Can you dry a book inside a microwave safely or not? How about an oven? A toaster? Should you use a blow dryer or should you let it dry out in the sun? Keep on reading to find out.
So you dropped a book in the toilet or bathtub. Or maybe a leak from your ceiling or roof while it’s raining has soaked your mini library. Or maybe your home has gotten flooded and a forgotten book ended up underwater for a long time.
What should you do in order to dry the book? Should you just abandon the book in favor of buying a new one? Keep on reading to find out.
Can You Dry a Book in the Microwave?
Don’t put a book inside a microwave or conventional oven to dry. The heat can dry out the pages too much, thus warping the book or melting the glue used to bind the pages together. Microwave ovens in particular cook the book instead of drying it, which destroys your wet book instead of saves it.
The paper can also end up singed. While paper plates prove to be microwave-safe, cardboard covers and book paper might be composed of other types of pulp that aren’t as safe against microwaves when push comes to shove.
The Importance of Books Explained
Books hold not only information, stories, and knowledge. They also have sentimental value if they’re able to relate their words to a particular interest or personal experience of yours. However, sometimes tragedy will strike and your favorite books might end up sopping wet after a flood or leakage.
While others can order another copy of a destroyed book, other titles might no longer be available in stores or online. The damaged copy might hold a lot of monetary or sentimental value to boot.
Your Wet Book Isn’t Necessarily Lost Forever
You have many ways to save a wet book. Not necessarily baking it like a cake with a conventional oven, microwaving it like leftovers in a microwave oven, or toasting it like buttered bread, but other means should come available to you to ensure the book gets saved.
Even if the soaked pages have become completely soaked, stuck together, or incredibly weak you can restore the book yourself by following the steps outlined below. You can also avail of content cleaning professionals to restore such books the best they could.
How Do You Dry a Book Quickly?
Put paper towels on the book pages then press the book on a solid and covered surface. After the paper towels seem to stop absorbing moisture from the book, put the book upright. Fan out its pages. Allow the whole thing to dry for several days, particularly in an airy or well-lit spot.
You can further quicken the drying process by using hair dryers to gradually dry out the wetness. Fanning out your books keep the pages from sticking with each other until you can’t separate them anymore once dried out.
How Do You Save a Damp Book?
If a book ended up damp instead of soaking wet, the cover and pages should be a little stronger and can endure stronger methods of drying. Regardless, as you use your blow dryer on them, make sure to be gentle with your handling of the item as humanly possible.
Fanning the pages keeps them from sticking unto each other. Change the absorbent paper supply as required. Also use fans to circulate the air to dry the books faster.
How Do You Save a Soaking Wet Book?
Don’t lose hope that the book can’t be saved if it’s soaking wet. First and foremost, to save a soaking wet book shake out as much excess water as you can without turning the pages or the cover into a pulpy mess.
Bring to a Dry Area
Put the soaking wet book in a dry area to prevent additional damage from happening to it. If you have a completely wet book that’s dripping with water then hold it tightly and keep it closed while shaking out as much water as possible.
Wipe the Cover Down
After removing the excess water, use a paper towel or dry rag to gently wipe the cover down without potentially damaging the book. It works well with hardcovers but you need to be extra gentle with paperbacks and their cardboard covers.
Avoid wiping the pages because they’re likely weakened by the water so applying too much pressure will tear them apart. Focus on removing as much water as possible.
Lay Down Paper Towel Sheets or Dry Washcloth
Lay down a dry wash cloth, towel, or white paper towel sheets on a dry, flat area like the floor or a table. Put your book there and it should absorb the water. Make sure they’re not dyed material or else the dye will bleed unto your book.
You can leave the book outside with the cloth or paper towels if you don’t expect it to rain. Keeping the book upright while sun-drying should also prevent pages from sticking unto each other after the deed is done.
Upright Book Placement is Key
The key to effective book drying without warping it is to place the book upright to dry. Let the hardcover stand upright to allow the water to flow unto its base by virtue of gravity. For paperbacks, you need the support of a bookend or weights.
Place Paper Towel Sheets between Pages
Place rags or paper towel sheets between the pages for thinner books. This can prove difficult for a thick book with hundreds of pages. However, you can get away with just placing the towels in between the back and front covers only.
Now just let the book sit into place and allow it to dry completely while in the standing position. When it’s mostly dry you can dry it off with a hairdryer set on low.
You might also like this article: What Are The Things You Should Never Put In The Microwave?
Where Do We Go From Here?
You should cover the drying surface with absorbent paper like unprinted newsprint or plastic sheeting. Stand the wet book on its tail or head while slightly fanned or open. If the cover got wetter than the pages, place the absorbent paper between the book and boards.
You’ll still need to stand the book upright by opening it slightly and letting its pages fan out. If it’s a hardcover, stand it up vertically. If it’s a paperback, use bookends or weights to hold it upright instead. Make sure it’s well-balanced so that it gets evenly dried out and won’t fall down.
- Luke Armstrong, “How to Save a Wet Book“, RestorationMasterFinder.com, July 22, 2017
- “How to Salvage Wet Books (PDF)“, Lib.Umich.edu, Retrieved October 27, 2021
- “Water Emergency: Recovery of Water-Damaged Books“, River Campus Libraries, Retrieved October 27, 2021