Flood Fairies to the rescue: Our Top Tips for Saving Water Damaged Photos

20150422 Sydney weather

This image was taken by a neighbour of mine showing a tree down in her street.  With wide spread wind and flood damage I wanted to let you know that there is hope if you have had photos damaged in this wild Sydney weather.

Here are some of our tips to salvaging your precious memories:

DO

  • Start as soon you can
    • Obviously easier said than done but this could be the most important action you can take.
    • The longer your photos remain wet, the more susceptible they will be to permanent damage.
    • Delay may result in loss or blurring of the image as well as disintegration of the paper support.
    • Mould is a major concern if photos remain wet for more than two or three days as mould eventually will destroy all pictorial information.
  • Remove dirt first
    • Clean the photos while they are still wet.
    • You can try submerging the dirty photos in cold, clean water. Gentle agitation may be helpful. If this doesn’t remove all of the dirt, gently dab or rub the image with a damp cotton ball or a soft cloth.
    • Do this carefully. The image layer may be fragile and may be damaged by vigorous rubbing.
    • It’s a good idea to first test this treatment on a less important print of the same type to see what might happen. If possible, use distilled water for the final rinse.
  • Handle with care
    • Because wet photos are fragile and easily torn, handle them very gently, preferably supporting them on the non-image side.  Place your separated photos image side up on a sheet to absorb moisture.
  • Contact a professional
    • If you can’t start straight away please contact us for more advice on freezing wet photos to be dealt with at a later date.

DON’T

  • Try to dry photos still in albums
  • Allow stacked photos to dry before trying to separate them
  • Attempt to clean, flatten or treat in anyway without testing on a less important photo
  • Use a microwave to dry photos
  • Use hot air to dry photos or albums

Once this #stormageddon is over we encourage you to take steps towards ensuring your photos are not at risk in the future.

For more tips you can visit the Save Your Photos Alliance

Stay warm and dry and remember there is no bad weather only inappropriate clothing

Mara

* image credit Kelly Sweeny

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