Old photos are very fragile due to the materials and the chemicals used to develop them. This causes the photo to degrade and break down over time, especially when the photos have been exposed to sunlight or stored improperly. These are the two most common reasons for accelerating the deterioration of old photos. There are several types of photo formats out there such as slides, negatives, old photographic prints, and tintypes that if not stored and handled correctly will be lost to the elements of time. Handling your old photos with protective gloves is recommended since the oils from your hands can actually damage the negatives or prints. It is best to not handle them at all if you can avoid it. Many photos or slides will need to be cleaned before storing them or scanning them into a digital format. The best way to go about cleaning them is by using anti static wipes and wearing protective gloves. You should be able to buy these type of supplies from your local photographic store or online.
When you are ready to clean your slides or photos, put on your gloves and hold the slides, negatives or prints by the edge. Be careful not to fold or bend the photo. Also never cut them, write on them or use any type of household cleaning supply. If your old photos are mounted in frames or cases it is best not to try and remove them. The older prints used a very thin type of developing paper that will tear if removed from the frame. If it looks like the photo will be damaged by removing it, you should look for a company that specializes in photo restoration since they will have the required skills to preserve your photos.