Water Damage Life Hacks pt 2: Family Photos



Our business here at The Lock Up Self Storage is to provide a clean, safe and secure location for you to store your valuable personal items. But if you’ve put off renting a storage unit and have suffered water damage in your basement or attic that has ruined some printed photos, we have some suggestions on how to save them.

One of the most personal items that can be ruined during a flood are the boxes of family photos. Now that everyone has digital cameras and cell phones, most images are stored on a disc or hard drive. But, if you have family photos from just a few decades ago, you likely have boxes stuffed to the brim with old snapshots of family vacations, holidays, etc. These are meaningful memories and a dousing in water can mean destruction. But if you act quickly, you can likely save most of your memories. Here are a few life hacks to keep those family photos for years to come.

  • Time is of the essence. The longer photos sit in water, the more likely they are to stick together and possibly to grow mold. You need to remove the photos from the flood waters and begin taking photos from out of their albums within 2 days to be safe.
  • Save photos with no negatives first. If you have negatives of images, you can always reprint them. You want to get to the older images that are the only copies first.
  • Use care. You don’t want to rub the surfaces of the photos because you could damage the emulsion and ruin the photograph.
  • Separate each photo and rinse clean. Use a bucket of cold clean water to dip individual photos into in order to remove any mud or dirt. Change the water frequently.
  • Dry images flat, facing up on clean, dry towels or paper towels. Don’t place photos on anything that has print or colors on it, you don’t want to risk the photo paper absorbing the inks.
  • Try to dry images inside. They’ll dry more evenly without wind and sun and this will prevent warping or curling of the paper.
  • Remove pictures from frames too. If you leave photos inside of frames that got wet, the emulsion will fuse with the glass and your image will be ruined the instant you try to remove it from the frame.
  • If you are not going to be able to tend to your photos until later, you can try to freeze them. Layer your wet images with pieces of wax paper and seal in a plastic bag. Place in the freezer. When you’re ready, you may be able to defrost the images and go through the above steps to salvage them.

Do you have other ideas on how to salvage valuable family photos from water damage? Share them with us here!

And as always, if you need a self storage unit that will protect your personal items from imminent water damage, visit us at www.thelockup.com to secure your unit now.