Cleaning film negatives

William Robb warobb at
Wed May 14 19:20:05 EDT 2008

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Christine Aguila"
Subject: Cleaning film negatives

> Hi there:
> I can't remember what the solution was that we used to use to gently clean
> negatives.  I remember dipping a Q-tip into something to gently swab
> negatives.  I want to clean some negatives, so I just thought I post a query
> for any recommendations.

A bead blaster works....

Seriously though, I think your best bet is to just buy a bottle of film cleaner, if you decide 
that is the route to go.
There used ot be a product called PEC-12 which was repackaged acetone, from what I could tell,
and I have a quart tin of film cleaner which I am pretty sure is just carbon tetrechloride (I
believe it's used by dry-cleaners).

Or, you can use a sink of room temperature water to which a little Photo-Flo has been added.
If you don't have any of that, a few drops per sink of dish detergent (not dishwasher!!) can 
been added instead.
Soak em for a while to float off as much as possible, and then if you have to, you can GENTLY, 
with well wetterd fingers, remove what stays behind.
The emulsion will be wuite soft, so be very careful.

A brief rinse in fresh water to knock out most of the detergent and hang em up to dry. Put a 
clothspin on the bottom to keep the film from curling.

If the negs are clean, with just some fingerprints  or splots, then film cleaner is good. If the 
negs are actually dirty, then a water wash is best.

William Robb

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