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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/1/2005 8:01:29 PM EDT
My town of Slidell, LA was very hard hit by the hurricane (though, as a side note, the aftermath is not nearly as apocolyptic as what N.O. is experiencing). I managed to make it back there yesterday to survey damage, and our house fared better than many others (about 6 - 8 inches of water, no trees through the roof). But the whole town is a wreck, and they're saying it could be 8 - 12 weeks before power is restored. I'm back in Memphis now, but will be heading back home again in a couple of days for a longer-term stay, to being repair work (wife and kids will stay here in Memphis for the next several months).

Anyway, here's my problem. My 91 year old grandmother has a large sum of cash in a bank safety deposit box that only I have access to. I serve as her "banker", putting money in the box for her when she gets it, and getting money out when she needs it. I have no specifics now, but at this point it seems certain that the bank was flooded. I'm not sure how much water they got, but based on other reports, I'd estimate 5 or 6 feet, which would mean that our box (which was definitely not at the very bottom, but wasn't very high either... probably mid-chest height) was probably submerged (I'm assuming these vaults are not water-proof).

Yes, I know the "should haves" involved here... she should not have kept these funds in cash (she's old fashioned and stubborn in this way), and I should have removed the money before evacuating (honestly just didn't think of it, and was so busy with other preparations). But I have to deal with the situation as it exists.

I'm assuming I'll be able to get into the bank within a few weeks. Is this money ruined? Can bills survive being submerged for 3 - 4 weeks? Is there any particular procedure I should employ when trying to dry the money? My wife mentioned that a bank could "exchange" the money for me if it was substantially damaged... but will they want to know where it all came from (like when people try to make large cash deposits in bank accounts)?

Thanks in advance,

--Mike
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:04:24 PM EDT
If you cannot dry it out. The bank or Treasury will fix it for you. May take a while though....
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:05:20 PM EDT
I have dried out bills by putting them near the heater when I put my jeans in the wash and forgot to take money out. Isnt anything insured that shes puts into the box? The moneys there to prove that she put it in
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:05:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 8:06:32 PM EDT by david_g17]

Originally Posted By a320az:
If you cannot dry it out. The bank or Treasury will fix it for you. May take a while though....



+1 They'll even do it for charred money.

eta: have you never left cash in your pocket when it went through the washing machine? it's very durable.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:06:41 PM EDT
1) When you seperate the bills make sure they are still wet.

2) Rinse them in clean water.

3) Hang them up to dry.

U.S. currency is pretty tough. Don't ask me how I know.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:08:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 8:12:03 PM EDT by MonkTx]
It takes a lot to destroy money, I am pretty certain water won't do it alone. The money can be drained without handling and left to air dry. After it dries you can attempt to seperate the bills but if they are fragile, they can be turned over to the treasury and they will seperate and replace the damaged bills. The bank will know what to do.

ETA:
I had a small number of large denomination bills get soaked and was able to get most fixed in thes manner but wound up having to get my bank to have them sent to some branch of the treasury that deals with damaged currency.

I never thought about trying to seperate while wet. I guess it's not like they turn to mush.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:08:51 PM EDT
No insurance on a box. Goverment can do it but may take up to a year or more.If you cant do it its better to let them. If its wet keep it that way till you pull them apart.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:10:50 PM EDT
Hang them up to dry, or use a clothes iron.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:11:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 8:12:18 PM EDT by Silesius]
Are you asking to launder money? Or just starch and press?
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:15:54 PM EDT
If you cannot dry it immediately, rinse it with clean water (chlorinated but do not add bleach) and add a handful of old pennies or other copper. This will keep the mildew in check.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:16:51 PM EDT
Just hang it on a line and let it dry like Mr. Howell in Gilligan's Island.

