Fixer spills clean up questions

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by jp80874, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    She who must be obeyed says I ought to clean up after myself at least every five years.

    What are good cleaning materials to remove spilled Ilford Hypan (fixer) from non porous and porous surfaces? The cleaners should be available in stores in NE Ohio, USA or online. I built this 11x13 foot darkroom in the basement five years ago and there is an accumulation of occasional spills that have left fixer smells creeping out into the rest of the house when the exhaust fans are not running. I could close the door, but in basements that often leads to moldy rooms. Non porous surfaces: Rubber Maid cart, plastic and stainless trays, one gallon hard plastic bottles used to transport old fixer to desilvering process at school, painted table top supporting print washers, eight foot stainless sink. Porous surfaces: concrete floor and particle board shelf under eight foot stainless sink.

    A slightly more specific application is the two large stainless trays that I use once in a while for 20x24 inch prints. Is there a cleaner I can use that will not leave a residue that will create a problem when fresh fixer is used in these trays again?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    John Powers
     
  2. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    Well Simple Green seams to clean all. But in the future I would clean all spills up right away.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I usually use water with a sponge, but it works best when the spills are fresh. For older spills you might need a cleanser/scouring powder like Bon Ami or similar, if a general purpose cleaner doesn't do it. Water and a scotch-bright pad should work too.

    The presence or not, of little spots of crystalized fixer is an indication of how thorough a darkroom worker is at clean up:tongue:
     
  4. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the dust created by dried fixer quite unhealthy to breath?
     
  5. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    This is more a lingering smell. I must have cleaned the crystals at the time.

    John
     
  6. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    John your darkroom is 5years of hypo spills and mine is only 2years of spills,plus mines in the garage which will probable give me another two years ,so that's another 5yrs before I have to do something or move.In the mean time I'll just monitor this post for any good ideas!

    Mike
     
  7. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I second the recommendation to be sure you have cleaned up all of fixer spills at the time they happen. Once the liquid dries to powder it can blow around the darkroom and cause spots. I use paper towels, so that I can throw them away. And for the same reason, I never dry my hands on a regular towel after they have been in fixer—I don't want the towel to be contaminated.

    For cleanup I always use Formula 409, just because it is easily available. As for fixer odors, how about switching to a fixer that smells better? That might at least help prevent your problem from getting worse.
     
  8. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    Just had a thought,I've have a porous concrete floor and was thinking of coating it with a epoxy floor paint. All it would need is a wet mop for clean up. the sink is stainless and is wiped down after each use.

    Mike
     
  9. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I can't turn back the clock five years. If I could I would fix a lot of things like investments and diet before I got around to fixer spills. The 409 suggestion helps. Any other suggestions? Chazzy, what fixer would you suggest for less smell? I know there have been threads on this, but what is your thought? Unfortunately I have two five liter jugs of Hypan, one sealed and one just opened, that would be $70+ waste if I make that change.

    There are a couple of trays for 20x24 inch prints used last week that have crystals. Everything else is clean to my sight, but still has odors. I have used throw away paper towels in abundance rather than cloth reused towels and I think it may show in the lack of crystals. I vacuum with a dust sucking Electrolux canister vacuum to eliminate dust on negatives. Hopefully that has picked up some of the fixer dust. What else do you suggest?

    I had wanted to seal the floor when I built the room. This is a second marriage and that was the corner of the basement I could have. The drain is at the other end, down a very low grade. The floor sealant instructions required several whole floor washes, something you can't do without a drain. Not perfect conditions, but it was this or no darkroom. More ideas please.

    John
     
  10. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I use Ilford Rapid Fixer, and don't notice the odor. But I thought that I remembered odorless fixers on the Freestyle website, and I was right:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/c303-Black-and-White-Chemicals-Fixers

    They sell both Arista and Clayton odorless fixers, but I haven't tried them. Does someone reading this thread have experience with them?
     
  11. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    Ive been useing the Arista fixer just lately for prints and haven't had any complaints.
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Since my last post I have been scrubbing trays, pitchers, fixer jugs and sink with nitrile glooves and 409. As I worked around I realized that I had completely forgotten the 6x2 foot soft rubber mat on the floor in front of the sink. All are now scrubbed and drying. There are still two 16x20 print trays of fix, covered and in the sink. I washed their sides. The lids moved and I got a nose full so I can't tell about improvements. I thought I would come back up here, torture readers and get my nose back. The 409 seems to do a great job. Fortunately there was some under the kitchen sink. Thanks for the ideas. Keep them coming. We will make a Mr. Tidy bowl out of this place yet.

    My wife is a watercolorist, a choice made over oils partially in respect of my allergies, so I have to do my best to keep my hobby from torturing her. What comes round goes round.

    John