How to Rescue Your Wet Photos, Videos, Films and Audio

By Marsha Knackstedt


Leave A Legacy, Inc.


I think we all agree that photos and water just don’t mix. The things that we hold most dear, besides our family and loved ones, are our important photos and documents. This is a guide to help you rescue wet photos, videos, film and audio.

If they are just wet: separate everything. Stand up videos on end, open up all film and audio containers and set them out to dry. Blow a fan on them to speed the drying process. Photos like to stick together when wet. If at all possible separate them while they are still wet. Hang up photos using a line and clothes pins and a fan. Alternatively, you can also lay photos out on screens or on absorbent towels with the image side up. Remove wet photos from frames if they are still wet and dry them along with your other photos. If they won’t come out of the frame easily or without damaging the photo, stop and scan the photo through the glass before trying to remove it further.

If they are dirty: it is suggested that you rinse your photo in cold distilled water before drying. Change the water frequently as it gets dirty. Use one tub for the dirty rinse and a second tub for a clean rinse. Then set out your media to dry.

If you can’t get to all of your photos, videos, and films before they dry out, then freeze them with sheets of wax paper between them and place in a zip lock bag. This will buy you some time so that you can work on them at a later time.

If your photos are stuck together: the process will be more difficult. Two options are available for you try, steaming or soaking. You can try steaming your photos apart by holding loose edges of your photos with your fingers and holding the stuck part of your photos in the stream of steam. Gently pull the two photos apart as the steam works to loosen them. If you have a big stack of photos or there is no loose edge to work from you can try soaking the photos in a tub of water and work to separate them.

Once your items have dried out it is time to digitize them. Photos can be scanned, videos, film and old audio transferred to digital and saved to disc or digital files. View pages here:

Once images are scanned photos can be restored digitally on the computer.

Leave A Legacy, Inc. is here to help you along the way. We can digitize all media forms, restore damaged photos, and make duplicate copies for you to share with other family members.

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