Cash can stay wet for days and dry out just fine.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:19:11 PM EDT
From someone thats been rained on hard...the microwave
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:19:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mcaswell:
My town of Slidell, LA was very hard hit by the hurricane (though, as a side note, the aftermath is not nearly as apocolyptic as what N.O. is experiencing). I managed to make it back there yesterday to survey damage, and our house fared better than many others (about 6 - 8 inches of water, no trees through the roof). But the whole town is a wreck, and they're saying it could be 8 - 12 weeks before power is restored. I'm back in Memphis now, but will be heading back home again in a couple of days for a longer-term stay, to being repair work (wife and kids will stay here in Memphis for the next several months).

Anyway, here's my problem. My 91 year old grandmother has a large sum of cash in a bank safety deposit box that only I have access to. I serve as her "banker", putting money in the box for her when she gets it, and getting money out when she needs it. I have no specifics now, but at this point it seems certain that the bank was flooded. I'm not sure how much water they got, but based on other reports, I'd estimate 5 or 6 feet, which would mean that our box (which was definitely not at the very bottom, but wasn't very high either... probably mid-chest height) was probably submerged (I'm assuming these vaults are not water-proof).

Yes, I know the "should haves" involved here... she should not have kept these funds in cash (she's old fashioned and stubborn in this way), and I should have removed the money before evacuating (honestly just didn't think of it, and was so busy with other preparations). But I have to deal with the situation as it exists.

I'm assuming I'll be able to get into the bank within a few weeks. Is this money ruined? Can bills survive being submerged for 3 - 4 weeks? Is there any particular procedure I should employ when trying to dry the money? My wife mentioned that a bank could "exchange" the money for me if it was substantially damaged... but will they want to know where it all came from (like when people try to make large cash deposits in bank accounts)?

Thanks in advance,

--Mike



Best I know it should be fine.
Do your best to dry it out before it gets mold though
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:21:03 PM EDT
simply send it in and ist will be replaced free of charge. I've don eit, no questions asked usually... (though I'm sure if you're g-ma has been ripping off banks, they probably do track serial numbers of the money they destroy and replace.)
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:21:50 PM EDT
Thanks for all the info. Hanging them up to dry is going to be very difficult, as there are MANY bills... but if that's what is needed, I'll have to find a way. I guess I can string up clothes lines throughout the inside of my house and clip the bills on (will probably take a while to dry due to the humidity).

Anyway, with regards to the option of exchanging the bills, just to confirm... will I run into any resistance / questioning ("...and where did you get all of this money?") from the authorities? I mean, is there an official government policy on this?

--Mike
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:23:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JosieWales:


Best I know it should be fine.
Do your best to dry it out before it gets mold though

The paper is almost cloth, keep it wet and seperate it carefully and let it air dry, I wouldn't worry about mold too much it'll still spend moldy, or just take it in and exchange it.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:28:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mcaswell:
Thanks for all the info. Hanging them up to dry is going to be very difficult, as there are MANY bills... but if that's what is needed, I'll have to find a way. I guess I can string up clothes lines throughout the inside of my house and clip the bills on (will probably take a while to dry due to the humidity).

Anyway, with regards to the option of exchanging the bills, just to confirm... will I run into any resistance / questioning ("...and where did you get all of this money?") from the authorities? I mean, is there an official government policy on this?

--Mike



$10k is the limit. Expect some trouble.

Better yet is get a roll of kraft paper from Home Depot. Hang sheets of this from the ceiling and lay the wet bills on the paper, individually. It will take some time but will greatly speed the drying. The bills will peel off the kraft paper.

You can get copper sulfate from Home Depot or most hardware stores. It is commonly sold for killing roots in sewers. Add a 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water and soak the bills in this. This will sanitize and prevent mildew growth.

It is also good for washing wet walls to prevent mildew. Take care on light colored walls as it can stain blue-green. And it is quite toxic to most plants.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:33:55 PM EDT
I would rinse them in clean water and put them in the clothes dryer on a low heat or air dry setting only. Maybe try only a few bills at first to see how it works.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 8:41:33 PM EDT
I'd have put money in the bank, you know... FDIC type stuff, and then the ability to use the money at another branch. I'm not so sure I feel comfortable putting stuff in a safety deposit box anymore the way the looters are going through cities.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 2:59:56 AM EDT
NOT ONE 'LAUNDERRING MONEY' LINE???? This is bad enough to renounce my arfkom membership!
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:05:01 AM EDT
cash is made from cotton paper and very tough. Rinse in clean fresh water and hang dry or a dryer will work too.
I've had a huge wad of $20 get soaked after getting a cermonious bathing in a pool, damn drunks.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:05:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By C-4:
1) When you seperate the bills make sure they are still wet.

