Cleaning Dried Water Marks

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by jim_ngo|1, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. Arrgh. Some recent 35mm rolls of Neopan 1600 came back from the lab with water marks. Any advice on how to clean them? I was thinking of agitating a few minutes in 1:25 diluted vinegar followed by a bath in distilled water and hung dry. Yea, nay, or anything else?
  2. I'd say give it a try. Dilute the vinegar (white vinegar) 1:1 with water and if you have some photoflo put a drop or two in the final distilled water rinse. Alternately you could put a drop or two of dishwahsing liquid in a gallon of water. If nothing else, it won't hurt.
  3. Be sure to let us know how it turns out...
  4. The term water marks is a little vague. A more in-depth description would be quite helpful since there are several problems caused by water and water residue that have totally different solutions.

    If you mean nothing more than residue on the base side of the film, these can probably be best removed using a standard photographic film cleaning solution and a very soft cotton cloth. Just dampen the cloth with the cleaning solution and very, very, very lightly rub the film base where the residue is.

    If the residue is on the emulsion side, the same approach will probably work. You will need to make sure that the cleaning solution is compatible with the film's gelatin material by tesing an area on the film leader or an unexposed frame. Be very careful that you do not saturate the gelatin material with the cleaning solution as this will soften the gelatin and make it susceptible to physical damage.

    If these water marks are on the emulsion side, they might not be residue, but can be small, damaged cracks in the gelatin material. This usually results from uneven drying of the film that usually is caused by water beading up on the emulsion material. This results in the gelatin material shrinking up unevenly as it dries resulting in cracks forming around the perimeter of the water bead. This problem is probably not totally repairable, but it can be minimized somewhat by soaking the film in a working solution of a standard film developer. This will cause the film emulsion to swell up and partially close up the small cracks. The film should then be washed and dried using a good wetting agent.
  5. Take the negatives, hold them under some lightly running cold water, dip them in some Photo-Flo, squeegee with your fingers, and then hang to dry. I've actually just come back from my bathroom having done this myself.

    It works better than cleaning solution which even with the softest cloth can scratch dry negs and leave stains itself -- trust me, I've done it. The diluted vinegar and distilled water is more trouble than you need to go to.

    Good luck.

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