The Kitchen Staple That Effortlessly Saves Water-Damaged Photos

Losing photos due to water damage in the case of leaks, flooding, or another type of accident is a distressing way to lose memories. While there's no guarantee that every photo can be fully restored, there are steps you can take to try and salvage water-damaged photos. You'll need a tub of cold water, a paper towel, and your freezer.

When trying to save water-damaged photos, you must act quickly to have a better chance of saving them. Remove them from the scene, separating them from each other if they're stuck, and avoid touching the front side of the photos. Next, place them in the tub or sink and rinse them repeatedly. When rinsing, hold them by their edges and gently rinse them in a bowl of clean water or under flowing water in the sink. This is to stop photos that are bleeding. For photos stuck in frames, rinse both in gentle flowing water until the pressure separates the photo from the glass. 

When to use your freezer during the drying process

After rinsing, lay them all out on clear, white paper towels and blot them with the same paper towels until they dry. When blotting, be sure to use a gentle touch. You don't want to rub or scrub and end up damaging the photo. Lay them out to air dry in a cool area without dust. To prevent curling as the photos dry, place a heavy, clean book on top of them (if the colors aren't running). Keep in mind that the drying can take a long time. If you can't do all this at the time of the damage, the freezer can help. 

Take the photos out as quickly as you can, place them in between wax paper sheets, store them in a zip-lock bag, and keep them in the freezer until you can take them out. Defrost and carry out the drying process. An alternative to DIY is seeking the help of a professional like a photograph conservator. They have specialized tools and techniques to repair wet photos – especially if the damage is really serious.