If your documents, photographs or books are wet following the recent floods, immediate action needs to be taken to prevent mould growth and deterioration of the paper. Consequently, the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) Preservation and Conservation Laboratory, Heritage Library Division offers a few tips to assist persons whose paper based materials suffered water damage.
Tip #1 - Personal Safety is Top Priority!
Use gloves, goggles and waterproof boots for your own protection. Also use caution when handling your wet documents, books and photographs as they may be extremely fragile.
Tip #2 - Air-drying is the Best Method!
Gentle air-drying is best for your treasured family heirlooms. Though sunlight, hair dryers and irons can make for quick drying, they can cause irreversible damage to precious items. Make sure there is good ventilation around your drying space by using fans to circulate the air. Air flow helps accelerate the drying process.
Tip #3 - Treat Photographs Tenderly!
Be extremely tender with your photographs. Following are some tips for preserving your photographs:
- Carefully remove photographs from damaged albums.
- Use a gentle stream of clear water to rinse mud off wet photographs
- Do not touch the surfaces.
- Air dry photographs, with the image up, on clean absorbent surfaces (towels, paper towels, unprinted newsprint).
Tip #4 - Air Dry Paper-based Documents!
Your precious paper-based can be air dried. Do place the single pages of the document on a clean absorbent surface to air dry.
Tip #5- Place Books Upright to Drain!
Your precious books may be saved if dried properly. Following are some tips for drying your books.
- Do not press water out of or open dripping wet books as this can cause further damage.
- Place books in an upright position on an absorbent surface to drain.
- When books are moderately wet, air dry by inserting a paper towel about every 50 pages. This interleaving helps remove moisture from the inside of the book. Change the interleaving when wet.
- When books are just damp, stand them up, with pages fanned open to continue drying.