When your book has accidentally come into contact with water, your next worry is how to fix them. In this article, we will focus on how you can fix water damaged books. In most cases, water damaged books with minor damage can be easily recovered through air drying. Well, this may take you a few hours but it depends on the degree to which the books have been saturated with water.
Those that have been severely damaged the drying process may last as long as a week. Keep in mind that you will experience some degree of physical distortion and stain on the books after air drying them. After deciding to air dry your books in the house, the first step should be sorting the books, according to the degree of damage caused by water. This can be done using the following criteria:
Fix thoroughly soaked books.
These are books that have been submerged in water or standing beneath running water. These books will require thorough individual attention when air drying them. In case you fall short of time and it is not possible to offer individual attention, you should consider freezing them for later treatment. This should also be done when fixing large quantities of water damaged books. The following methods can be used in fixing wet books.
This can be done when fixing 500 wet books or less, which are non-coated paper books with non-water soluble components. Ensure you do not open the books, fan pages or remove bindings since this will prevent tearing. You should also cover the drying surface with plastic sheets and absorbent paper. This will aid in drying the books quickly.
Take a soaked book and stand it on end. This will let water drain. If the book cover dyes are bleeding, then put a paper towel or aluminum foil between the covers and the text-block. This will prevent color bleeding. Keep changing the paper beneath the books and paper towels as soon as they become saturated. Keep the air circulating by using fans. Ensure you don’t aim fans directly at the wet books. Allow the books to drain water until they are wet books.
Freezing and Freeze-drying
When you have drained all the water the next step should be freezing the wet books. This will stabilize them and prevent mold growth. It will also provide you with time to determine a course of action to take. You should freeze your books to -15 to -20 degrees F to minimize damage from ice crystals. After your books are frozen, it is best to dry your books using a vacuum freeze-drying method. This ensures that water from the damaged books sublimates. This minimizes the damage from inks and dyes running, boards warping and paper cockling.
Fix partially wet books
This can be done by air drying. The process and layout done on thoroughly wet books should be followed. The only difference is that you should open a book to a shallow angle and interleave just about every 30 pages with paper towels. Here is how to start. Lay the books flat and interleave at the book’s front, letting the work surface for supporting the main weight. Once the interleaving reaches the textblock’s center turn over the book and from the back begin interleaving. Slightly fan the books and change paper below the books and interleave on an hourly basis until the book is just damp. After which you should proceed to the next step.
Fix damp books
Under this, you should cover the drying surface with plastic sheeting and absorbent paper. Stand the damp books on end and keep fanning slightly. In case the cover is damper than the text, you should place an absorbent paper between the cover and the other pages. Keep the fans running to circulate air until the books fully dry.