How to Save Water-Damaged Photos, Books, and Documents
to Save Water-Damaged Photos, Books, and Documents
During a flooding
incident, your documents and books are at great risk. Both the water and the
ensuing humidity in the air can cause permanent deterioration. The good news is
that you can save most of your papers and books, but only if you act fast and
work with caution.
It’s important to
start salvaging your water-damaged photos, books, and documents within two days
or they will start to become moldy and deteriorate.
Saving Water-Damaged Photos
Save pictures in
frames when they are still drenched, otherwise you might damage the photos when
trying to remove them. To safely separate a wet photo from a picture frame,
gently rinse both photo and frame with water, and carefully remove the photo.
For saving very old
photos, consult a professional conservator first. These historical photographs
are more sensitive to damage and restoration.
When you’re ready,
remove the photos from the water or mud being careful not to touch the front of
Place the photos image
side up onto a rigid surface like a board.
If photos have dirt on
them, rinse them gently using clean water in a bucket or sink.
After cleaning the
photos, lay them on blotting paper, such as a paper towel. Don’t use newspapers
to prevent ink from smudging the photos.
Dry the photos
indoors. Don’t take them outside as sunlight and wind will cause photos to curl
Let photos air-dry,
but change the paper towels every one to two hours.
If drying the photos
is not your first priority, you can buy some time by freezing them. Just make
sure to first rinse them of dirt and stack them between sheets of wax paper.
This will make them easier to separate when treated.
Saving Water-Damaged Books and Documents
Remove your documents
from the water with care. If the papers are dirty, gently rinse them and lay
them on a flat surface on top of blotted paper. Use paper towels without prints
and avoid newspaper. Keep changing the paper towels.
Don’t dry them outside
where sunlight and wind can curl the items. Let them air-dry indoors and run an
oscillating fan in the room to increase air circulation and speed up drying.
For waterlogged books,
place one absorbent paper between every 20 to 50 wet pages and lay the books
flat to dry. Change the blotting paper every few hours.
If you can put the
books in a vertical position, try to fan the pages out and allow to air-dry.
Speed up the drying process using a fan.
To postpone the drying
of paper documents or books, seal them in plastic zipper bags and stick them in
the freezer. This helps preserve them and stops mold from developing until
they’re ready to be restored.
If papers and books
smell musty after drying, place them in an open box and put that inside a
closed container with baking soda to absorb odors. Don’t let baking soda touch
Although you may be
able to follow all of these steps yourself, hiring a document and photo
restoration professional is generally a safer alternative. Trained technicians
have the equipment and experience to salvage sensitive documents and bring them
safely back to life.
Purofirst Disaster Services is conveniently located to service Jefferson and the adjoining counties, including Southern Indiana. We provide 24/7 emergency water, fire, and mold damage restoration services with quality expertise and 100% satisfaction.