Silver Halide Photos : Cleaning water-damaged photos in albums

For entire albums of photo prints damaged due to immersion in water, mud, sand

  1. 1.Pocket albums and albums with adhesive plastic sheets do not have a path for water to escape, so photo prints may remain wet for a long period of time. In such cases, the image surface of the photo print may be red, yellow or whiter due to damage. In particular, if the image appears as though colors have dissolved, the image may be washed away simply by immersion in water. We recommend that you sponge dirt off the plastic sheet and take a photo of the image with a digital camera or scan it before cleaning.
    For other types of albums, we recommend that you perform cleaning after drying the album.
  2. 2.First remove any dirt, mud or sand using a soft brush.
  3. 3.Next, soak the lightly cleaned album in clean room temperature (20-30°C, 68-86°F) water. Be sure to wear thin rubber gloves.
    To make cleaning easier, it may be convenient to cut or disassemble album pages before soaking them in water. If you would like to keep the album in its original form, you will need a container large enough to soak the whole album.
  4. 4.Take care not to damage the photo image on the surface, and slowly and gently peel each photo away from the plastic cover or album backing paper. Lightly rinse the photo prints you have removed in water.
    If the photo prints are not dry, you should be able to remove any attached dirt simply by rinsing. In images with particularly serious damage, part of the image may be lost simply by peeling away the plastic layer. In such cases, only remove the print and do not touch the image surface more than necessary or rinse too forcefully.
  5. 5.Once you have peeled away the photo prints, rinse in clean, cool water and leave to dry in the shade or in a dark place where dust will not settle on the photos. It is fine to spread photos out on newspaper, etc. or hang them to dry using clothes pins. Rapid drying using hair dryers, etc. is not recommended as it may cause the photo print to curl up.