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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Smoke Damaged Books

7/22/2022 (Permalink)

Two books sitting on a table with smoke billowing out of them Smoke damaged books

Do you have smoke damaged books after a fire? Can they be saved? Yes, it is possible, with some time and care. If you decide to attempt to clean up the books yourself, we have supplied a list below to help you with the process:

Book Covers:

  1. In a small bowl mix warm water and a small amount of detergent.
  2. Slightly dampen a soft cloth or sponge.
  3. Being careful not to scrub, gently wipe soot from the book covers.
  4. Immediately wipe dry with a clean, dry, soft cloth.
  5. Allow the book cover to dry completely.
  6. The book cover may dull after being cleaned. If this happens, apply a very light layer of oil-based furniture polish

Book Pages:

Cleaning book pages will depend on the level of damage. It is important to never introduce moisture to the pages as it will make the process more difficult.

  • Slight damage: use a dry sponge to gently wipe off the soot.
  • Moderate damage: use an art gum eraser to rub the edges of the pages. If this is not working, use a hard, rubber eraser.
  • Persistent damage: use a clamp to hold the pages shut and use a piece of sandpaper to gently remove the smoke damage. Move slowly and evenly to avoid waves in the pages. Using a dry sponge wipe away any dust from the sanding. 

Remove Smoke Odor:

  1. Fill a plate or bowl with either baking soda, fresh coffee grounds, activated charcoal, or white vinegar and place it in a box or bag. Place the books next to the plate or bowl and close the box or bag.
  2. Let it sit for several hours or overnight.
  3. Remove the odor absorber and if the smoke smell has not fully disappeared, repeat the process using a fresh odor absorber.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the post fire clean up process contact us, SERVPRO of East Charlotte is Here to Help®!

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