How to sterilize old books?

brannsiu

Honorable
Apr 20, 2013
655
0
10,980
0
I am going to purchase a lot of old books that are useful to me from someone, however he has told me that his books are all old and from different other sources. I'd like to be more comfortable, I want to sterilize those books first, is there any way to do it?

or do I actually, don't need to do anything as books usually don't attach any virus bacteria?
 

DOSlover

Reputable
Dec 17, 2015
28
0
4,540
3
As a general rule bacteria and virus' require very high levels of available water to be viable. There are spore forming bacteria that can survive adverse conditions but would need a return of high available water to become active. These levels of available water would effectively destroy the books.
I would feel fairly comfortable taking the books as is without needing to treat them in any way.
Enjoy them and enjoy an entertainment device that doesn't require a power source, updates, downloads or (pardon the pun) a virus check!?
 

dudio

Admirable
Not much can live in/on books for very long in their usual state. If they are damp, they could allow mold to survive. If that's the case, allow them to dry..fanned out in a dry enviroment. If not, there is little to worry about. There are more germs in your normal day's interactions.
 

BFG-9000

Reputable
Sep 17, 2016
1,996
0
4,960
735
Books make for terrible fomites, even the historical ones made of vellum and bound in human skin. That's why libraries don't need to disinfect books.

However if you need to make the books safe for a bubble-boy, I suggest a radioactive source. That's how they render things like IV bags and food pouches that need no refrigeration absolutely sterile.
 

BFG-9000

Reputable
Sep 17, 2016
1,996
0
4,960
735
Are you seriously intending to turn the page every couple days to expose them all? Sunlight is a powerful bleach that will erase the page before killing all of the germs under the surface. Or did you only intend on disinfecting the cover?

See, the reason paper is so poor at transferring disease is the same reason wooden chopping boards are safer than plastic--they are porous so any pathogens are absorbed under the surface where you cannot contact them. For the same reason UV light cannot hope to reach them.

Radioactive source is the only reasonable way to kill everything. Dry heat will char the paper before doing so and an autoclave would damage the books from the superheated (249F) steam. Canning under pressure at 240F in liquid for 1 hour would also leave you with mush. DIY with ozone may work (and also remove any cigarette smells) but could destroy the glue so you end up with looseleaf pages instead of a book.

If you can only be comfortable knowing unwashed and sick people have not previously handled your books, then the most practical way is to only buy new books.
 

The Paladin

Glorious
Herald
@BFG-9000, though I would agree with you about the cutting board in a general, I would like to point out if you use a plastic cutting board and use a dishwasher to clean it it will be more sterile than your hand wash wodden cutting board. just saying.. and besides the point.

As for books;
if there where pathogens capable of bein transmitted to you, it already has happened unless you where handling them with rubber gloves, the MOST likely possible chance of getting a pathogen from a book ( btw less than 0.5% chance) is from the cover, if someone with the flu sneezed over it, and you handle it inside of 24 hrs. it is "possible" to catch a cold (because its a virus and can live on leather that long... see previous % chances) … basically handling a doorknob has higher chances of transmitting a pathogen to you because it is not porous.

Dont sweat it.
look for first editions, sell them, and buy new books.
 

brannsiu

Honorable
Apr 20, 2013
655
0
10,980
0



Yes, I always buy new books unless the new one no longer available. I don't deny that I am overreacting about hygiene and health

Assume the book was used by unwashed or sick people, could it transmit diesase?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


Probably no more than walking around outside with all the other sick and unwashed people.

Think of it this way...if "used books" were a common vector for viruses, how would used book stores and libraries remain in existence?
 

brannsiu

Honorable
Apr 20, 2013
655
0
10,980
0



OK. It's a little bit embarrassing but I tell you the truth.

The old books are all at least 20 years of age and they are crazy adult drawings.

The seller honestly admitted to me that he "used" the books a lot and often "made a mess" on the books, and then I believe that the books are with a lot of dried "mess" over time.

I think it's so disgusting but I really love those books and he was almost the only sources now for that precious series so I bought from him.
 

Onus

Titan
Moderator
This is a computer / hardware related forum. I really don't see how we're going to be able to assist any further with this particular issue. For assistance with book preservation, a museum or library will likely be able to give you the best advice.

Closing off-topic thread.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
B Sports & Wellness 1

Similar threads


ASK THE COMMUNITY