple of pages from a nose bleed. Could you please tell me if there is something I can use to remove the spots. It was a new book.

    • John Ison John Ison September 28, 2016 @ 3:35 pm Reply

      Donna,

      Removing dried blood can be tricky so I’ve cribbed some information from the WikiHow website and copied it below. Since hydrogen peroxide can be strongly acidic, I recommend that you apply a small amount of baking soda to both sides of the pages after the hydrogen peroxide dries to help prevent future staining from the acid.

      Hope this helps …

      Erasing Blood Stains
      1
      Soak up as much blood as possible with a clean, dry cotton ball or a paper towel. If the stain is not your own blood, exercise caution and use gloves for this and all subsequent steps. Some bloodborne pathogens can remain infectious for days outside the body. Dispose of all soiled cleaning supplies with care.

      2
      Moisten a cotton ball with cold water and carefully dab at the stain just enough to wet the area. If possible, chill the water in a bowl with ice cubes. Never use warm or hot water to clean blood! If you do, the heat may set the stain and make it permanent.

      3
      Mop up the moistened stain with a dry cotton ball. Carefully dab the area until dry. Tamp gently up and down. Do not dab at a dry stain, as that may damage the paper.

      4
      Repeat steps 2-3 until blood fails to come off the paper onto the cotton ball. This will likely need to be done a few times. If the stain was fresh, this may be all that’s necessary to remove the stain. If the stain persists, go on to the next step.

      5
      Buy 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Repeat steps 2-3 using hydrogen peroxide instead of water. Repeat as necessary. Do not be tempted to use bleach on a blood stain! Bleach can break down the proteins found in blood, leaving behind an unsightly yellow mark.

  • Kathy December 4, 2016 @ 1:46 pm Reply

    Hi John ,
    I was happy to find your link. Perhaps you have a solution for me. I have an older hardback book with some water stain. The binding is the web/cloth type. I am using it for a project. I am going to use fabric paint to renew the binding. I need to clean it first. Do you think alcohol, nail polish remover, peroxide or vinegar would be good to use? I read in my research that alcohol may work. Thank you in advance.
    Kathy

    • John Ison John Ison December 12, 2016 @ 11:05 am Reply

      Kathy,

      I think your research is correct in that rubbing alcohol is the best as you are mainly interested in removing any oils that may cause your paint to not adhere well. Rubbing alcohol is only mildly acidic with a pH of 5.5. Both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are much more acidic and could potentially cause long-term damage to the binding.

      Just apply a bit of the alcohol to a clean cloth and gently rub the cover to remove any oils.

      John

  • Matt December 11, 2016 @ 2:49 pm Reply

    I spilled paint on my book. I don’t know what type it is, and it has dyed the page. Any advise?

  • John Ison John Ison December 12, 2016 @ 11:15 am Reply

    Matt,

    I’m sorry to say that I think you’re out of luck if the paint has caused extensive damage to the book. If it was some type of watercolor paint you may be able to blot some off with a damp cloth so the print is visible but if it’s an opaque paint there’s nothing I can think of that would help. If the book is important to you consider checking around for a used copy as a replacement.

    Good luck,

    John

  • Claudia Person January 2, 2017 @ 12:02 am Reply

    Dear Mr. Ison,

    I hope you can help me. I bought a set of Lord Randolph Churchill, 1906, sight unseen and I am trying to find out the cause of the vertical edges having what appears to be little tears?? or cuts?? or?? No signs of insect or anything of that nature. The boards are fine, the last half of the pages of these books have uncut edges, I can send pictures if that is possible.

    Thank you,
    Claudia Person

    • John Ison John Ison January 10, 2017 @ 11:42 am Reply

      Claudia,

      Thanks for sending the photos. They made it much easier to determine the cause of the edge damage to your books and I think we’re dealing with two related problems: acidic paper and loose bindings.

      A bit of background on acidic paper: Before the mid-19th century book paper was made from primarily cotton stock but manufacturers switched to wood-based stock because it was easier and cheaper to obtain. The manufacturing process allows acidic lignin from the wood to remain in the paper and books printed on that stock invariably become discolored and brittle as the acid destroys the paper. After pressure from librarians and others, manufactures began adding buffering agents to book paper in the early 1980s and life of books was greatly lengthened.

      The books you are dealing with were published around 1906 and the photos show edge damage caused by brittle paper being broken due to normal handling. As a reader would turn a page, the weakened paper would simply break due to lack of flexibility. There is nothing you can do to reverse the damage.

      I also suspect that the bindings on your books have become loose over time and that has allowed some sections of pages to protrude more than others which has resulted in some groups of pages showing much more damage than others.

      I’m sorry I don’t have better news about your books, but to extend their life as much as possible, you will need to limit handling and be as gentle as possible with them.

      John

  • Sheral February 16, 2017 @ 12:47 am Reply

    How to get rid of cooking oil from books

  • John Ison John Ison February 16, 2017 @ 2:13 pm Reply

    Hi Sheral,

    Good question — but not one with a sure-fire answer. My best suggestion would be to follow a procedure similar to what is outlined in this post for removing crayon markings. That is, place paper towel on each side of the page with the oil and warm it a bit with an iron. It’s likely that the oil has moved into multiple pages so you’ll need to interleave the towel between all affected pages. You can probably safely warm several pages at once to speed things along a bit. Keep moving all sheets to fresh areas as each becomes soaked with the oil and eventually you should get all you can.

    The pages will still show the oil spots but at least you will have stopped further damage.

    Good luck,

    John

  • Steve Oliver March 27, 2017 @ 5:02 pm Reply

    Greetings John,

    I have a hardback book/manual that has a name printed in black marker on the inside pasted down portion of the front flyleaf. To add, the flyleaf is a yellow-orange in color. Is there any hope for removal?

    Thanks,
    Steve O.

    • John Ison John Ison March 31, 2017 @ 7:28 am Reply

      Steve,

      Pelikan (pelikan.com) produces an ink eradicator that could possibly remove the marker. Without testing it’s not possible to say if that would also remove the color from the paper. If your objective is to remove the name without regard to whether or not the yellow-orange is changed you might give it a try.

      Other than that, I think removal is not possible and you might simply obliterate the name with a marker or cover it with an opaque tape.

      John

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