Flood: Drying Books and Valuable Papers


If you can't work with your books immediately, freeze them to control mold growth.

Dry books and papers slowly.

  1. If paper is damp, sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder between the pages, to absorb moisture. Leave powder for several hours, then brush off.
  2. Place books on end with pages separated.
  3. When books are partially dry, pile and press them to keep pages from crumpling.
  4. Alternate drying and pressing until thoroughly dry. Use a fan to hasten drying.
  5. When books are nearly dry, apply low heat with an electric iron. Separate the pages to prevent musty odors.
  6. Place books in closed containers with moth crystals to help stop mold growth.

Photocopy important documents and papers. Even if they seem to have dried successfully, they may later disintegrate because of materials in the flood water.

For more information, read "Procedures for Salvage of Water-Damaged Library Materials" by the Library of Congress. Check with your local library for a copy.

Or call your County Extension Service for further recommendations. You'll find their 800 number in the telephone book under University of Maine Extension Service.

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