When floods and fires hit, people don’t grieve losing a bed or a couch. However, losing valued family photos, scrapbooks and memorabilia are nothing short of devastating. There are things that people can do to help save their family photos, I feel this is valuable information for everyone, so I wanted to share my thoughts.
When facing piles of soggy, mud-spattered photos and other valuables – saving them may be possible by using some of following tips.
The first thing you need to do is CAREFULLY lift photos out water, or from being stuck in the mud. Ensure that you remove photos from albums and frames, etc, and delicately separate any that are stuck together. Be very careful to not rub or touch the surface of the wet photograph.
Fill a sink with clean, cold water, then gently rinse both sides of your photographs. Change the water often, as it is critical that it be clean water, free of dirt and other hazards to your photographs. Ensure that you DO NOT rub the surface of the photo, do not wipe the photos, just gently rinse the photographs. The last element that touches a photograph during printing is water, so it won’t damage them, just let them dry. Color photographs may turn a bit blue when wet. Don’t panic–that blue tone should disappear as they dry.
Lay each photograph, picture side up, on a clean blotting paper (such as a paper towel). Do not use paper towels that have printing on them, definitely do not use newspapers either, these can transfer their ink onto the photographs. Be sure to change the blotting paper every hour or so until the photographs are dry. Make sure that the photos are not in the path of an open window or door or near direct sunlight. Sunlight and wind can cause the photos to dry more quickly, which in turn can cause the paper to curl.
Taking extra special care when going through this process will give you the best results for saving your photos from flood damage. If you have any hesitation about doing this process yourself, seek the help of a professional photographer, they can help and can also digitally restore the photos when needed.