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Old May 10, 2005, 9:07 AM   #1
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I received hundreds of old negatives in different formats(more than 70 years old) from my grandfather, some of them plenty of dust, old fingerprints, rust, etc...

I would like to digitalize them (bought a Epson Perfection 2840 and works excellent) but it will be convenient to clean them before scanning in order to avoid excessive work of digital restoration with Photoshop...

Does any body know any product to clean them with long-term no damages guarantee?
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Old May 10, 2005, 3:33 PM   #2
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When you develop a film the last thing you do is wash it in water. It is generally quite safe to wash old negs in water, you can add a drop of washing up liquid to act as a wetting agent and help prevent water spots. Hang them up to dry and they should be fine. Given that you say that these are really old negs I suggest testing with an off cut or a shot you don't want first.
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Old May 10, 2005, 8:47 PM   #3
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I tend to agree with Nagasaki in most of the cases just a plain light wash in lukewarm water with a drop of soap (don't khow if you can still buy wetting agent anymore :-) which was basically a pure mild soap anyway)

For the ones with rust and possibly mold it may be very difficult to clean, the old negatives were gelitan based and mold liked to eat it if kept in damp conditions.

I some cases it may be better to just blow the dust-off and scan them, then try to do chean up digitally.

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Old May 14, 2005, 3:53 PM   #4
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With color films, the last solution it goes into is a stabilizer solution, which is essentially water + wetting solution + preservative (usually a small amount of formaldehyde. If you want to clean the films as well as preserve them, if they are color negatives, you should use C-41 stabilizer. If they are Ektachrome slides, you should use E-6 stabilizer. If they are B&W negatives, you should use Kodak Photo Flo solution. These should be available at a good camera store. These chemicals are all superior to using soap as a wetting solution.

Warm the solutions up to about 80 degrees, soak the films for a couple minutes, and VERY GENTLY wipe them with a soft cotton cloth on both sides, while under the solution to remove fingerprints and embedded dust. Carefully hang up by the corner to dry.

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