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10 Tips for Scanning Old Photos


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Clean Your Scanner
Scanner glass can get mighty dirty, what with dust and fingerprints, so keep it clean.
Scanner glass can get mighty dirty, what with dust and fingerprints, so keep it clean.
Thomas Northcut/Getty Images/Thinkstock

So you scan your glowing, flawless picture of the sunset over a Thai beach, only to notice a line in the digital image right where your beach hammock comes into view. An overlooked flaw in your photo? Don't panic yet; you can have a startlingly clear and vivid photo of the most beautiful picture in the world, but your perfect image will come to naught if you have a scratched, dusty scanner.

It seems obvious, but do remember that your scanner needs upkeep. Clean the glass regularly by using a damp washcloth with mild soap, and avoid scratches by keeping the documents you scan clean and free of dust themselves. Be aware that using cleaning fluids that contain ammonia or isopropyl alcohol can leave streaks. Many manufacturers will also have detailed instructions online about how to clean the internal mechanisms of scanners, which can be useful if jams occur often.


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