There are a few posts and articles out there about blotter washing for loose sheets and prints etc, but none that I’ve found for washing pages of bindings in situ. So, to remedy this, I’ve put together a post for what I’ve done for a project I’m working on at the moment.
I’m pulling the staining out towards the verso of the page, unless there’s a plate on the verso, in which case, the stains will be pulled out onto the recto. The technique uses osmosis – pulling moisture through the page from a wet blotter to a dry one, and requires the dry blotter being changed regularly so it can receive more moisture and therefore soluble particulates from the stained page.
The page to be washed will need to be humidified before treatment, I’ve done this with a handheld Muji spray bottle, protecting the facing page with some cling film.
2: Glass sheet (mine’s from Ikea).
3: Wet blotting paper, cut to the same size of the page to be washed.
4: Page to be washed.
5: Dry blotter, cut larger than the page.
6: Thick polyester sheeting, or Melinex (something waterproof).
Change out both pieces of blotting paper regularly (every 15-20mins) and you will be able to see the discolouration coming out onto both pieces of blotter, but more so on the dry piece. Change the blotters 2-3 times depending on the severity of the soiling, and then place the page between clean, dry blotters and leave to dry under weight (changing these blotters too).
Check out some before and after’s after the jump.
If the page is particularly fragile, support it on both sides with pieces of Bondina or Holytex for ease of handling, and to prevent damage from suction created by lifting off the wet blotter.
Notice that the stains haven’t been remove completely, but they are visibly less obtrusive and have been reduced considerably.