How to Save a Wet Book: Step by Step

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It is extremely heartbreaking to see your favorite book getting damaged or, worse, soaked with water. As readers, we are habituated to carrying books everywhere we go.

Often, this habit costs us big when the book falls from our hands accidentally, and we bend down to pick it up only to find the book damaged, torn, or wet.

Dealing with a damp book is challenging as it is entirely damaged, including the pages, cover, and ink. Mold is another major hazard to a wet book, and it starts growing within 24-48 hours.

Immediate steps should be taken to prevent the wet book from worsening if you want to preserve it.

Hi! I am Priyanka from Hooked to Books, and as a reader, I can say from my personal experience how heart-wrenching it was to see my favorite books soaking wet with water dripping from the edges.

I was quick enough to take the necessary steps to save my books from further damage. Today, I will share the step-by-step guide on how to save a wet book, so if anyone here faces a similar situation, they can immediately act on it.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

How to Save a Wet Book by Using Different Methods?

If you’re reading in a bathtub, near a beach, or drinking coffee, tea, or water while holding a book, there are high chances that the book might slip from your hands or the drink might spill all over it, leaving you with a soaked book.

Every reader will want to avoid this situation, but sometimes it just happens, right?

Do not worry! Several methods are available that you can use if your book is wet and you want it back as it was before.

Have a look at the methods listed below, along with the step-by-step guide!

1. Wipe the Water

Wipe the Water

This works when the book is not completely soaked with water. Books with spillage or half-soaked pages can be restored by this method.

Step 1: If your book is half soaked with water or you have spilled something on it, simply shake the book side by side to remove any remaining water.

Step 2: The next step is to remove any dirt or debris from the book. If the book fell on dirty water, dirt might have stuck to the inside pages. Use your fingers or tweezers to pluck out the debris.

If the book is fully soaked, carefully dip it in clean water and pull it out slowly. Do it twice or thrice to remove the dirt without further damage.

Step 3: Now wipe the pages and cover of the book gently using a clean white cloth or white paper towel. Do not rub the book with the cloth; it might tear the pages off; instead, use the cloth to tap the wet portions and apply pressure on it.

Or you can place rags between the pages for a while and then take them out. Continue this to remove water from the book thoroughly. Once done, dab the front and back cover to prevent mold growth and damage.

Paperback books need extra care than hardbacks.

2. Freeze Dry

Freeze Dry

Freeze-dry is a method you can use if your book is entirely soaked with water.

Step 1: Place the book on top of a white towel or absorbent sheet of paper. Let the water drain from one side before changing to the other. Replace the sheet with a new one if it is fully soaked. Shake the water off if the book is slightly damp.

Step 2: To remove any remaining water, place the absorbent paper between the pages and covers and leave it there for a while so it will absorb fully. Use blank absorbent sheets and towels to avoid any designs and letters bleeding onto the book.

Step 3: Put the wet book into a plastic bag and seal it. Do not seal it tightly; leave spaces so air can pass through. Place the covered book in the freezer separately, away from food items.

Step 4: Leave it inside the freezer for a week or two. The duration depends on the length of the book. A book with many pages will need more time than a short one.

Step 5: After taking out the sealed book from the freezer, wipe any water or ice from the plastic. Remove the book from the plastic cover and check if it is fully dry. This method helps to prevent tearing and wrinkling.

3. Dry With a Fan or Hair Dryer

Dry With a Fan or Hair Dryer

You can dry damp books by using a fan or hair dryer.

Using a Fan: Firstly, remove water from the book by shaking or wiping. Then, place the damp book near a ceiling or table fan. Spread the book slightly, place it in front of the fan, and turn the pages to dry all the wet areas. Keep the fan speed low or medium to avoid damaging and tearing.

Using a Hair Dryer: This step also requires to remove the water from the soaked book. Then, place the book over a towel or cloth and open it. Angle your hair dryer from a safe distance and start drying the pages one by one. Ensure the temperature setting is correct to prevent any damage.

After drying, you can place a heavy item on top of the book, such as a paperweight or heavy book, and leave it for a few hours as it will remove any wrinkles.


Readers are bound to deal with situations when their books get damaged due to water or any other reasons. When a book is soaked with water, it needs extra care while drying.

I hope this article on how to save a wet book helped you understand the various methods that can be used to fix a book’s condition.

Do you know any other methods to save a wet book from damage? Share them in the comments section.

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