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Need help from this group - Flood

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Spaceghost33, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Spaceghost33

    Spaceghost33 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 23, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    Christopher Stelter
    I'm asking for advice on saving some of my photo albums. My wife and I had some of our photo albums stored (in plastic totes) in my sister-in-laws basement. The sewage system backed up and flooded the basement (1 foot of water) this past weekend. Most of my photos are now very wet and I'm wondering if it's possible to disinfect photographs. There's plenty of stuff on the internet about dealing with wet photos but not necessarily how to disinfect them if they've been exposed to contaminated flood water.

    ANY help would be appreciated.

    The good news is that none of our wedding or honeymoon pictures were involved. Alot of what I had I have in digital form as well. There were some from my film days though. I have alot of negatives, just not sure if I have everything. Wondering if the negatives can be cleaned/disinfected as well.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    I would attempt to dry them and scan them to a digital copy. Maybe call a restoration company. I hope you can save them
  3. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Film cleaner should do it--not lens cleaner. You may find it difficult to find a store that can ship it, but a local store should be able to order it for you. The cleaner is toxic and inflammable and so is considered hazmat. It is not that toxic to humans, i.e. don't drink it. Don't smoke around it either. It is also really great for removing lots of other stuff as well.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I would contact Kodak or, if that doesn't work try Agfa. Someone there has answered this question or ones like it many times before. (Unless that person has been laid off due to the digital revolution!) Remember that standard photographic prints were processed wet, so water, or at least clean water, is not automatic disaster.

    The top professional film lab in a nearby large city might be able to help you out, too.

    Re disinfecting, I would suggest you call your state department of health. Certainly some of the little beasties will automatically die if they dry out. An expert there could at least give you an assessment of any health risk, though probably not photo-specific advice.

    I am all for internet information but I would rather consult experts in matters like this. My favorite internet cartoon: On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog
  5. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    It'll be very tedious, but film negatives can be cleaned with a thorough rinsing (after all, they were rinsed following original development) in mildly warm (about 75 degrees F) clean running water (if you can find any in Chicago). Don't scrub them, of course, but do rinse them thoroughly -- the longer, the better -- to be certain all the effluent is rinsed away.

    If the gunk didn't contain any chemicals that dissolve the emulsion, you oughta be good to go. But...

    Then, you'll have to dry them! A dust-free drying area is the best place to do that, if you can find or create one. Take a tip from auto body shops and hang a clear plastic tarp to enclose your drying space and hang the films inside. Keep the drying area at normal room temperature with minimal air movement and you should be okay.

    If your negs are cut into strips and stored inside glassine sleeves, you may have a tough time separating the film from the sleeve if any of that effluent has dried inside the sleeve. Be very gentle when trying to remove it.

    As for any prints you have that were soaked, you're probably out of luck. I don't know of any way to salvage photographic paper that's been contaminated with chemical stew, but perhaps someone who is familiar with photo restoration can point you in a helpful direction.

    Good luck! Sounds like a big project ahead of you.
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