How Can Newspaper Clippings Be Kept From Yellowing?

By Stacy Zogheib ; Updated April 12, 2017
Proper preservation can keep newspaper clippings from yellowing.

People often save newspaper clippings from special days or historic events. Unfortunately, the acid in newspaper clippings turns them yellow in just a few years. You can prevent this by taking a photograph of a clipping and display the photograph, or have a color copy made and store the original. If you still want to protect the original newspaper clipping there are several methods that will help prevent yellowing.

Handling and Storage

Be careful when you handle newspapers that you want to store, since the acids on your skin will speed up the yellowing process. Wear clean, white cotton gloves when you handle your newspapers or wash and thoroughly dry your hands immediately before handling them. Store your newspapers in acid-free envelopes or folders away from light, dust, insects, heat and moisture. Store newspaper clippings horizontally so that they do not bend or crease, and do not overfill your storage boxes or folders. Avoid using staples, paper clips, glue or tape on documents that you want to preserve.

Dip

A homemade bleaching process can help to counteract the acid that causes newspapers to turn yellow. Mix 2 tbsp. of milk of magnesia with 1 quart of plain club soda. Refrigerate the mixture for eight hours then pour it into a shallow pan that is large enough to lay your clipping flat. Place one clipping at a time in the pan and soak it for one to two hours. Carefully remove the clipping and gently press it between sheets of paper towel to remove moisture. Dry the clippings on a clean, flat surface and store in an acid free archival-quality album or folder. This method should keep clippings from yellowing for at least 50 years.

Spray

If dipping your newspaper clippings sounds too messy and time-consuming there are sprays available that are designed to neutralize the acids that cause yellowing. You can purchase a high-quality de-acidifiying spray at photography or scrapbooking stores. Spray both sides of the newspaper clipping and let it dry completely before you mount or store it. A de-acidifiying spray will also stop newspapers that are already yellowing from deteriorating any further.

Seal

Sealing newspaper clippings in acid free envelopes will help to prevent them from yellowing. You can purchase acid-free envelopes or laminating pouches that allow you to protect your clippings while keeping them visible. If you want to keep your clipping for many years invest in envelopes that are both acid-free and archival quality. You can also have your clippings professionally matted and framed with acid-free materials so that you can display them without yellowing.

About the Author

Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and developmental specialist with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.