Here's how to save a wet book or paper

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If its individual sheets of paper, printed or writing on one side, I stick them to glass, let the water adhere them. That will dry flat. Also works for rinsing out coffee filters (which is worth it if you have a chemex) and then drying them flat.


If you have a freeze drying machine on hand, that would work too.


Don’t automatically assume that glossy pages will be saved by freeze-drying. Once the varnish that coats those pages gets wet, it becomes sticky and will happily adhere to the neighboring pages. Most freezers can’t get the pages cold fast enough to prevent this from happening. If it’s only a few pages, put something like waxed paper or plastic between the pages before you put it in the freezer, otherwise you’ll end up with a block of ice still stuck together. Putting waxed paper or Saran Wrap between any glossy pages is a good idea, whether or not you are giving the book the freezer treatment. You may want to see if your friendly neighborhood librarian will let you put your book in one of their book presses to flatten dried but still wrinkly pages.

Even though the pages feel dry, check the covers very carefully, as hardback covers suck up and retain moisture much longer. This may lead to mold, and once mold gets established in a book, that’s pretty much the ball game.


Had someone on FB have a box of what they described as rare comics get wet :confused: Maybe this info will help.

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What no microwave?

I once worked on a play where someone had to open a book and “something magical” was supposed to come out, so I soaked a big book in a bucket of water, then stuck it in a microwave for about 10 minutes.
The cover was warm but not too hot and it could be left on a table onstage for quite a while before the actor was supposed to open it for some reason. At that point great clouds of steam would come rising out of the book.


This brings up another thing I’ve done with slightly damp books and papers. Place it between two flat pieces of wood or metal, ideally with some wax paper between the book and the pressing surface, and then pile heavy stuff on top (reference books, free weights, anything which you can center the weight on top of the pressing surface. Leave that for a few days in a dry (preferably cool environment) and it should dry flat. Not recommended with soaked books though as even non-glossy pages can wind up stuck together.

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Having watched the video, I now feel vindicated that librarians use pretty much exactly the same method I have settled on through trial and error. (I like to read in the bathtub, what can I say?)


Glasgow’s School of Art library has just burned again too

This will be unnecessary in just a few years. Boston Dynamics is growing AI books that have learned to “shake themselves dry” like dogs when wet.



Second time in 5 years.

Now I want a book press and some gift wrapped bricks.

To lose a library in a fire may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose it twice looks like carelessness.

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Yup, that was a spectacular one.

Or maybe arsonist with a grudge.

Or someone trying to establish a new tradition. Let’s see what happens in 2023.

o_O Heaven forbid!