Books are good companion to human beings. We say that they are good companion to dust and insects also. The book often becomes a hiding place for disease spreading small insects or fungus. Especially when books are kept in a dark and humid condition the chances are more for this. The old books create some other problems of fungus and dust also. So the books are to be cleaned and kept in clean atmosphere.
The old books may have lot of marks made by the readers. The pencil marks can be cleaned by using a eraser with care. We can use the soft erasers for this and these must be used in on direction. Mostly at the edges there will be heavy dust accumulation. These can be removed by using a tooth brush of paint brush. The brush must be moved to one side through the lines only to avoid damage. After this we can use compressed air pump to blow out the dust. Some chemical pliable paste also available for remove the dust.
Binding also should be cleaned with care. If it is a leather cover we can use a light polish to give a new look. Fabric and paper bond cover also can be cleaned to some extent. If we use damp cloth to clean these we must dry the cover well. After the cleaning we can put water absorbent silica gel. This will help us to keep the area free from humidity. This will reduce the chance of fungus growth. The odd smell from old books also needs cleaning. Lot of odour removers are available in the market. We can any one of them. Otherwise we can place a natural fragrant oil dipped cotton ball near the book shelf. Indirect sun light also removes smell and fungus.