Freeze Drying Wet Papers and Books

Drying Books and Papers with Your Freezer

After a flood you may be left with valuable documents and books that need drying and cleaning. The most common method of drying paper is to simply lay the items out in a dry place where they will air dry. But if you have documents where the water has already begun breaking down the paper, air drying may take too long to prevent further damage. In such a case you can use your freezer to speed the drying process and prevent any further damage.

The Process

Start by placing items in sealed plastic bags. Use separate bags for each item otherwise multiple items will freeze together and damage one another during the freezing process. Place your plastic bags in your freezer and let them sit for a couple of weeks. During the initial stages of the freeze the damage to the paper ceases.

After a couple of weeks take your items out other freezer, remove them from the bags, and set them on a towel in a dry, well ventilated space. As they thaw flip them over every ten minutes or so in order to allow the towel to absorb any remaining moisture. Once completely thawed, leave the items on the towel until they are thoroughly dried. Overnight will probably be sufficient for single pieces of paper; books may take days or weeks depending on their size and thickness.

Since paper tends to retain a musty odor even after it dried, you may want to put your dry papers into a cardboard box along with an open box of baking soda. The baking soda will absorb most of the odors within a couple of days. Just be careful that the baking soda never comes in direct contact with the paper.