I buy a lot of used books. In fact, most of the books Juliet owns are ones I found at our local Goodwill or other thrift store. We buy so many books, there is no way I could afford to buy them all new!
As you know, sometimes used books are slightly dirty and a bit gross. You don’t know where they’ve been…which can be worrisome. But don’t let that stop you! With a little TLC, you can rid slightly grubby used books of all their smudges and grime with your own homemade, eco-friendly cleaner!
Here’s what I do:
Take a spray bottle (any kind will do) and fill it with white vinegar 3/4 full.
Fill the rest with plain tap water.
Add several drops of tea tree oil.
This is a good multi-purpose cleaner–I use it on my countertops, doorknobs, floor, etc…anywhere I need to clean up a spill.
But my main use is for cleaning up my used books as soon as I bring them home. The tea tree oil is supposed to have antibacterial qualities, so I like to think it kills some of the germs.
I spray a bit on a paper towel, and wipe the book down. Smudges, caked on dirt, and fingerprints come right off the covers. I also use this just on the cover of regular books, but also on all the pages of board books.
It’s non-toxic, so it’s safe to let your kids use, if they want to help out. (Juliet LOVES to help with this task.) The vinegar WILL sting their eyes if they spray it in them, but if you handle the spraying, there is no real danger of that happening. (And while it will sting, it won’t damage their eyes at all like other cleaners would, should the unfortunate event occur.)
You might be able to see the frownie face I drew on my spray bottle. This let’s Juliet know that she should not be spraying this bottle!
Now, keep in mind that I have never read anywhere that this is a good way to clean your books. It’s just something I do and it works for me. I buy a lot of vintage books and I use it on them as well. I have never had the vinegar damage the covers at all. But again, this is not scientifically tested!
How do you clean your books? Got any good tips for me?