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How to De-Germ and Clean Your Children’s Books

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How to De-Germ and Clean Your Children’s Books

The weather has gotten cool, and with that,  the cold and flu season begins. I noticed all around us this week that there were a lot of sniffly kids, including a few in this house. While I was sitting in the library this week,  I noticed a lot of red eyed, stuffy nosed children looking through books and putting them back on the shelf or on the book cart.

Then, later in the week I got a message on our JIAB Facebook Fan Page from Keri asking, “any great tips for disinfecting books?”

disinfecting books

I’ve wondered about this in the past, and thanks to Keri’s question was spurred to ask. This was also expedited by the big pile of favorite books that my very sick (stomach virus) son is hoarding in his bed.

So after having three children of my own and at least a million trips to the library, this idea of disinfecting books never crossed my mind. I always just have the children wash their hands many times throughout a day.

SO, the Big Question Is: Is it possible to disinfect or de-germ books? After a little investigation, I found out that Yes it’s absolutely possible.

Soft Books: For soft books, wash them with warm soapy water. Rinse them off and let them dry completely in the dish rack.

Fabric Books: These are easily washed in the washing machine using baby detergent. After washing them, let them air dry by hanging it on a drying rack. Wash them in luke warm water so the book doesn’t shrink.

Hardcover Books: There are a couple of ways to clean these. The first is to use a book cleaner paste and a swish cloth. Demco Book Cleaner and Sterling’s Magic Book Cleaner are two non-toxic brands which take off dirt a marks. Honestly, I don’t know if they disinfect the book but they definitely clean the book.

Demco Book Cleaner

The second way to clean a book and this one does disinfect them is to use a homemade solution of white vinegar and water. Dip your cleaning cloth into the vinegar mixture,and then ringing out the cloth very well.  Gently wipe down the cover  in a circular motion with the damp cloth and then dry immediately with another cloth.

Vinegar Cleaning Solution Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of warm water.

What to do with the interior pages of a book?

If you should encounter a book filled with dust or crumbs, use your dust attachment on your vacuum and vacuum out the spine between the pages of the book.

As for disinfecting the actual pages of a book I’ve heard you can use the above white vinegar mixture in a spray bottle. Spray from quite a distance and then fan the pages of the book dry. Personally, I would not be able to bring myself to do this, especially if it’s a library book. My solution is to have my kids use hand sanitizer after reading their books.

A really important note is never use anything to clean your book which has alcohol in it. This will completely destroy your books covers and pages.

What do you do to disinfect books ? Please share so we can continue to gather information on this timely topic.



3 thoughts on “How to De-Germ and Clean Your Children’s Books

  1. Whenever we buy books from the thrift store, the first thing I do when I unpack them is wipe them down gently with a baby wipe. You have to be careful not to rub, or the color will come off, but this does clean them up nicely. I’ve also learned to give used books the sniff-test before buying. NOTHING worse than a smoky or musty smelling book–yuck!

  2. Some great tips herein! I have used baby wipes before too – I’ve also wondered about putting them in the hot sun for a few hours (summer) or the freezer for a few hours (anytime) with the thought that the extreme temps might kill any pathogens? Any thoughts on that?

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