2) Rinse them in clean water.

3) Hang them up to dry.

U.S. currency is pretty tough. Don't ask me how I know.



+1

Get a couple bags of clothes pins and hang them up inside the house <-----obvious

I had 20 grand that got wet when my basement flooded one year in the old house, it took a couple hours and they were right as rain, (pun intended)
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:12:24 AM EDT
Cash in a safe deposit box is not insured by the bank.
Another thing to try would be putting the bills in your freezer, the dryness of the interior will wick the humidity right out of the paper (if you ever get a book wet, you're supposed to put it in the freezer immediately so the pages do not stick together).

Kharn
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:17:24 AM EDT
I saw something on Taxidermy and when really valuble books get wet they freeze-dry it
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:17:58 AM EDT
FWIW, we have customers come in with wads of sweat soaked cash daily. Our cash drawer sits above our server cabinet and the heat rises and drys everything just fine. Don't think mildew is normally a problem either. If you have power, just throw all the cash in the dryer and let it run for a little while. It will be fine. If no power, lay it out where the sun can shine on it, obviously inside the house away from prying eyes.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:25:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By chapperjoe:
NOT ONE 'LAUNDERRING MONEY' LINE???? This is bad enough to renounce my arfkom membership!





"Are you asking to launder money? Or just starch and press?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted :: 9/1/2005 11:11:57 PM CDT
Last Edited :: 9/1/2005 11:12:18 PM CDT by Silesius


Say it with me.... "Reading Is Fundamental"



Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:27:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NAM:

Originally Posted By chapperjoe:
NOT ONE 'LAUNDERRING MONEY' LINE???? This is bad enough to renounce my arfkom membership!





"Are you asking to launder money? Or just starch and press?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted :: 9/1/2005 11:11:57 PM CDT
Last Edited :: 9/1/2005 11:12:18 PM CDT by Silesius


Say it with me.... "Reading Is Fundamental"





pressing under a hot iron works too, just don't scorch it
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:38:41 AM EDT
.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 3:42:07 AM EDT
"Currency paper is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton. Red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout the paper. Prior to World War I the fibers were made of silk."
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 4:06:13 AM EDT
Simply take the deposit box and submerge it into a rubbermaid tub of clean fresh water...it should be transported in this manner back your home where you can work on it in privacy. The bank may make you remove the objects prior to leaving so you have to just dump everything in the water and close the lid.

Please wear gloves...if, you have to wait for any extended period of time your documents will basically be sitting in water that is LOADED with a ton of nasty organisms and fluids of all types. I would not place these items near anything that could ignite it...a majority of the standing water has some sort of petroleum product in it.

Once home, separate the documents in the rubbermaid tub completely submerged. If you feel any resistance while pulling them apart - STOP! Let them sit a bit and come back to it later. I am pretty certain your bank will have specific instructions on how to do this properly. I would avoid the "send it to the treasury route" as this can normally take up to 8 months..with a natural disaster like this you could be 2+ years before you get the money back. Once you do get the money separated and dried..bundle it and take it to your nearest bank for exchange. It is not in the publics best interest to have the currency submerged in "toxic stew" (love hearing that) in circulation.
I mean not only could this storm impact the Oil, Coffee, Grain, Trucking, Fruit, Produce...but it could also take some poor helpless "titty bar dancer" out of work with a severe rash or worse....

Good luck to you and your family...
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 1:03:31 PM EDT

If this is a box in a vault, the vault door probably seals well enough to prevent much moisture from getting in. If the vault happened to be in the basement, then the ventiliation system might have been flooded out.
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