How to Repair a Wet Book

Four Methods:Slightly dampSoakedUsing a hairdryerMaking rabbit ears

We've all had accidents with liquids around books. Especially if the book that has gotten wet has to be returned, you're in quite a pickle. Read on to find out how to get it back to its original state.

Method 1
Slightly damp

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    Remove as much liquid as possible from the book by taking it out of the puddle and carefully shaking off the liquid.
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    Blot the affected pages, preferably with a towel (cloth, not a paper towel).
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    Assess how much of the book has gotten wet. If a certain portion is still dry, insert something between the wet portion and the dry portion to prevent the liquid soaking the whole thing while you prepare for the next step.
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    Plug in your iron. Turn it to a very gentle setting (silk, for example) and wait for it to heat up. Turn off the steam.
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    Place your book on your ironing board and carefully single out a wet page. Be careful not to tear it.
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    Take a piece of absorbent paper like a paper towel (or a piece of toilet paper)and place it on your wet book page.
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    Place your warm iron on the tissue and move it carefully from side to side. If you can't do it without creating wrinkles in the tissue, press it down, then lift it up, set it down a little to the left or right of your original spot, and continue.
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    Check the page under the tissue to see how dry it is. Repeat the former step until you achieve your desired dryness.
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    Continue with this method until you have dried all affected pages of your book. Use new pieces of absorbent paper for every page, as needed.

Method 2

Imagine that your book falls into a river, lake or even high sea. If it's floating, you can still rescue it!

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    Check carefully the position of the book while it floats and attempt to catch it gently. Place your hands inside the water beneath the book and lift it as not to rip up the frail paper.
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    If the book is completely soaked, trying the method above will rip the paper. If even the cover is wet you should put down the book on a warm and clean surface. Good options are a boat's deck in the sun, a balcony, a car's hood or concrete floor, if you watch it so that no one else picks it up.
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    Assess the extent of the damage by trying to flip the pages of the book. If you can see the next page's writing through the first don't pull them apart.
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    Flip the book every so often to ensure it dries throughout.
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    When the pages are tough enough to read as a regular book but it still feels moist, you may try the first method used above for smaller amounts of liquids.

Method 3
Using a hairdryer

This works well for both for damp and soaked books.

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    Carefully smooth out the pages.
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    Dry on the high heat setting 10 centimeter (3.9 in) away from page on slow dry.

Method 4
Making rabbit ears

This method helps air circulation and prevents pages from sticking together.

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    Fold each wet page corner, 2–3 centimeter (0.8–1.2 in) toward the center of the page, without pressing on the loop that is formed.
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    You can skip a page every now and then.
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    Repeat for both "open" corners or just one corner depending on the level of dampness.
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    Leave to dry.


  • Since this method is time-consuming, it is important that you act quickly in steps 1 and 2. This way, you minimize the amount of liquid that remains on the book's pages.
  • If only a small part of your book is wet, try placing the book face-down between the backs of two chairs or on the gap between two tables, setting a weight on both sides so the book doesn't fall through the gap and letting the wet portion hang freely in between until it dries. Check to see that the pages aren't sticking together. You can tuck long pieces of string or paper between the pages to keep them separated.
  • If you are reading this before you end up with a wet book on your hands, try preventing liquid-related accidents. Keep your drinks away from books and make sure you transport them in some kind of closed bag or wrapping to prevent them from falling in puddles.


  • Speeding this process up by turning your iron up higher is very risky. You might end up scorching your book or setting your tissue on fire. Therefore high temperatures are not recommended.
  • Do not microwave the book, the binding glue will melt and cause book to come apart.
  • If you are a child, ask your parents or an older sibling (12 or older) for help with this. Do not try this on your own just because you think your parents will be angry at you for messing up a book. You could burn yourself severely with the iron.

Things You'll Need

  • A clothes iron
  • An ironing board
  • A roll of absorbent paper (kitchen tissue, toilet paper, or blotting paper)

Article Info

Categories: Organizing and Caring for Books