Flood Recovery Booklet

Drying Your Materials

Items that are damp should be air-dried. Place them in a cool, dry space equipped with fans. Items that have been completely soaked, that cannot be air-dried within 48 hours, should be freeze-dried. Wrap them in freezer or waxed paper, and store them in a freezer. Freezing stalls the growth of mold and, most importantly, buys time. Please note: Consult professional experts before you unfreeze your items.

Below are instructions from the American Institute for Conservation and the National Park Service (in charge of the National Register of Historic Places) on how to properly dry various water-damaged materials and structures.

Buildings: Remove water-soaked insulation from the attic and, if possible, from behind walls. Allow plaster to dry gradually, because forced drying may cause further damage.

Framed artwork: Remove frames from paintings in a clean, dry place. Keep wet paintings horizontal and paint-side up. For art on paper or photographs: If image appears stuck to glass, leave in frame and dry glass-side down.

Photographs: Rinse mud off photos (using gentle water stream or by immersion and gentle agitation). Thoroughly wet photos can stay wet in a container of clean water. Dry or freeze within 48 hours. Freeze or air dry damp or partially wet photographs.

Wet or partly wet books: Pack these snugly, spine down, and freeze.

Damp books: Air dry--stand upright on paper towels about every 50 pages. Replace paper toweling frequently.

Clothing/textiles: Air dry or bag wet textiles in plastic and freeze. Dip half-saturated textiles in clean water and air dry or freeze.

Furniture (wood): Lift furniture above water level. Dab dry with clean cloths. If mud-covered, rinse immediately with clean water. Wrap with plastic and dry slowly, under weights if possible. Leave drawers in place but remove contents. Don't stack furnishings that might stick together.

Furniture (upholstered): Try to dry a bit more slowly than plain wood furniture.

Baskets: Pad basketry with uninked newsprint; keep lids on; dry slowly.

Wood, ceramics, metal: Rinse in a mild solution of water and gentle, non-detergent cleaner. Air dry.