Flooding can put documents and books at risk. Water plus the humidity in the air after flooding can cause permanent damage to them. However, you can save most of your papers and books as long as you’re careful and work fast.
Start water damage repair on photos, books and documents within two days of the flooding or they will become moldy and impossible to save.
Saving Photos from Water Damage
You’ll want to remove photos from frames while they’re still drenched. If you try to remove them when they’ve dried, you can damage the photos. Gently rinse the photo and frame with water, then carefully remove the photo. The exception to this is for very old photos as a professional conservator might need to restore them as they can be more sensitive to damage.
Remove the photos from the water or mud and be careful not to touch the front of the photos. Place them image side up on a rigid surface and rinse with clean water if the photos have dirt on them. Lay them on blotting paper or a paper towel to allow them to dry. Make sure you dry them inside, so they aren’t damaged by the sunlight. Change paper towels every 1-2 hours.
If you can’t dry the photos right away, try freezing them. Make sure you rinse the dirt off of them and stack them between sheets made from wax paper, so they’re easier to get apart when you are ready to work on drying them.
Saving Books and Documents from Water Damage
Be careful when removing documents from water and gently rinse them if they’re dirty. Lay them on a flat surface on top of blotted paper like paper towels and keep changing the paper towels until the papers are dry. Do not dry them outside as sunlight and wind can cause them to curl. Keep them inside and use an oscillating fan to increase drying time and air circulation.
Waterlogged books can be placed flat to dry with absorbent paper between every 20 to 50 wet pages. The blotting paper should be changed every few hours until the book is dry. If the book can be placed vertically, fan the pages out so it can air dry. This can be sped up by using a fan.
If you cannot dry paper or books that are exposed to water immediately, seal them in ziplock bags and put them inside your freezer. This can help preserve them until you’re ready to dry them completely. If they smell musty after they’re dry, place them inside an open box and put that inside a closed container. Place baking soda in the closed container to absorb the odors, but do not let the baking soda come in contact with the books.
For delicate papers, photos or books, a professional is a safer way to make sure everything is dried and preserved. They can salvage sensitive documents to make sure they can be dried and restored. If you ever experience water damage in your home, call the professionals at PuroClean Certified Restoration to get an estimate for water damage repair in Springfield Missouri.