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Restoration of Hardcover Books Damaged by Soot

Before cleaning, all books should be inspected for secondary water damage and mold. If the value of the books is low, it may be more economical for the insured/insurance company to simply replace them, rather than pay for restoration services.

Basic Method - Lightly Damaged Books

  1. Air wash the book using either canned air or an air compressor while holding the book over an air scrubber.
  2. Using Absorene Wall Cleaner, erase any soot marks in the book.
  3. Vacuum any remaining dry soot and residue from the Absorene Wall Cleaner using a HEPA vacuum.

Advanced Method - Moderate/Heavily Damaged Books

  1. Remove protective jacket from book.
  2. Using Absorene Wall Cleaner, remove as much soot as possible from the exposed areas of the book.
  3. Using either Unsmoke Degrease-All or PRS Fire and Content Cleaner and rags, remove residue from the cover of book.
  4. Using a vise, clamp pages of the book together.
  5. Using medium grit sandpaper, remove the soot from the page edges.
  6. To re-dye page edges, use "Scripto" Fountain Pen Ink (available at stationery stores) and a cotton ball.
  7. The books can be deodorized by misting the interior of the pages with a solvent-based deodorant.
  8. If further deodorization is needed, books can be placed into an ozone chamber for a short period of time. BE CAREFUL to not weaken the glue holding the spine/binding together.
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  1. PRS Fire and Content Cleaner
    PRS Fire and Content Cleaner

    PRS Fire and Content Cleaner is a biologically based cleaning agent built specifically for fire residues and heavy-duty content cleaning on hard surfaces.

    • Powerful biologically based degreaser
    • No harsh fumes
    • Ideal for fire damage restoration

    Starting at $221.95

  2. Absorene Wall Cleaner
    Absorene Wall Cleaner

    Absorene works like an eraser, banishing dust, dirt, and smoke film from multiple surfaces: walls, ceiling tile, paintings, window shades, blinds, lamp shades, tapestries, felt hats, painted surfaces, and more!

    • Cleans walls, ceiling tile, smoke film and more
    • Safe on painted walls, wallpaper, and more
    • Non-toxic
    • Works like an eraser
    • Ready to use

    Starting at $6.30

  3. Unsmoke Degrease‑All Degreaser
    Unsmoke Degrease‑All Degreaser

    Degrease-All offers a special blend of tough cleaning agents formulated to remove silt and soot from walls, fixtures, sealed wood, painted surfaces, yet gentle enough to be used as a traffic lane cleaner. It also removes heavy smoke odors.

    • Multi-surface degreaser
    • Highly effective for removing soot
    • pH: 12.3 (RTU 11.0)
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Various dilution options

    Starting at $37.86

  4. ODORx Space Spray, Lemon
    ODORx Space Spray, Lemon

    Space Spray is an industrial-strength odor counteractant effective in a wide variety of applications. Space Spray provides superior pet odor control and makes an excellent room freshener after carpet or upholstery cleaning.

    • Citrus-Lemon fragrance
    • Industrial-strength, solvent-based odor counteractant
    • pH: 4.0–7.0
    • Ready-to-use formula; no dilution required
    • Effective against severe smoke and pet odors

    Starting at $122.58

  5. Total Zone TZ-2 Ozone Generator
    Total Zone TZ‑2 Ozone Generator

    Dealing with tough odors on your restoration job? The Total Zone TZ-2 Ozone Generator produces 3,000 milligrams of ozone and is ideal for use in mid-size rooms and containment zones (up to 120,000 cubic feet). It eliminates cigar/cigarette odors, pet odors, cooking odors, paint odors, and more!

    • Produces 3,000 milligrams of ozone per hour
    • Can handle jobs up to 120,000 cubic feet
    • 100 CFM fan
    • Weighs less than 10 lbs; pulls just 2 amps
    • Maintenance-free design!
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