PaperCollectibles

Preserving Acid Paper Books and Documents

How can I turn old yellowed book pages whiter again? I have a number of antique documents, books, and old comics that all have yellowed, brown, or darkened colored pages. For collectors, this can reduce the value if it is very colored.

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I am wondering if anyone has found a process, technique, or product that helps to not only reduce the coloring effect of age of these older acid type papers; but also help to preserve the paper as well? Thanks.

By John Burgess from Austin, TX

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Anonymous
August 28, 20090 found this helpful

This is definitely a question for a professional restorer because you risk ruining these old documents if you get incorrect advice and even a professional will probably tell you to leave them alone unless you want to spend a fortune :-( What I do know is that most old documents are kept in a hermetically sealed environment to reduce further damage. Good luck!

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August 28, 20090 found this helpful

There is a liquid which changes the ph of the paper to neutral. I've purchased stuff from archivists for repair and restoration of documents and books, though I haven't tried the liquid. Be aware that early inks, esp. berry inks, could dissolve. So try to learn which inks you have on the papers, ask for advice from a professional, and spot test if you decide to use the liquid.

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Try googling archivist sale, or like terms, there are stores that sell to libraries, archivists and the public. There's a very reasonable one in Canada, and they are quite good. I haven't required products for a year or so and can't recall their name, but believe they're based in Ontario. There's also Gaylord's in New York, but they're very pricey. There's a number in between, just look around-and there are a number who are more than willing to give free advice-including Gaylord, who has how-to's online. At least, they did when I last looked. I'm a genealogist and book lover, so I do use a number of archival things but have no connection to the companies other than having been a customer.

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