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How to Remove Water Stains From Printed Pictures

Christina Sloane

Water stains on printed pictures and photographic prints can decrease their aesthetic and monetary value and encourage mold growth.

Water stains on printed pictures or photos can encourage mold growth.

Though some pictures are sensitive to water damage and impossible to recover, there are a number of techniques used to treating pictures damaged in floods, storms and other wet weather conditions.

  1. Put on latex gloves so you can handle pictures without damaging them further.

  2. Take damaged pictures in a well-circulated room. Set up fans to provide additional circulation, but don’t point them directly at the pictures.

  3. Set pictures on a flat surface.

  4. Place framed pictures with the glass side down and gently remove the backing materials and then the pictures. If a picture is stuck to the glass and difficult to remove, leave the backing materials off but leave the picture in the frame and let it dry glass-side down.

  5. Gently blot excess water with plain paper towels, except with fragile pictures.

  6. Place pictures image-side-up and allow them to air dry on a flat surface. You can also hang photos on a clothesline.

  7. Contact a professional conservator if the water stains don’t evaporate on their own. The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) can provide you with a list of conservators in your area.