THOROUGH WASHING TO REMOVE HEAVY DEPOSITS OF MUD
A more thorough washing procedure, intended to remove as much mud and slime as possible from books, requires six to eight tanks big enough to accommodate the largest volumes in the collection. This process is obviously wet and messy and needs to be set up outdoors in fair weather or in an area fitted out to use and remove large quantities of water. Since large quantities of water are required, the area will be wet and dirty throughout the operation, and good drainage is therefore essential.
Any rustproof receptacles may be used if they are large enough, but plastic garbage cans (20 or 30 gallons) are recommended. Each can should be equipped with a hose to provide low-pressure, continuous water flow to the bottom so that dirty water, as it overflows the rim, will be constantly replaced by fresh. Each hose should be fastened securely to prevent damage to the books being washed. Wooden duck-boards, rubber boots, gloves and aprons are recommended for the protection of workers.
Keeping a book tightly closed, a worker should immerse one book at a time in the first can and remove as much mud as possible by gentle agitation under the water. Workers should not use brushes and or any tool which would cause an aggressive rubbing action. Books should be passed from one can to the next and the same operations repeated until most of the mud has been removed. At the last can, books should be rinsed by spraying them gently with a fine stream of water. No effort should be made to remove mud which continues to cling after sponging under water. This is much better done when the books are dry.
Finally, excess water can be squeezed from books with hands pressure; mechanical presses should never be used. It must be emphasized that the above procedure should be attempted only by a carefully instructed team and in a properly fitted-out area. If there is any doubt about the ability of the team to follow directions, washing should not be attempted. There are many classes of books which should not be washed under any circumstances, and it is therefore imperative to have the advice of an experienced book conservator who can recognize such materials and who understands their treatment requirements.