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How To Fix A Water Damaged Book


If you have a book that has accidentally damaged by water, soaked, wet or damp, don’t worry. There is an inexpensive way of fixing your water damaged book. It might take some time and require a lot of patience and care but following these steps can help you from losing your book.  

A friendly reminder: This article is for informational purposes only. Superior Restoration does not provide services that concern water-damaged books. However, if you need assistance with water damage restoration services for your home or building, we can surely help you. 

What Types of Books Can You Fix

A variety of books can be restored easily with just air-drying. But, if the book that has been damaged by water is rare and valuable in terms of size, materials, and others, it would be best to bring it to professionals. They have special equipment and technique to thoroughly restore your water damaged books.

First Step: Preparing the Area

 The most perfect environment in drying water-damaged books is a place that is well-ventilated and has a low level of humidity. It doesn’t only help in drying the book faster but it also prevents mold to grow in the area. Moreover, a few simple materials are needed to completely dry your water damaged book.

  • A large-spaced table
  • Absorbent material such as parchment paper or paper towels
  • tin foil
  • One or more fans

Fixing a Water Damaged Book

Before you begin restoring water damaged book, know the water that has caused damage to the books. If flood water or black water has damaged your book, make sure to wear a pair of gloves. Flood water or black water contains contaminants that are harmful to humans when exposed or ingested. 

Let’s assume that your water damaged book is wet. Now, let’s begin drying out soaking wet books.

  • If your book has been damaged by contaminated water, let it run in clean water. Hold the book shut and tightly. Just shake it gently to remove excess water.
  • Bring it to the drying area and let it closed. Opening the book may tear the pages. 
  • Stand the water damaged book on the end (place paper towels underneath to absorb the water) and allow water to drain downwards. Do not fan the book yet. Doing so will allow the water to wick into other surfaces. Keep it stand for about 30 minutes.
  •  Insert the absorbent materials between the text block (the internal pages of the book) and the covers. If there is bleeding, use tin foil sheets and do the same.
  • Replace the absorbent materials, as well as the material used under the book, when they become saturated.
  • Keep air circulating by turning on the fans. Do not aim the fans directly at the water-damaged books. Check the book from time to time.

After doing the steps above, your water damaged book is now a “wet book”.

Drying a Wet Book

At this point, it is not safe to separate every single page, but it can be safe, to begin with the interleaving process.

  • Open the cover of the book and replace the absorbent materials inserted between the cover and the text block.
  • Place the absorbent material in approximately 20 pages in a single section. Do not place too many drying media on every page because it could damage the spine of the book. You can lay the book flat to properly absorb moisture.
  • Replace the absorbent materials every hour. To make sure that the book dries out evenly, do not place paper towels or your drying media on the exact pages each time. 
  • Don’t forget to change the absorbent materials underneath the book each time you do the interleaving process.
  • Keep the fans on to help in circulating the air. Using a dehumidifier can greatly help if the environment is too humid. Do this until the book is considered damp.

Drying Out Damp Book

At this point, your book neither saturated nor wet. The pages inside are a little bit damp, but you can easily separate every single page. Stand the book on its end and gently fan the pages.  Keep the fans on to properly circulate the air and to completely dry out the book. 

The Last Step of Drying Water Damaged Book

This is at the point when all the pages are almost dry. But, the covers are the hardest ones to dry out. So, place absorbent materials between the cover and text block. Line up everything in its proper place. Then, place something on top of it. Placing something on top of the book can help to flatten it. But, never use another type of book to place on top of it. Let it sit until it is perfectly dry. 

Fixing a water damaged book can be tricky but with some knowledge, skills, and patience, you can restore it without spending a lot of money. 


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