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Save Water-Damaged Books, Docs By Putting Them In The Freezer

Next time you drop a book in the bath or end up with an otherwise water-damaged periodical, document or photograph, reader pearce.kilgour recommends a simple solution: put it in the freezer.

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Ever drop a book in the tub? Don’t despair, you can save it. Put it into a plastic bag (not vacuum seal) and place in the freezer. The dehydration process, which keeps things cold, will pull the excess water out of the book. Takes up to 2 weeks depending on the size of the book. Just tell your friend that you aren’t done with it yet.

A little googling backs up pearce.kilgour’s claims — like this long-ish piece on freezing flood-damaged photos, documents and books, which featured the same advice from an Iowa State University Extension specialist. (As a native Iowan, I can say we’ve had to deal with our fair share of floods.) Their instructions are pretty similar:

First pick the item up out of the water and hold it while it drains. Then place the item in a plastic bag, and stick it in the freezer. If you have several items of approximately the same size — such as file folders or books — you can place them upright in a milk crate or box, separated with paper toweling, butcher paper or wax paper. If you’re freezing books, stand them vertically on their spines. A milk crate is a good choice for this task because it allows air flow around the items. Use a container that won’t become water-logged. Pack the items just tight enough so that they remain upright.

Ever tried this method for salvaging a water-logged book or document? Let’s hear how it worked out in the comments. Thanks pearce.kilgour!

Freeze Flood-Damaged Photos, Documents, Books [Chippewa County]