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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Clean, Dry, Repair and Disinfect Electronic Media

By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff

Electronic media can be salvaged after a water damage if treated in a timely manner. If response actions are taken within 72 to 96 hours, success ration may reach 95% to 100%.

In some cases, professional expertise and equipment are required and salvage cannot be done in home conditions. Whatever approach you choose to take when salvaging electronic media, never attempt to dry with heat.

Hard Drives

Learn how to clean, dry, repair, and disinfect electronic media after water damage. Simple methods to salvage hard drives, floppy diskettes, video and audio cassettes, reel to reel tapes, records, phonodiscs, and microfilmHard drives may not be able to be salvaged depending on the extent of the damage. Usually, recovering data from a water damaged hard drive will require the use of the expertise that may be available only in professional data restoration labs.

Floppy Diskettes

If floppy diskettes have been damaged by water they should be cleaned with a special cleaning solvent prior to attempting any information retrieval. The diskette read heads are sensitive to contamination and the floppies must be carefully cleaned to prevent a "head crash".

The diskettes should be removed from their jackets and dried. To do so, cut the edge of the jacket with non-magnetic scissors and remove the diskette with gloved hands. Wash in several water baths and dry with lint free towels.

Information should be copied onto new floppies. Insert the diskettes into a new jacket (from a new diskette) and copy with a disk drive.

Video and Audio Cassettes and Reel to Reel Tapes

If there are no master copies, dismantle the cassette and wash the tape on its reel with lukewarm water. Support the tape vertically and air dry it, or air dry by laying it on absorbent sheets. The box can be air dried as well.

If the reels are dirty, remove the tape and wash the reel with detergent and water. An alternative is to replace the reel. Return the tape to its original box, after the box has dried.

Records and Phonodiscs

Remove the record or disc from its sleeve. If labels are damaged they may be dried like other paper materials. Wash the disc or record to remove dirt and air dry the record or disc while allowing free circulation of air.


The most important thing is to keep the film wet. The film must be processed while still wet to prevent the gelatin coating from sticking to the next layer.

Recommended Reading
How to Fix Water Damage on an iPod
Water Damaged iPhone: Facts, Quick Fixes, and Your Last Resort

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