Preservation Treatment for Newspapers

Crease and Fold Release Treatment for Newspapers

Supplies and Tools

  • Solution of 50% ethyl alcohol (95% proof) and 50% distilled water
  • Artist's brush or cotton swab
  • Blotting paper cut into wide strips


  • Dip the brush or swab into the solution.
  • Remove excess solution from the brush or swab.
  • Brush the solution along a crease.
  • Unfold just far enough to brush along the inner fold.
  • Place unfolded crease between two strips of blotting paper.
  • Press out remaining solution.

Humidification Chamber for Newspapers


  • Plastic storage tub with tight-fitting lid
    • Large enough to accommodate an unfolded newspaper without it touching the sides of the tub
    • Deep enough to accommodate the paper, the grid, and the reservoirs.
  • Plastic grid
    • Use a light diffuser panel used to cover fluorescent lights in drop-ceilings.
    • Cut to fit the size of the tub.
  • 4 reservoirs
    • Use plastic food storage containers.
    • Fill with room temperature water to reduce condensation inside the chamber.
  • Blotting paper
    • Cut slightly larger than the unfolded newspaper.
  • Assemble the humidification chamber 
    • Set reservoirs in four corners of tub bottom.
    • Lay plastic grid on top of reservoirs.
    • Lay newspaper on top of grid.
    • Put the lid on the tub.
  • Check the progress periodically
    • Humidifying time will vary
    • Do not leave the lid off for long, or the humid air will escape, and this will prolong the humidification process.
    • When the newspaper is ready to remove, it will lay unfolded or unrolled on its own, and it may feel cool and slightly damp.
  • Once the newspaper has relaxed, dry it between two sheets of blotting paper.

Surface Cleaning of Newspapers


  • Soft brush (cosmetic or artist)
  • Plastic eraser (white, non-abrasive vinyl)
  • Sand paper
  • Kneaded rubber eraser


  • Do not attempt to clean very brittle, fragile papers.
  • Use gentle techniques and the least amount of pressure.
  • Test a small area to be sure it will not smudge or be removed by the cleaning process.
  • Work on a clean flat surface.
  • Use brush to remove loose dirt by sweeping brush slowly and gently over surface.
  • Start at the middle and work toward the edges, brushing in one direction and in a straight line.
  • Gently rub the soiled paper with the plastic eraser in a small, circular motion.
  • To clean around tears, rub the eraser parallel to the tear, in one direction.
  • To clean along edges, rub the eraser in a single direction, moving from the paper onto the work surface.
  • As dirt is picked up by the eraser, clean the eraser by rubbing it across a sheet of sand paper.
  • Use the kneaded rubber eraser to press and lift the dirt from the paper, and then knead the soiled part back into the rest of the rubber material.
  • Use brush to remove bits of eraser from the paper and to keep work area under and around the paper clean.
  • Clean and dry the brush completely before re-use.
  • Do not over clean a document.

Archival Tape Repairs

Archival Tape Characteristics

  • Non-aging
  • Non-yellowing
  • Permanant
  • Elastic
  • pH-neutral adhesive
  • Extremely thin
  • Transparent


  • Use small pieces of tape 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.
  • Strategically tack the tear by placing small pieces in blank spaces between columns or in ads.
  • Do not use long continuous strips of tape.

For more information: