How to Preserve Your Old Photos

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How to Preserve Old Photos

stack of vintage photos

Old photos are more than just pieces of paper with print on it. They are memories. A single photograph is powerful enough to take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride to your past.

The moments from your birthday parties or your graduation day are well preserved in your mind. Little do you know that these precious moments will live on as photographs forever. Old photos are irreplaceable.

However, in this digital age, the knowledge and expertise to preserve old paper photos is not something common. Preserving old photos starts with keeping them in a place that doesn't affect the chemicals used in the photographs. When preserved well, old photographs last generations.

 

How to Preserve Old Photos at Home?

At home, there are certain factors that affect how well an old photo stays preserved.

 

A Well-Ventilated Room

box of vintage photos

The best way to preserve old photos is to keep them in a well-ventilated area where air circulates well. This helps to prevent any sort of mold or other organic substances from damaging the old photos.

 

Temperature and Air Moisture

air conditioning

The cooler the storage space of old photos, the better. Any temperature more than 75 degrees tends to react with the chemicals used in the photos and leads to fading of the colors. Moisture also plays a crucial role when it comes to damaging old photographs. Avoid placing them in humid places of the house like the basement.

 

Light

indoor light switch

If photos are exposed to light, it could lead to eventual discoloration and fading of the ink. If you keep old photos completely enclosed then no need to worry about light. For open prints, keep them away from the light in a dark place.

 

How to Handle Old Photos Properly?

To preserve old photos, it is important to handle them with proper care.

Whenever you are handling an old photo, make sure that your hands are clean and that you have not applied any lotion. Even when you handle photos with clean hands, hold them by the edges so that the oil and chemicals in your fingerprints do not leave any mark on the old photos. If you have old photos that you want to show to others frequently then buy yourself a pair of pure cotton gloves. This will keep your old photos safe and help you preserve them for a long time.

Just in case you see old photos having discolored parts or spots on them, you can opt for photo digitization. This will help you get high-resolution copies of precious memories to preserve forever.

 

How to Choose the Right Container to Preserve Old Photos?

box of old black and white photos

Other than perfect room conditions and proper handling of old photos, keeping them in the right container is essential to preserve them.

Plastic and paper photo albums and photo boxes are two of the safest ways to preserve old photos. If you prefer using albums to preserve the photos, go for acid-free and lignin-free papers. For plastics, go for the ones made with uncoated cellulose triacetate, uncoated polyester film, polypropylene, and polyethylene.  In case you live in a place that is humid, avoid using plastic enclosures since that might stick to the images.

 

The 2 Dos and Don'ts of Preserving Old Photos

  • Do use a pencil if you have to write the name of the person or the place in the photo or date it. Write on one of the corners of the backside. A better option is to choose a photo container that allows you to write at the top or bottom of each one. This way you don’t risk getting pencil marks on any part of old photos.

  • Don’t use paper clips or rubber bands to keep photos together. Even tapes and adhesive can damage old photos. Don’t use ballpoint pens on photos since the ink might bleed and leave permanent marks on precious photos.

 

What to Do When Photos Are Ruined?

Despite taking all the necessary precautions, situations out of your reach can damage your photos. Moving, flooding, fire, and even the simple passage of time.

The good news is that there are services for restoring old photos. The possibilities are almost unlimited. You can restore images that have lost color over the years, torn, burned, wet or even broken photos.

Make good memories last for generations by properly preserving your old photos!

 

 

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