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Silver Halide Photos Cleaning water-damaged photos

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

  1. If a photo print is completely or mostly dry, first lightly remove any mud on the surface using a soft brush. If you do not have a brush or if the photo print is only partially dry (or wet), proceed directly to Step 2. Be sure to wear thin rubber gloves. We recommend the use of medical gloves or gloves used for handling food.

  2. Pass the photo print through room temperature water (approximately 20-30°C, 68-86°F) to remove large pieces of dirt. Do not forcibly scratch the photo as the surface can become damaged.

  3. Next, soak the photo print in clean, room temperature water.

  4. While submerged, gently use the tip of your finger or a soft brush to wipe the surface of the print to delicately remove any mud or sand. Be sure to start at the outside corners and move toward the center, where the subject of the photo is located, as you clean while watching how the condition changes. Do not forget to wipe dirt off the back of the print. (A painting brush can remove dirt more efficiently than your finger when cleaning the back.)

  5. If part of the image surface of the print easily turns red, yellow or white during these procedures, this indicates that the image is significantly damaged and should not be touched further. When the image surface is seriously damaged, it feels slippery to touch even when wearing thin rubber gloves. Such print image surfaces should only be lightly rinsed in water.

  6. Once cleaning is finished, rinse in clean cool water and leave to dry in the shade or in a dark place where dust will not settle on the photo. 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.