Photo-Restore.net -
Main menu

Tips for Handling Water Damaged Photographs

You can follow a few simple steps to salvage water-damaged photographs:

! If photos are placed in album - remove photos from soaked albums and separate any that are stacked together, being careful not to destroy the wet, soft emulsion of the photo surface.
! Gently rinse both sides of the photo in clear, cold water. Don't rub the photos and be sure to change the water frequently.
! If you have time and space right away, lay each wet photo face up on any clean blotting paper or paper towel. Don't use newspapers or printed paper towels, as the ink may transfer to your wet photos. Change the blotting paper until the photos dry. Do not dry the photos exposing to sun. This will cause photos to curl quickly.
! If you don't have time right away to dry your damaged photos, just rinse them to remove any mud and debris. Carefully stack the wet photos between sheets of wax paper and seal them in a Ziploc type plastic bag. If possible, freeze the photos to inhibit damage. This way photos can be defrosted, separated and air-dried later when you have the time to do it properly. As a last resort, keep them in clean cold water (change the water daily) until you can do something.
! Try to get to flood-damaged photos within two days. Otherwise they will begin to mold or stick together, making saving them impossible.
! Begin with photographs for which there are no negatives, or for which the negatives are also water damaged.
! Photos in frames need to be saved when they are still soaking wet, otherwise the photo surface will stick to the glass as it dries and you will not be able to separate them without damaging the photo emulsion. To remove a wet photo from a picture frame, keep the glass and photo together. Holding both, rinse with clear flowing water, using the water stream to gently separate the photo from the glass.