by April Reinhardt
(last updated August 15, 2016)
While perusing Grandma's old photographs, did you spill liquid or food on them? Don't panic! The photo isn't ruined. There is a way to clean old photographs. Follow these steps to clean old photographs, and then read the pointers for preserving them for future generations:
The previous steps are not intended for very old photos, such as ferrotypes. And never, ever use water or liquid on photograph negatives, as you will completely destroy the image. It is best to take very old photographs to a professional restoration artist to have them cleaned, but you can enhance and preserve old photographs yourself if you have a computer and a photo editor. I use Picasa2 as my photo editor, and have scanned and then enhanced many old photos for my personal library. Follow these steps to preserve and enhance your old photographs with a photo editor:
When cleaning old photographs, try to determine the processing used for the particular print. Water will ruin certain types of prints. Avoid scratching or rubbing photographs while cleaning them, as doing so may etch the print. Avoid writing with ink on the fronts – or backs – of photographs, as the ink can transfer through to the print. If you must write on an old photograph, use pencil and write very lightly.
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