Yes wet documents can be shredded!
Unfortunately water damage occurs and with it many cases personal or business documents are affected. When paper is damaged by water, there is an immediate need to take the necessary steps to preserve them or destroy them to prevent mold or mildew. Left unattended wet paper can not only lead to problems with mold and mildew.
What to do if your documents were damaged by water?
- Determine if you need to save the documents. If so move them to a cool dry place right away because mold will start to grow in only 2-3 days. Take them out of the boxes. Don’t try to separate them. If possible keep them in stacks about ¼” thick. Place them on something absorbent like towels and change them regularly. Then get a dehumidifier to remove the moister in the air. Also, get a fan to keep the air moving. These steps will help prevent mold and mildew. If they need to be professionally restored there is a process of Freeze Drying the documents but it is a very expensive time consuming process.
- If you decide that you don’t want to keep the documents they still need to be shredded because information can still be recovered by identity thieves.
- If possible dry the documents they are easier to shred. Go through the same process described above. Since there is a tendency for the papers to stick together after they dry the shredding process is slower.
- If time does not permit drying the documents they can be shredded wet but it will be more expensive and take twice as long because the documents will have to be feed into the shredder at a lesser and slower volume so it does not clog or clump up in the shredder.
What If My Documents Are Already Moldy?
- Mold can be a health hazard to people, so limit handling moldy items and being in the area they are in. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Allergic reactions may be hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Allergic reactions to mold are very common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. Mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold allergic and non-allergic individuals.
- Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores. In order to limit your exposure to airborne mold, you may want to wear an N-95 respirator, available at many local hardware stores.
- Wear gloves. Long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended. Ordinary household rubber gloves may be used. Avoid touching mold or moldy items with your bare hands.
- If you don’ want or need to keep the documents call a professional document shredding company and let them know the papers are moldy. Let them know if they are dry or still moist. They will come prepared to handle and shred the document properly.
If you have wet or moldy documents give FileShred a call [phone] we have the experiences and processes in place to safely shred your wet papers.