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Why Acid Free?

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Have you ever looked through an old photo album and been saddened by the yellowing or fading of the ink on the images? Much of this has to do with how the photos are stored.

Many photo albums of the past have been laden with acid, found in the paper backing, the transparent film or the worst: the sticky sheets laid over the photos to hold them in place. If you have pictures in these kinds of albums, do yourself a favor and remove them as soon as possible. Even if your best storage for them is an acid free photo box and you don’t have time to transfer them to new photo albums, do it.

Acid in photo preservation products such as albums, paper, pens, etc., just like the acid of a soda deteriorating your tooth enamel, can deteriorate your precious memories. The acid found in non-archival quality items can actually migrate from the item they were on to any porous surface, like a photograph, ticket stub, or any paper item that you want to keep safe. This acid has the ability to eat away at the ink leaving you with faded or yellowed items.

Acidity is measured on the pH Scale. pH levels range from 0 to 14. Everything 0-6 are acidic, everything 8-14 are bases and 7 is neutral. When looking for acid-free items, the acidity level must be of 7 or higher. If you are unsure of the acidity level in some older photo albums or storage solutions, you can actually buy a pen that tests the pH level; just look for a pH Tester Pen.

It is much easier than one would think to find acid-free paper and supplies. Most items are labeled if they are acid free. Scrapbooking supplies actually get their increased cost from the extra care that manufacturers go to in order to ensure a proper pH level; however, many items not labeled for scrapbooking are also acid-free.

Take the time to ensure that your memories will last for generations by ensuring they are stored in all acid free supplies.

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