How to Save Water-Damaged Papers and Photos

You are currently viewing How to Save Water-Damaged Papers and Photos
  • Post author:
  • Post category:Blog

Salvaging photos, books, and documents after every flooding incident is traumatic and never easy, since most of them are priceless. Fortunately, you can save most of your papers, documents, and photos, but only if you act fast and work with care and patience.

In this article, we’ll give you tips on how to save water-damaged papers and photos so that you can still cherish memories and sentiments with your family.


Documents that Can Be Saved from Water Damage

There are several important documents that need saving from floods, such as:

  • Certificates (Birth Certificates, Baptism Certificates, Marriage Certificates, and Work Certificates)
  • Titles (Land Titles, House Titles, and Car Titles)
  • Contracts (Client Contracts and other business-related contracts)
  • Licenses/Warranties
  • Letters
  • Tax Documents
  • Photo Albums and Photos
How to Save Water-Damaged Documents

After a flood, it is important to take immediate action to save your documents and other papers to avoid replacing or losing them forever. Here are some simple steps you can do:

Early Salvaging

Step No. 1: Carefully relocate your papers, documents, or photos to a dry area having direct sunlight. The quicker you remove the papers from the water, the better.

Step No. 2: For paperbacks or books, put paper towels in-between pages and lay the books flat when drying them so the pages may have air in between. You can do a 20-page spacing out for the paper towels and avoid using paper towels with designs, so as not to absorb the print on your documents.

Step No. 3: Use a fan to dry paper faster, not a hairdryer or other substitutes. The fan can increase the drying process more efficiently; remember to put the fan near the papers, facing up and away.

Step No. 4: You can place paperweights on the edges of each paper so that it will not curl and fly away.

Step No. 5: Every now and then try to replace wet paper towels with dry ones to make the drying process faster.

Late Salvaging

If after the flooding you happen to be busy with other things or you forget to dry your water-damaged papers immediately, there is still a solution — put the water-damaged papers in a Ziploc bag and freeze them. This will prevent mold from growing on them or the papers from deteriorating.


Photos that Can Be Saved from Water Damage

Saving photos can be tricky if you are not careful and don’t know how to handle them properly. Typically, there are three kinds of photos and each can be recovered differently.

1. Loose photos
2. Photo albums
3. Framed photos
1. Recovering loose photos
  • Move photos immediately, but with care, to a dry area. Better start with photos that have no negatives or have negative damage.
  • Clean photos with cool and clear water to remove dirt or mud, but do not rub the images. Replace the water frequently.
  • Place the photos facing-up using a paper towel and never expose them from direct sunlight.
  • To prevent curling, you can place paperweights on the edges of the photos. Don’t forget to replace damp or wet paper towels regularly with dry ones.
2. Recovering photo albums

The drying of photo albums is the same as that loose photos, but small steps must be taken beforehand.

  • Transfer the photo album to a dry area.
  • Gently and carefully remove each photo from the wet album covers. If they are stuck together, carefully separate them.
  • Avoid touching the wetness on the photo’s surface.
  • When done, begin the contents restoration process for loose photos.
3.  Recovering framed photos

Drying framed photos is similar to drying photo albums; the only difference is the removal of the frames.

  • Immediately remove framed photos from the water.
  • Try to remove the back of the picture frame.
  • Gently remove the photo from the frame and follow the same steps for air drying loose photos. If the photo got stuck to the glass, let it dry first as it is, with the glass facing down.
Content & Document Drying Process

With flood- or water-damaged papers, documents, and photos, it is highly essential to act quickly to stop the progression of the damage. At we offer expert  to professionally and properly restore your documents to pre-loss condition.

You can contact us at (866) 599-0871 or through our website at for your residential and commercial damage restoration servicesespecially when it comes to property inventory and salvaging sentimental belongings.

ServiceMaster by PWF‘s content and document drying restoration teams will present you and your insurance representative with as many cost-effective options as possible.

We have a team of technicians that uses advanced tools and techniques to restore documents by:

  • Vacuum freeze-drying
  • Deodorizing
  • Microbial disinfecting
  • Ultrasonic separation
  • Sanitizing
  • Gamma-ray irradiation

Since 1990, ServiceMaster by PWF, your , has been providing comprehensive emergency restoration services to homes and businesses in Clay, Duval, St. Johns, and Pinellas Counties. We also offer other services like:

For details, check out our website at