When disasters strike, whether it's floods, fires, or leaking pipes, water damage can be a major issue for many important public records and beloved personal treasures. From albums of records to CDs and DVDs, it's important to know how to properly clean and rescue these items for the future. Nancy Kraft, from the Department of Preservation at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, demonstrates the best way to restore water damaged records in this video, produced by Michael Barnes, of GazetteOnline. The most successful method for drying frozen and water-damaged materials is freeze-drying.
This method converts the ice crystals that are in and on the registers into water vapor, which is extracted from the registers under vacuum pressure. Whether it's a hurricane, an earthquake, or secondary damage caused by a fire, many disasters involve extensive water damage to printed and electronic records. To restore water damaged records, start by removing any excess water from the surface of the item. Use a soft brush to gently remove any dirt or debris that may have been left behind.
If possible, place the item in a cool dry place with low humidity. If the item is too wet to move, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to remove as much water as possible. Once the item is dry enough to move, place it in a freezer set at -20°C for 24 hours. This will help prevent mold growth and further damage.
After 24 hours, take the item out of the freezer and place it in a freeze-drying chamber. This chamber will extract any remaining moisture from the item using vacuum pressure. Once the item has been freeze-dried, it should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place with low humidity. This will help preserve the item for years to come.
By following these steps, you can successfully restore water damaged records and preserve them for future generations.