Home and Garden
How To Dry a Wet Book
If not treated quickly, water can cause pages to tear, stick together, and even grow mold.Luckily, the world's librarians and record-keepers have developed several helpful techniques for drying wet books.If your book is completely soaked, moderately wet, or just slightly damp, it's possible to dry it out in a few days or weeks.If you want to get started, see Step 1 below.
Step 1: Excess water may be thrown from the book.
Depending on how wet the book is, the steps you take to dry it will be different.If your book is completely soaked, you'll want to remove as much water from the outside of the book as you can.If you want to remove liquid from the book, shake it gently.You can wipe the outside of the cover with a rag or paper towel.Don't open it yet.The pages will be very delicate if it's dripping wet.Remove the water that's on the outside of the book at this point.
Step 2: Place some paper towel sheets on the floor.
Next, lay down a few sheets of plain white absorbent paper towel in a dry area.Pick a place where the book won't be disturbed as it dries.This spot is outside if you live in a dry climate.Dew that forms in the morning can ruin any progress you've made, so you won't want to leave your book out overnight.Dry rags can be used if you don't have plain white paper towels.When wet, dyed paper towels can bleed color.
Step 3: The book should be upright.
Put your wet book on top of your paper towels and it will stand upright.It should be easy for hardcover books.Simply open the covers and allow your book to stand on its own.This can be difficult for paperbacks.If you have to, use bookends or weights to keep your book upright as it dries.
Step 4: There are paper towel sheets in the covers.
Take two paper towel sheets and put one inside each cover.The text block is the internal pages of the book.You shouldn't disturb the pages when you do this.The text block should be in a large mass.When the book dries, the pages can be crumpled.
Step 5: The book should be allowed to sit.
Allow the book to sit in its standing position if you have arranged all of your paper towels that way.The absorbent material of the paper towels should be able to pull out the water from the book.You can put dried sponges underneath the paper towels that the book is resting on to aid in absorption.
Step 6: The paper towels should be replaced as needed.
Every hour or so, check on the progress of your book.As the paper towels pull water out of the book, they'll become saturated, unable to hold any more liquid.If you notice that your paper towels are getting saturated, remove them and replace them with dry towels.If you're using a sponge, put it under the paper towels.Don't forget to keep an eye on your book.Within 24 to 48 hours, mold can start to grow on wet paper.Continue until the book no longer drips or leaves puddles, then pick it up."Drying Somewhat Wet Books" is the next thing you want to do.
Step 7: Paper towels should be placed every 30 pages.
If your book is dry and not dripping wet, it is safe to gently flip through the pages without damaging them.Place absorbent paper towel sheets between the pages of your book as you flip through it.Place paper towel sheets between the text block and the cover.It's possible to cause the spine of the book to bend backwards if you place too many paper towels in a book this way.If this becomes a problem, you may have to space your paper towels more widely.
Step 8: The book should be placed on its side.
Set the book down on its side to dry, rather than standing it upright, after you've finished laying paper towel sheets.The paper towel sheets should draw the water away from the inside of the book.The process can take some time, so be patient.To speed the process up, make sure your book is in a location where dry air can circulate continuously.A dehumidifier is a big help if you live in a humid climate.It's usually enough to open a few windows or turn on a fan.
Step 9: As needed, replace paper towels.
As it dries, you'll want to check on your book.If you notice that your paper towels are getting saturated with liquid, remove them and insert new towels every few pages.If you want the book to dry evenly, don't lay down paper towels between the pages.You should flip the book when you replace the paper towels.The pages can be "ruffling up" as they dry.
Step 10: As it dries, keep the book square.
They stiffen as paper and cardboard is dry.If your book is lying at a slanted angle as it dries, it can become permanently damaged.The book should be perfectly square as it dries.Heavy bookends or weights can be used to hold the edges of the book in place.Your paper towels will no longer become saturated once your book is dry.You will want to go to "Drying Slightly Damp Books" at this point.
Step 11: Stand the book upright.
Stand your book up vertically to dry it.This is easy if your book is hardbound, but difficult if you have a paperback.Heavy weights or bookends can be used to keep the book upright.Open the book with a moderate amount.The book should not fall over before proceeding.
