Sep 8

Saving Water-Damaged Books, Documents and Photographs

Property flooding puts documents and books at great risk. Both the water and humidity can cause permanent deterioration to paper. Yet, the good news is that water-damaged paper restoration is achievable, but only when you act quickly and carefully. It’s important to start salvaging the water-damaged photos, books and documents within two days or they will start to become moldy and deteriorate.

Learn how to save water-damaged documents, books and photos from a trained and certified mold restoration expert, Special Touch Restoration.

How to Save Water-Damaged Photos

Most printed photographs, photographic negatives and color slides can be cleaned and air-dried using the following steps:

  1. Carefully lift the photos from the mud and dirty water. Remove them from water-logged albums and separate any that are stuck together. Be careful not to rub or touch the wet emulsion of the photo surface.

  2. Gently rinse both sides of the photo in a bucket or sink filled with clear, cold water. Do not rub the photos, and change the water frequently.

  3. The photos should be dried indoors. Taking them outside is not recommended as sunlight and wind will cause photos to curl more quickly.

  4. The photos should be left to air-dry, but the paper towels should be changed every one to two hours.

  5. If drying the photos is not the first priority, freezing them is a good way to buy some time. But first, they should be rinsed of dirt and stacked between sheets of wax paper. This will make them easier to separate when treated.

How to Save Water-Damaged Documents and Books

Most basement water damage papers, documents, and books can be cleaned and air-dried using the following steps:

  1. Carefully remove the papers from the water.

  2. If photos have dirt on them, they should be rinsed using clean water in a bucket or sink.  It’s best to use paper towels without prints and avoid newspapers. The paper towels must be constantly changed.

  3. Books or documents shouldn’t be dried outside where sunlight and wind can curl them. They should be let to air-dry indoors. Running an oscillating fan in the room can increase air circulation and speed up drying.

  4. For waterlogged books, absorbent paper should be placed between every 20 to 50 wet pages. Then, the books should be laid flat to dry. The blotting paper should be changed every few hours.

  5. If you have wet papers or books that you just can’t deal with right away, seal them in plastic zipper bags and stick them in the freezer. This helps to stop the deterioration of the paper and prevents mold from setting in.

If you’re looking for a recognized leader in the disaster restoration industry, you can reach Special Touch Restoration day or night! Our certified water damage technicians will properly utilize all aspects of water damage restoration to properly dry your property including water in crawl space and make sure there is no secondary damage.

Call us at (256) 330-4822 for North AL or (251) 512-1424 for South AL. You may also fill out our contact form to request a free estimate.