I'm sure I'm not the first traveller to experience this, so here goes...

Hostel last night I had my passport in my laptop case with my laptop. Unfortunately this was under the aircon unit, which leaked overnight, creating a nice pool of water, soaking said bag.

Laptop is wet but works. Passport is not soaking but definitely has water seepage throughout.

What's the safest way to dry the passport without damaging? I don't want to risk making it unusable.


7 Answers 7


You could dry the pages with paper towels as much as possible, then hang it to dry on a string with the pages spread out or separated by bits of paper towel- don't leave them in contact with each other wet or they may stick together. Change the paper towels for dry ones periodically as it dries.

You could also put it in a container with some silica gel, but buying that tends to be a bit of expedition even if you live in the place you're looking (some craft stores sell it for drying flowers). Or put it in sealed container with (uncooked, of course) rice, but always keep wet pages from spending too much time in contact by using paper towels.

I dried out a passport and entire wallet contents this way with little trouble (the cell phone didn't fare as well, unfortunately).

Be sure to inspect any unused visas to make sure they've not been damaged.

I've found that passports (Canadian ones anyway) are amazingly resilient-- despite being soaked with water or sweat they're still usable with just a bit of wrinkling on the cover to show for it.

  • 1
    "(uncooked, of course) rice": The first time I heard of using rice for drying things, this "self-evident" qualification was omitted, and I was exceedingly baffled for several minutes. I have similar experience with wet (but not saturated) US passports. I think the most exposed mine ever was to water was being in the pocket of cotton trousers during a prolonged outing in a heavy rainstorm without any rain gear. It emerged with some slight wrinkles without much attention to drying. The pages did not stick together despite no efforts to prevent it: I just laid it on the counter until it was dry.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 12:04

A substitute for silica is rice - that is more easily available. Submerge your passport in rice with all the pages separated.

  • Salt and sugar are hydrophilic too, as far as food goes...Might as well season the rice, eh? Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 9:18
  • 2
    This actually works very well. I tried with money notes. Although it took two-ish days, notes were completely dry. +1 for mentioning :)
    – AKS
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 10:46
  • 12
    @NickStauner: Nope. Sugar and salt can dissolve and stain the paper.
    – sharptooth
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 11:44
  • 1
    Disposable nappies / diapers are also hydrophilic, and are normally readily available. You may want to cut it open, and use the gel directly.
    – CSM
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 14:58
  • 1
    @sharptooth furthermore, sugar is sticky. This won't help if the goal is to keep the passport usable.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 12:13

One very fast and reliable way it to simply leave your open passport next to a fan - put a fan onto a table and put the passport onto some raised object in front of the fan. Once the pages closest to the fan dry out (which is like in half an hour) you can proceed to other pages. Alternatively you can interleave the pages with something like pens or similar size objects so that they are separated and then the process will go much faster.


I've used tinfoil to separate the pages and stood it on the radiator this worked a treat : )


Using an iron on a low setting with a dry towel in between the pages works good. Then place a weight on top of the passport while it is still wrapped in the towel. It will look clean and pressed when finished. Just did it for the 2nd time in 6 months. Accidental swim with the passport in my rear pants pocket as it did the backstroke in the washer


I just now found out that if you wash your passport and live in west Texas, you can just let it sit on a table in the back yard at midday. That moisture will disappear by the time you finish your second Shiner Bock.

  • 1
    Sitting now in humid New York City, I can only say that not all of us have the luxury of living (or traveling) in a suitably dry environment for this approach. But the flooding A/C unit in the question could help.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 12:11
  • n.b. Texas is a big state (a little larger than France), and what works in West Texas will definitely not work in East Texas.
    – shoover
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 22:06

Put paper towels between each page and a large pot with heavy cans inside to flatten the covers.

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