How do I clean old Kodachrome slides?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by wblynch, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I picked up a bag of old 1960's era Kodachrome slides at a garage sale and I want to know the best way to clean them.

    I want to project them and also digitize them for reference indexing.

    So, what is the best way to clean these?

    Thanks, Bill
     
  2. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Are they dusty or moldy, or both?
     
  3. hidesert

    hidesert Member

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    I'd like to know also. I have some that appear to have small spots of mold on them.
     
  4. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Both dusty and moldy. More dust than mold or gunk.
     
  5. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Whatever you use, do NOT use PEC-12 or something like it on the emulsion side! I found out the hard way.
     
  6. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I know that someone more qualified to answer is lurking somewhere in the shadows, but just thinking aloud about it....

    I assume they're Kodak mounted in cardboard, and I don't think those are as easy to separate from the frame as say, a plastic at-home mount would be. In that case, soaking them in something probably isn't an option. I'd wet a cellulose sponge with photo-flo and see what that does. Perhaps alcohol is also an option? If they weren't mounted, or easily removed from their mounting, maybe a soak in something would do the trick, but that might be difficult.

    Before going at it with a sponge though, maybe try to remove as much as possible with canned air, to avoid moving any gunk around with the sponge and possibly scratching the emulsion. Like an archaeologist, slow and steady would be the way.

    Also, there's a Yahoo! group for Photo Conservation and I'd bet they could give some great advice.
     
  7. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    A small amount of naphtha applied gently with a Q-tip is safe for cleaning films and prints. I’ve used it regularly for this purpose since 1985.

    It’s most conveniently packaged as Ronsonol Lighter Fuel. It is, of course, very flammable. But you’re using a tiny amount and provided you use reasonable precautions—no flames or smoking—then it is safe. The key is to rub VERY GENTLLY so as not to scar the film.

    Naphtha won’t harm film or the mounts, whether plastic or cardboard, and it evaporates very quickly.
     
  8. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Thanks Ian !
     
  9. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    You can also get naptha by the quart at most hardware stores. It is packaged a "VM&P Naptha", which means 'varnish makers and painters naptha'. Lighter fluid might have some other additives that might be bad for film.

    Ed
     
  10. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Well if it does, it has to be a really new formulation, as I used it 40 years ago and still use it today without any harmful or long term effects. :smile:

    Odds are the painters mix has a much better chance of containing unwanted impurities.
     
  11. Dirb9

    Dirb9 Member

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    FWIW, I didn't have a problem with PEC-12 on Kodachrome from the late 50s-early 60s, it took the mold right off and nothing else. But I have heard things about it dissolving the lacquer.
     
  12. jacarape

    jacarape Member

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    Ian, thank you for the tip. Now I know what to do with my Zippo leftovers after I quit.