Clean All The Things

How to clean children’s books

I was recently gifted a generous number of well-loved cardboard & paper children’s books.
Before letting my precious little darling commence to chewing on them I had the maternal need to DESTROY ALL GERMS from other people’s kids chewing on them, and scrape off the old cereal, **otherwise what is JR going to have left to finger-food paint?**

Anyway, I just spent several hours gently scrubbing and carefully scraping and meticulously drying about 30 lbs of cardboard fun while my husband got to play with, feed & entertain our bouncing baby boy.  I so totally got the better end of that bargain.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation of grubby literary bounty, you will need:

warm water,
large bowl,
Dawn dish soap,
bleach OR white vinegar
soft cloth,
paring knife
dry towel,
hand lotion or gloves
clean counter and drying space

Fill the bowl with a squirt of soap, a cap of bleach/white vinegar and warm water.  Wet and ring out the wash cloth, and start gently wiping down the cardboard books.  They can take some scrubbing, but scrape any stubborn dried ick off with the knife because that cardboard isn’t indestructible.  Page by page, dry the book.  If it’s particularly icky wait to dry the whole book until you are done; it’s just enough moisture to soak stubborn stuff off without destroying the book.  Clean up any spots you missed.  Let dry overnight.

You can do a drier version with paper books, ring out the washcloth really well but don’t scrub at all, just wipe.  If a book is super wrinkled you can even iron the dampish pages on low.   If there id dried on ick, scrape it off while the page is dry.
DO NOT iron plastic laminate or tape!!!
Again, let dry overnight.  Tape or glue anything that needs it after it’s dry.  Personally I’m not afraid to cut off frayed edges that invite gleeful baby ripping, but that’s just me.

For cloth books, wash on cold, hang dry, cool iron.
For plastic books, use a water/white vinegar solution to wipe them down.  I don’t think bleach will hurt them, but at $7 a pop I’m not too keen on finding out.

Last:  Let your own precious darling chew on the newly disinfected de-crayoned, de-gunked, de-slimed and de-snotted books.
Oh.. I meant “read and enjoy.”

**As with anything found on the internet, don’t believe it without verifying with your mother – who is probably checking Google too –  But seriously, if in doubt, don’t.  Bleach can hurt, so be careful, yadda yadda.  No babies suckin’ on the bleach bottle, OK?  Geez…  Did that cover all the safety concerns?  Good?  Good.
PS. vinegar will work just as well to clean stuff as bleach.  Not as toxic.  Don’t let your baby suck on that either.  But if you do, send me a picture of their face after they taste it.  No!  Don’t do that!  I’m joking & sleep deprived and have an odd sense of humor!  It was a joke!  Really… but if you do…