Is There A Way to Salvage Your Water-Damaged Books & Documents?

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Is There A Way to Salvage Your Water-Damaged Books & Documents?

pile of paper

There is nothing more frustrating, inconvenient, and disruptive than dealing with water damage at home. Not only do you have to handle flood removal for your impacted property, but you also must save all your valuables, furnishings, and other household items. On top of these are your paperwork, whether it is your favorite books or pertinent documents, such as passport, government papers, and insurance policy. 

But if your paper items get damaged by the water, is there still a way to salvage them? Here are some practical steps for you to take:

1. Inspection

The initial step to take is to assess the severity of the water damage and inspect all your belongings. As far as your books and documents are concerned, here’s what you can do:

  • Check all your paper documents and come up with a list of books and documents that have been impacted.
  • Wrap them in wax paper, pack them in plastic boxes, and freeze them.
  • If covered in mud, rinse off the debris before freezing them.
  • Freeze your documents until you decide to undergo the restoration process.

2. Preparation

Before the actual restoration process, there are a few steps you’ll need to take for the preparation. With that, you’ll have to set the drying environment and make your tools and equipment pieces readily available. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Prepare a book press or heavy objects, such as bricks or a telephone directory.
  • Gather press boards used to sandwich the books to reshape them.
  • Install one or more fans in place for your drying environment.
  • Set aside paper towels and blotter paper as well as wax paper or freezer paper.
  • Wear disposable gloves, and ensure that the drying place is clean, dry, and with low humidity levels.

3. Actual air drying process

After you have prepared all the necessary items, you can then begin the drying process. For the uninitiated, this is the most affordable method of bringing wet documents back to their dry state without the need for specialized equipment. However, keep in mind that this process will involve lots of time and effort to dry and restore your items. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Set the wet documents in place to be dried off. Place unprinted paper towels, blotter paper, or blank newsprint in between the pages of the books. After you’re done interleaving all the pages, position your books or documents “up” for drying.   
  • Once the documents are interleaved and standing on absorbent papers, turn the fan on and keep it on for several hours. Just be sure that the fan is positioned upwards and not directly at them.
  • Consistently check on the drying process and replace the interleaving sheets regularly so that all sides get dried evenly.
  • Once completely dry, gently form your documents back into their normal shape, place a weight on top of them, and leave them pressed for several days.  
  • After a few days, these books and documents will be all back in shape.


At this point, we’ve covered what it takes to salvage your water-damaged books and documents. To that end, be sure to consider all the practical steps outlined above—from inspection to preparation down to actual air drying. Ultimately, it’s best to work with a water damage restoration company that can help you with water removal, cleanup, and property restoration!

Are you in need of flood restoration in Utah after a storm? You’ve come to the right place! We provide water restoration in Utah, apart from flooring installation, mold remediation, testing, and other services. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services!