Maybe it seems a little crazy but this is a serious question: should we be thinking about disinfecting notebooks during this Coronavirus pandemic? (The same question would apply to pens.)
Imagine you are sitting in a cafe, writing in your notebook. You set it on the tabletop. What if the person sitting there before you had the virus and coughed on the table? That is just one way that infection could at least in theory be spread via a notebook. [UPDATE: Obviously, this was written before the epidemic reached the point where restaurants and cafes were closing. At this point, as a commenter noted, we all need to be staying home!] It’s also possible that while grocery shopping you could touch something that was previously touched by an infected person, and then you touch the notebook where you keep your grocery list. Even if you wash your hands after you shop, you could pick up some germs the next time you touch that notebook, given that the virus can survive for at least a few hours on many surfaces.
Then the question becomes “what’s the best method of disinfecting notebooks?” I figured that some sort of alcohol-based wipe would be ok to use on the cover of most notebooks– and because I felt it was my duty to notebook lovers everywhere, I actually tested this just now. My local grocery store was sold out of every single sanitizing product I could think of except for a few boxes of alcohol prep pads: those tiny wipes nurses use when they’re about to give you a shot. But they contain 70% isopropyl alcohol, which is said to kill the coronavirus, so I bought a couple boxes. 200 wipes for $5 actually seemed like a pretty good deal compared to the prices I’ve seen for Purell wipes! They are very small but I think they’d work fine for cleaning your hands in a pinch. I’m keeping a bunch in my bag for any situation where I might need them, not just for my notebooks.
I spot-tested a wipe on all my daily carry notebooks, which were actually a good range of materials– the leather cover on the Nolty Gold, a linen cloth cover Bindewerk, a vinyl cover on the Nolty Daily Book, and a regular hardcover Moleskine with the traditional black faux leather. In all these cases, the alcohol evaporated and didn’t leave any stain or damage. I would be cautious about using too much alcohol on leather, as I think it could dry it out, but I think disinfecting a notebook is not likely to be something you would need to do on a regular basis unless you are a healthcare worker, and if so, you probably wouldn’t be using something made with really nice leather anyway. In any case, use your own judgment and caution if you do decide to wipe down your own notebooks! [UPDATE: I also used an alcohol wipe on my leather iPhone case and found that some black die came off on the wipe, and the texture of the leather now shows some marks. It seems a matte finish leather might not handle the alcohol as well as the shinier leather of the Nolty.]
I do think the risk of virus transmission via notebooks and pens is pretty small, but I’ve seen a lot of talk about how you should disinfect your phone, so it’s worth thinking about it for notebooks too, especially if you use them in higher risk situations where you’re around a lot of other people, like on public transportation or in a cafe. I personally haven’t been setting my notebooks and pens down on any surfaces outside my own home, just to be on the safer side. (And for those who might think I’m being paranoid, here’s a helpful article I’ve seen shared a lot about why it’s important.)
I’m sure I’m not the only person to have thought about this. Let us know in the comments how you are protecting your notebooks and yourself! (Cited from Disinfecting notebook. https://www.notebookstories.com/2020/03/13/disinfecting-notebooks/)
How to disinfect notebooks?
In this special period, we are afraid of the surface-transmission, such as door handles, elevator buttons and other surfaces in high-traffic areas. For the notebook, when it travels a lot of places outside with us, it is beyond our imagination how dirty it is. However, there is little we could do since paper books have so many pages.
In 2011, Evertree invented LIVA self-service book sterilizer to disinfect books in an all-round way. Users can easily put their books, notebooks, pens and personal belongings into the sterilization room and the sanitization process just takes 1 minute. With the fun turning open each page, the inner parts of the books are directly exposed to the UV-C to be disinfected. In the meanwhile, the dust and other foreign residues will be shaken off. LIVA book sterilizer is warmly welcomed by libraries from all over the world.