Tips to keep books in perfect shape

Most people have some sort of library in their house — it doesn't have to be a wood-panelled room lined floor to ceiling with oak shelves; a library is simply a collection of books. And whether books are shelved in a room fit for a king or stacked haphazardly in a single pine bookcase, they must be cleaned and cared for. Keep your favourite hardcover and softcover tomes in best-selling shape and you'll have them forever. Here's how:

Tips to keep books in perfect shape

To dry a damp book

Fan out the pages and sprinkle on cornstarch or talcum powder to soak up the moisture. Let sit for five to six hours and then brush off the white stuff.

Get rid of insects residing in books

Place an infested book in a plastic bag and pop it into the freezer for a day or two. No more bugs or larvae.

To freshen up a musty-smelling volume

Pour some clean cat litter into a paper bag and keep the book in the bag for a week or so. Then remove the book and brush off any remaining litter.

For mildewed pages

Wipe away the mould with a cloth barely moistened with a solution of one part white vinegar to eight parts water. To dry, open the book to the affected pages and place it in the sun; let it sunbathe for no more than half an hour or the paper will fade and yellow.

To dust books

Use a clean, soft paintbrush to dust one book at a time, brushing the covers and the outer edges of the pages. Do not dust a shelf of books with a feather duster, which will only redistribute most of the dust on the volumes.

Books are treasures to keep for a lifetime. These easy tips will help you keep them in tip-top shape for years of reading enjoyment.

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