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how to clean and preserve old leather books

How to Clean and Preserve Old Leather Books

The first step in the process is to remove all dust from the book. Visible dirt can cause the binding and paper of the book to degrade, and it can also attract insects. Before cleaning the book, remove the dust jacket and hold it upright. Use a soft-bristled vacuum hose attachment to remove dust and loose dirt from the top edge. A soft cloth is also useful for cleaning loose dirt from the pages. Avoid using scented or dyed cloths, as these chemicals can alter the quality of the book.

Pentel eraser

Pentel erasers are specially designed to remove lead markings without damaging the paper. They are also able to remove dust without leaving any stains. The eraser also does not crack or break with age. This makes it perfect for old leather books. But before you start cleaning your book, you should first list the tasks you want to complete.

First, remove the dust jacket from your book. Next, use a soft paintbrush or unused soft toothbrush to clean between the pages. You can also use a cloth, but make sure it’s not scented. For the inner pages, use a brush with long bristles. You can also use a vacuum to collect dust from the cover and binding.


Leather books are very fragile, so it’s essential to clean them properly to ensure that they remain in good condition for years to come. Luckily, there are a few products you can use to clean and preserve your old leather books. A good cleaning solution will contain ingredients that are gentle on the leather but still effective.

First, you should remove any dust or visible dirt. Dirt attracts insects and degrades the book’s paper and binding. To remove dust, remove the dust jacket and turn the book over. A soft-bristle attachment to a vacuum cleaner will help remove dust from the top edge of the book. You can also use a soft cloth to remove any loose dirt on delicate pages. Make sure to use a cloth without dye or scent.

Mylar jacket

Using a Mylar jacket on a leather book is a great way to protect it from moisture and dust. The Mylar jacket also helps maintain the original color of the book. If you want to restore the leather, you can use a leather restorer with silicon, petroleum, or cellulose ethers. You can also use a chemical sponge to clean the textblocks.

One of the benefits of using a mylar jacket is that it can be easily cleaned. You can also use rubbing alcohol on a cloth to clean it. This will help protect the book and reduce the need for repairs, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Acid-free tape

It’s important to use acid-free tape when cleaning and preserving old leather books. The leather on a book can be easily rubbed off when you hold it. It can also suffer from deterioration if you use rubber bands to secure the cover. Also, when you’re repairing tears in an old book, you should use acid-free tape to fix the tears. Ordinary tape may turn yellow over time.

You can get single-stitched binder tape at most craft stores. You can also use a non-acid adhesive. Rubber bands and waxed paper are also good options. You can even use them as bookmarks. One key thing to remember when using tape is that the text block is almost always shorter than the cover.

Leather dressing

Leather bindings can be cleaned with an oil-based dressing. This treatment can delay the deterioration of heavily used bindings, while also adding flexibility. Several methods have been developed, including neatsfoot oil and lanolin. However, few writers have explored the lubricating effect on bindings.

If you have a leather book that has turned powdery, avoid handling it until the leather has recovered. This condition is called ‘Red Rot’ and can damage the binding. It is best to take the book to a restorer for further restoration. During this process, you can still save the remaining cover of the book. However, do not use leather dressings on books that have red rot. It may damage the binding and end papers. During this process, it is important to protect the binding from heat vents and harmful humidity.

Before applying a book treatment, the leather bound book should be cleaned and dusted thoroughly. For this, a small brush made of horsehair or a lint-free rag will work well. The book’s spine and back should be wiped as well.

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