~ Damp Cloth Method vs. Scraping for Cleaning a Book Cover

I thought this video was going to be about scraping and color touch up again but turns out the damp cloth method worked very well. There are just a few notes on pens vs pencils to round it out.

~ How to Deodorize Smelly Books.

How to Deodorize Smelly Books and do it Safely.

This is simply the best product I have found so far to deodorize smelly books. It is cleaner than cat litter, baking soda and charcoal and less dangerous than freezing or microwaving your books. Any of the zeolite-based deodorizers can work well and you don’t need to immerse your book into them for it to work. Wikipedia on zeolites: “Zeolites are the aluminosilicate members of the family of microporous solids known as “molecular sieves.” The largest single use for zeolite is the global laundry detergent market. Non-clumping cat litter is often made of zeolite. ” However, cat litter or other granular materials that you set the book into can get caught up between the pages and cause tearing or staining and sometimes they have added fragrances you don’t want to add to your book. The technical stuff: How Smelleze Works

deodorize smelly books

Smelleze: Book Deodorizer

Baking soda

Baking soda, while slowly effective, has a ph of about 8 (alkaline). Typically people pour it onto the pages and no matter how much you brush and wipe it never really all comes out again. Because of the alkaline nature, the un-evenness of the distribution means that eventually the pages will age with a very mottled look. Setting the book on top of baking soda with a spun polyester fabric between them should be just fine. Still, baking soda may be messy but it is easily available. Better for a quick fix than waiting a week for your Smelleze order to arrive.


Charcoal is an ingredient in some book deodorizers and can be effective over time but on its own is again messy. No one is talking about charcoal briquettes by the way. Don’t use those to deodorize books especially the ones that have chemicals infused to make them easier to light!

Freezing or Microwaving

Freezing your books can ruin the glue attachment if it is a white PVA (poly vinyl acetate) glue. Microwaving can do the same thing. Heat re-activates the glue and this may be ok but you have to watch that the book doesn’t shift or the glue may dry in a different position and make the book crooked.

How to deodorize your smelly book

To start deodorizing your smelly books first get a plastic tub that can be closed. A picnic cooler works very well. (Be sure it is clean). Some books open easily so that both boards of the cover will be flat on the bottom of the tub as shown in this video. Others will not open fully and will need to be placed only on one side and then propped open. Both methods work fine.

Be sure the book is completely dry before using this method or you may be helping mold to grow! If there is any sign of mold, after it is dry, wipe the moldy area with Isopropyl Alcohol. 99% is the best to use because you don’t want to introduce moisture again. Using sunshine to help it dry is good because of the ultra-violet rays helping kill the mold but it will also drain color from books so be cautious.

How to Deodorize Smelly Books:

~ Book Box Repair: Don’t use tape

Book Box Repair:

This is a very short video looking at some of the problems of a book box from 1904. This box has been previously repaired with what is most likely document repair tape which is an archival solution that is limited in it’s appeal. For one thing it just looks like white tape has been applied. It doesn’t blend in. Also, it is not easily reversible. If it had been applied with paste and tissue it could easily be re-done. Another problem with the box is that the seller taped directly onto some printing in the inner lid and this caused damage that is hard to repair and was easy to avoid.

To see more in-depth videos on book box repair become a Save Your Books member.

~ Strengthen Inner Book Hinge

How to Strengthen an Inner Book Hinge

Strengthening the inner hinge of a book is something to do if the hinge is weak but not fully broken. First, if the end-sheets are illustrated you would want to use paste to put any pieces in place that are loose. After that, cut a strip of a thin Japanese tissue that is the same height and only slightly wider than the hinge are. Use an archival paste to put it in place and attach it thoroughly by rubbing it down with a folder. Kizukishi is only one example of a Japanese tissue that will work for this. There are others that are fine as well. The important thing is that it is so thin that you can see the illustration fairly well when you are done.

The page repair kit that we sell includes two different kinds of Japanese tissue that will work for a variety of repairs.

This is the YouTube video:

page repair kit

The materials and tools needed for archival page repair to repair the inner hinge of a book and more.