Monday, February 4, 2013

Flooded Album, Paper & Photos, Hurricane Sandy

I have started to get calls about the recovery and conservation of flood soaked documents, photos, scrapbooks, and albums from Hurricane Sandy.

I am dealing with these items on a case-by-case basis because many of these items are too toxic for me to deal with in my studio.  These items have been soaked with sea water, sewage and various chemicals.  So please be careful on how you deal with them and tell your clients to deal with them. Never touch them with bare hands and please look at them outdoors or in a well ventilated area.

Many of the people who call me are also storing these items in such a way that will promote the growth of mold, which will hurt humans too!

Please read the steps below and feel free to share with clients that are dealing with these types of items.

Things you will need to arrest the damage:
disposable gloves
dust mask
old clothes
untreated dust wipes
clean NEW cardboard box
packing tape
paper towels
wax paper
silica gel
and bleach cleaning spray

-- Preferably with disposable gloves, goggles, and a dust mask, bring the books and photos into your bathtub/shower area when your shower is dry.

-- Wear old clothing that you will wash immediately separate from your other clothing.

-- Continue to dry the albums with a hairdryer on a low setting, until the books and binding are very dry.

-- This will help stop the mold growth and blow away some of the dirt.

-- Then gently wipe the books and photos down with a DISPOSABLE UNTREATED (no mineral oil, scents or chemicals) dust cloths, continually throwing away the dust cloths after each side is used or dirty.  You do not want to transfer mold or dirt from one page or image to the next. I like these Pleade Dust and Allergen Cloths or any other variation will do. You can find these at Duane Reade, CVS and most grocery stores.

-- Place wax paper in between pages of the album and/or photos to keep them from contaminating each other.

-- After this place in a clean, NEW cardboard box along with some of my favorite Dry-Packs Silica Gel Packs. These come 5 to a package and work very well.

-- Do not tightly seal your box, leave one or two air holes for additional moisture to escape. You can punch a few holes in your box with a pencil to let air escape.

-- Remove the hairdryer from your shower, spray your shower/tub area with bleach spray and rinse down well.

-- Rinse off your goggles with bleach spray, then dry with paper towels.

-- Throw away immediately: dust cloths, gloves and dust mask. Tie trash bag shut and remove from your apartment.

-- Take off contaminated clothing, place in a laundry bag separate from the rest of your laundry. Wash separately in the hottest water, and dry clothing on the hottest setting.

-- Store photos and albums away from people, but in an open air setting, away from moisture or a bathroom. They can be in the corner of a room, but I wouldn't store them in a closet or basement. Keep away from mice, silverfish, roaches. Mice and insects love the taste of gelatin (from your photos), paper and glue…

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