Step 12: Go away from the pages.
If you don't open the book's cover, gently fan the pages out.If possible, arrange the pages so that there is a small gap between them.None of the pages should hang at a diagonal angle or flop against each other.
Step 13: There is dry air in the room.
When your book's pages are evenly fanned out, let it dry out in its upright position.To speed the drying process, make sure that the room is relatively dry.If the ambient air is humid, use a fan or a dehumidifier.Look at the edges of the book's pages closely if you use a fan or natural breeze.The movement of the air shouldn't cause the pages to flap in the wind, as this can cause them to be ruffled and puffed up when they dry.You should be patient here.It can take days or weeks for the book to dry completely.If you want to know how quickly you're making progress, check on your book frequently.
Step 14: To flatten, place under weight.
After you've allowed your book to dry, no more water should remain in its pages.Even if you follow the instructions carefully, the book won't sit completely flat once it's dry.The paper used for most books' pages is fragile and can warp and degrade as it dries, leaving the book with a "crumpled" appearance when it's finally dry.Thankfully, this can be fixed.Place a heavy weight on top of your dry book and allow it to sit for several days to a week.This can help reduce the "crumpled" effect that drying can cause.Make sure that your book's edges are square as it lays under the weight.Don't allow the weight to sit on top of the book in a way that makes it hard to read.
Step 15: Small books are hung over a fishing line.
While the methods above should work well for most books, small, thin paperbacks can be dried with a little less effort than the fanned pages method.If your paperback is very wet, dry it as you normally would until it reaches a point where it's just damp, and paper towels should no longer become saturated with water.At this point, string a fishing line, a thin wire, or a piece of string between two vertical surfaces and hang the book over it so it opens downward.If you are indoors, use a fan to circulate the air.The book should be dry in a few days.If you hang your paperback outside, don't let it stay out overnight.The book can be damaged by the morning Dew.Don't hang paperbacks that are wet.If the book is wet, the fishing line or wire can tear it under its own weight.
Step 16: There are separation sheets between the wet and dry pages.
When books with glossy pages become wet, the situation is more urgent than with ordinary books.If the pages are allowed to dry, the glossy coating can be dissolved and turned into a sticky substance.Place sheets of wax paper between the wet pages to separate them.As sheets become wet, remove and replace them.It's important to separate the wet and dry pages.If two wet pages are allowed to touch as they dry, they can become stuck together in such a way that even professionals can't fix them.Plain white paper towels will work if you don't have waxed paper handy.
Step 17: Remove sheets and fan them out to dry.
When the pages of the book are damp, it's a good idea to remove the separating sheets and stand them upright.Two bookends or heavy objects can be used to support it.The pages should be Fanned out to a width of 60.Allow the book to dry.If you can, open a window or use a fan to circulate the air around the book.Dehumidifiers can help if the air is humid.
Step 18: To prevent sticking, monitor frequently.
Even though the pages are now damp, there is still a risk that they will stick together.If you can, check the book once every half hour or so.Carefully read the book's pages.If you see any beginning to stick together, separate them and allow the book to dry.The book should dry out eventually.There may be unavoidable instances of pages sticking together.If you're using a fan, you won't want the book's pages to flutter in the moving air, as this can lead to a crumpled or ruffled appearance once it dries.
Step 19: The book should be frozen if it is short on time.
If you have a wet book with glossy pages on your hands and you don't have the time or materials to separate the pages at your disposal, do not sit the book.Place it in a freezer-safe plastic bag, seal it, and put it into the freezer.It won't do much to dry your book, but it will give you time to get everything you need.Before putting the book in the freezer, make sure to put it in a freezer bag.The book won't stick to the freezer or other objects if this is done.
Step 20: Allow frozen books to thaw slowly.
If you want to dry your frozen book, remove it from the freezer and put it in a room temperature bag.Allow the book to thaw slowly within its bag, and it can take from a few hours up to several days.Remove the book from the bag and dry it after the ice is completely melted.Don't put the book in the bag past the point that it thaws.Leaving your book in a damp area encourages mold growth.
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