How To Clean Yellowed Print

Over time, printed documents can become yellowed and discolored. This can happen due to exposure to ultraviolet light, humidity, and even just regular handling over time. While this may seem like a daunting task, there are some simple steps you can take to restore your documents to their original appearance. Whether you are trying to clean yellowed print from a book or a document, the same basic principles apply. With the right supplies and a little bit of patience, you can quickly and easily remove the yellowing from your prints. Read on to find out the best ways to clean yellowed print and get your documents looking good as new.

What Causes Yellowing of Printed Documents?

Yellowing happens when certain dyes in your print fade to a yellow color. This is most commonly caused by exposure to ultraviolet light, humidity, and discoloration from iron or copper inks. You can usually tell if you have yellowed print if the paper appears light or yellowed, or the ink looks faded. If you want to read more about the chemistry behind yellowing print, you can read our in-depth article here.

What Supplies Will I Need?

To clean yellowed print, you will need the following supplies: – Soft Cloth – Iron-free paper – Iron-free tablecloth or other iron-free coverings – Iron – Ironing board – Spray bottle – Water – Liquid soap – Paper towels – Bookbinding Scissors – Bookbinding glue – Bookbinding press – Bookbinding bookshelf – Bookbinding box – Bookbinding bin – Bookbinding bag – Bookbinding storage box These are all items that you should have around your house anyway, so they’re fairly inexpensive to obtain. You may also want to purchase a book binding press to keep your documents flat and clean while you work, and a book drying box to make sure your books are completely dry after cleaning.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Yellowed Print

Cleaning yellowed print is a multi-step process. The first step is to remove the dust and dirt from the document so you can clearly see what you’re working with. Start by folding a soft cloth in half and gently wiping the document clean. This removes dust, fingerprints, and other debris from the print so you can clearly see what you’re dealing with. Be careful not to rub too hard, as you don’t want to damage the document. Next, use a soft brush or paintbrush to scrub the print. This is best done outside or in a well-ventilated area as the dust from the yellowed paper can cause allergies. After the print is relatively clean, you can move on to the next step: restoring the color. This is done by carefully washing the print with water and liquid soap. You can use warm or cold water, whichever is most comfortable for you. Dip the print in the water and gently scrub with a soft cleaning brush to remove the yellowing. Then, use a clean cloth to remove the soap from the print. You can also use a clean paintbrush to scrub away the soap. After the print is clean, it’s time to dry it. You can use an iron to gently dry the print, or put it in an ironing board to get it completely dry. Press the iron on the print at a low setting. Never iron the print while it’s still wet, as this can cause water damage. After the print is dry, you can use bookbinding glue to glue the document back together. Then, you can use a bookbinding press to flatten and clean the document. Finally, you can store your cleaned print in a bookbinding box or bag to prevent it from yellowing again.

Tips for Preventing Further Yellowing

Once you’ve successfully cleaned your yellowed print, there are a few things you can do to prevent further yellowing. The easiest thing you can do is to store your prints in a cool, dark place. Ultraviolet light is what causes the dyes in the print to fade, so keeping the print in a place that’s free of light will help prevent further yellowing. You can also put a few sheets of iron-free paper between each print to keep them away from each other. Another thing you can do is to avoid handling the print too much. This is especially important if you don’t have gloves on while you’re cleaning it. Regularly handling the print can cause oil from your hands to get on the surface and lead to premature yellowing.

Alternatives to Cleaning Yellowed Print

As we mentioned earlier, you can also use ink to clean yellowed print. This is a more permanent solution, but it’s also a more expensive one. You can use a few simple household items to clean your yellowed prints. You can mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 cup of water to make a homemade cleaning solution. You can also mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice with 1/2 cup of water. You can also use vinegar or tea to clean the yellowed print. Make sure to test these solutions on a small, out-of-the-way area before cleaning your entire document, just in case one of these cleaning solutions discolors your print.

Professional Cleaning Services

If you can’t get your yellowed print clean, or if you don’t have the time or patience to do so, you can hire a professional cleaning service. These services can be found online and in the phone book, and they can clean your yellowed print and send it back to you. You may have to send your print to the company by mail, so make sure you have a large enough envelope to fit your documents. You can also bring your prints to the company’s location. The cleaning services will be able to tell you how much it costs to clean your prints and how long it will take.


Prints can become discolored over time, either from excessive handling or exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light. There are a few simple steps you can take to clean yellowed print and restore it to its original appearance. Whether you are trying to clean yellowed print from a book or a document, the same basic principles apply. With the right supplies and some patience, you can quickly and easily remove the yellowing from your prints.

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