Tips for saving wet photographs and salvaging waterlogged documents from the Louisiana Secretary of State, State Archives.
SALVAGING WATERLOGGED DOCUMENTS
Below are some tips from the Louisiana Secretary of State on saving important documents after the Great Flood of 2016.
1. IF SUBMERGED, LEAVE SUBMERGED.
If the items were submerged, leave them submerged until they can be air dried or frozen. If possible, move to clean water!
2. AIR DRY DOCUMENTS FLAT.
In half inch piles, or if they can be separated, air dry them individually in an area where air is circulating. If available, use fans also to keep the air in the room moving. Do not point the fan directly on the documents. You could also lay screens on top of the documents to prevent them from blowing around.
3. PAPER TOWEL ABSORBENCY
Put wet material on paper towels to absorb the water while flipping the documents every few hours to encourage evaporation on both sides. Change out the paper towels as they become soaked.
4. FREEZE ‘EM
For high volume of documents, freeze the items that are unable to be air dried within 48 hours. The materials can be unthawed for air drying later. However, if the items can stay in the freezer for a few months, they will dry themselves via sublimation.
5. SAVING PHOTOGRAPHS
Air dry or freeze ASAP! Separate them from the frames or each other and spread them out on paper towels face up to dry. As mentioned in #2, using fans would aid in minimizing mold growth. Photos that are stuck together can be frozen by wrapping them in wax paper.