A few times I’ve checked e-how (How to do just everything) for different reasons. It offers a simple and handy solution to some of our questions. Since photos and books are amongst those which are normally damaged during a flood or by an untoward event, you might want to check these:
1. Set the environment for restoring the photos by lowering the humidity and temperature in the room. Limit the amount of direct sunlight. Make sure the room is as dry as possible.
2. Prioritize the photos. Fix the photos with the most damage or those without copies first. Repair color photos before black and white photos.
3. Stick the damaged photos in the freezer if you don’t have time to repair them. Put the photos into a zip bag, place the bag into a container and put them in the freezer. The cold stops the photos from deteriorating and may even suck some of the moisture out them.
4. Clean the photos in clear, cold water. Be careful not to touch the surface of the photos. Instead, swirl them around in the water to remove any mud, dirt or grime.
5. Lay the wet photos face up on blotter paper. Blotter paper is an ultra-absorbent type of paper designed to absorb moisture away from the object placed on it. You want to dry the photo as soon as possible or it may begin to mold.
6. Place small weights to the corners of the photos to limit the edges curling. Be careful not the put the weights too far onto the surface of the photo or they could damage the emulsion.
7. Hang the photos from a clothesline. If you have a number of photos to dry, carefully pin them up to a clothes line and turn oscillating fans on them. Be careful to place the fans at a safe distance so they don’t cause the photos to curl in the breeze.