How to Clean a Cloth Book Cover

Whether you're restoring an antique book or preparing to sell a valuable set of novels, it's easy to remove stains and restore fabric luster to cloth-covered reads. With a few nontoxic cleaning supplies and a small time investment, you can eliminate the dust, dirt and oil smudges tarnishing your favorite fabric-bound books.

Begin cleaning your book by dusting it with a clean rag to remove surface dirt. For more thorough cleaning, use a horsehair brush to clean around the edges and spine of the book. Available at library or book repair supply stores, horsehair brushes have soft, natural bristles that make it easy to get into crevices.

Use a document cleaning pad to remove pencil marks, smudges and grime from any type of fabric book cover. Squeeze the pad to release cleaning powder onto the book's surface, and begin to gently scrub. The powder acts as a magnet, pulling dirt and residue away from the fabric. When you are finished scrubbing the book, dump the excess cleaning powder into the trash and use a clean rag to dust off the book. You may need to repeat this process more than once for heavily soiled covers.

Try Absorene Paper and Book Cleaner for hard-to-clean book surfaces. Pull off a piece of the clay-like cleaner and work it around in your hands until it is pliable. You may need to add a few drops of water to the putty if it has dried out. Rub the cleaner lightly over the book's surface in one direction and wipe the remaining powder off using your horsehair brush or a clean rag. Dirt clings to the Absorene and is easily removed.

Purchase BRODeX Multipurpose Cleaner for your vinyl and polyester book coverings. Apply a small amount of the nontoxic solvent to a cotton ball for small soiled areas, or to a clean rag for larger surfaces. Rub the surface gently until stains begin to disappear. The product has a pleasant orange scent, and helps remove ink, crayon marks, adhesives and gum.


While the cleaning products are safe for most fabrics, it's important to test your document pad, Absorene or BRODeX cleaners in an inconspicuous place before using them on valued book surfaces.


Avoid inhaling dust from your Absorene putty or document cleaning pad. Vacuum excess dust immediately, and wear a respirator mask if you have asthma or other breathing conditions.

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