Isopropyl alcohol. Will it damage negatives?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Alex Muir, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    I have bee troubled with drying marks on my 35mm B&W negatives recently. I am working on a solution, but have some affected films I want to print. I bought a spray of cleaning solution which is meant for cleansing skin and equipment by professional manicurists. It is mainly Isopropyl, with some additives including a blue colour . I couldn't find straight isopropyl alcohol. It works when applied to the film base and evaporates quickly. Is the alcohol likely to cause long term damage? Thanks, Alex.
     
  2. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    I would not use it if it is blue. We do not know what the blue is and it may cause damage. Try the hardware store for pure isopropyl alcohol (sometimes sold under the name of 2-Propanol). Also for removing drying marks I have just used a Q-tip or small paint brush dipped in distilled water. It does the job and only takes a short while to dry as it in only a spot and hot the whole negative that is wet.
     
  3. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Kodak did recommend pure Isopropyl for film cleaning. I'm not sure how good the blue stuff would be as we don't know what's in it. Depending on your country the pure stuff shouldn't be that hard to buy - I got some from ebay, I've also heard it's available in electronic shops for cleaning inside computers.
    For future film washing after developing, distilled water is very good. Just use it for the final soak.
     
  4. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    It should be relatively easy to find 90% Iso Alcohol in any pharmacy or drug store. The other 10% is water. I would give that a try. There is also 70% commonly available (perhaps labeled as "rubbing alcohol) but I'd try the 90%.

    Iso Heet (sold as gas line antifreeze) is 99% iso alcohol according to the msds. The other 1% is a "proprietary additive"; which could be anything.
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    There are two grades of Isopropyl on offer: 70% (the rest is water) or 100%.
    Chose the pure one.
     
  6. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    and remember, it's best not to mix your drinks.
     
  7. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Newspaper photogs back in the film day would add isopropyl alcohol about 50/50 in the final rinse with distilled water.

    That way the film dried faster with the higher vapor pressure of the iospropyl in the mix.
     
  8. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council

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    Do not use the blue stuff and do not use Rubbing Alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is cheap and can be bought in just about any drug store here in the US as 90% Isopropyl Alcohol, as already said the remaining 10% is water. There is also a Kodak product called Foto Flo made for drying film evenly and without marks.
     
  9. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I use the 90% rubbing alcohol from the drugstore and have for years without problem. I do a final rinse of negatives in distilled water. Then my bottle of alcohol has a pinhole punched in the safety seal so I can spray on a coat of alcohol. I think it works better than photoflo in removing surface tension water drops and it helps things dry much faster. (so I can scan)
     
  10. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I can't say if Isopropyl can or won't damage the emulsion on photographic film, but I don't use it because of the residue that it can leave behind. I can only speak for the Isopropyl's that I've tested. To test, place a drop of the Isopropyl on a piece of clean glass. Once it has dried, examine the glass with a loupe. You "may" find that the Isopropyl has left behind a residue on the glass. If present, you may decide that you don't want this residue on your film.
     
  11. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    My final rinse(wash) is LFN diluted one drop in 16 ounces distilled water plus one capful 90% Isopropyl alcohol. I havent had any problems with spotting or other marks since I started using the mix. Soak film for a minimum of 30 seconds then shake the excess liquid from the film before removing from reel and hanging. For sheet film, simply hang to dry.
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The alcohol per se won't damage film, but additives can. And it is possible that too much water might be present, though that would equate to false labeling. Never use hardware or paint store alchohol,
    where adulteration with excess water is common. I either use pure methyl alchohol (expensive) or an
    official film cleaner like PEC-20.
     
  13. WHof

    WHof Subscriber

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    Yes, you can use a 'photographic emulsion cleaner' like PEC-12 at at least $10 for 4 oz, but I have a sneaking suspicion all it is is denatured alcohol. They sure smell identical.
     
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  15. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I use PEC12 and DeltaOne's film cleaner, they work really well, especially with the non-abrasive lint free PEC-Pads you can get online. I find q-tips leave fuzzies behind if you aren't really really careful.
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    That is a good point!

    I experienced such at my last batch. I did buy it from bulk at the pharmacy and I thought the residue was some oil by which the funnel they used may have been contaminated.
    I thus rejected mine for lens cleaning.

    Such an evaporation test should be done with all solvents used for cleaning etc.
     
  17. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    No, PEC-12 is not simply alchohol. It will remove all kinds of gummy gooey adhesive-like substances that ordinary alcohol won't touch, like tape residue. It's essentially a safer replacement for the nasty 1:1:1 movie film cleaners, aka "safety solvent" that wasn't very safe! (non-flammable, but otherwise...)
    I use PEC-12 in conjunction with lint-free microfiber wipes, just like you would use on a lens. The 3M
    lens ones are the best.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    If you use distilled water with a couple drops of PhotoFlo for the final rinse, you won't have drying marks. There are, or were, commercial film "rapid dryers" which were isopropyl, but some goop from a manicurists... not on my film.:smile:
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    A lot of the products manicurists use would literally be illegal to sell in a paint store in any quantity.
    Some of these things contain solvents that will attack acetate-based films. I once spoke to an ambulence medic who had to do CPR on six women in nail salons in just two months. Ever wonder why the gals who work in those places get so ditzy?
     
  20. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I will look for the high percentage isopropyl. I have only recently acquired the drying mark problem, and I'm sure I will be able to lose it again by tightening up final wash procedures. It sounds like a pharmacy is the place to try, although Boots, which is a very large chain in the UK, didn't have any. A smaller, local store may be a better bet. The blue stuff has been put away out of reach! Alex
     
  21. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Boots has gone downhill when it comes to supplying even the most basic of stuff. Thanks to the winos and general "OMG, that stuff is dangerous", they won't sell you meths either. Your best bet might be a decent local hardware store (not B&Q, although they may have it), or if you have a local trade supplier that deals in wood finishes, try them.
     
  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I use the 70% Isopropyl alcohol to make up a photo-flo stock solution which I store and then further dilute immediately before use.

    The stock solution is 1 oz photo-flo added to 8.5 oz of the 70% Isopropyl alcohol.

    That stock is further diluted 1 + 24 for use.

    I have had no problems.
     
  23. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi Alex,

    I'd resoak the negs in tepid water, add a few drops of wetting agent (Photo-flo, Ilfotol etc, just enough to form a couple of bubbles), rub off any drying marks with a soft, clean fingertip and hang to dry for a few hours. Excess wetting agent can leave worse marks than none. Don't use washing-up liquid or liquid soap! If the marks are on the shiny side of the film, take a soft, clean, cotton cloth (the ones supplied for cleaning specs would do nicely), breathe on the film and gently wipe away the condensate. You might even be able to remove the deposits with a dry, grease-free fingertip. Be careful not to scratch the film and don't try this on the emulsion (dull) side of the film.

    I'm not sure I fancy chucking alcohol into my final wash water; it's probably a waste anyway. I'm in a hard water area and I just use a few drops of Ilfotol - nothing more. I rarely have problems with drying marks.

    Cheers,
    kevs
     
  24. R Paul

    R Paul Member

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    I used about a 30% solution of isopropyl from the drug store to help quicken the drying of film. It worked okay. I used to use ISO_HEAT which you use to dehydrate gas lines which was almost 100% alcohol, but after 2 years or so the added some oily stuff that totally ruined the films. Same with the blue nail cleaner, it has amyl acetate, among with some oils in it --I wouldn't trust it-- probably melt the film

    rob
     
  25. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    There are many ways to skin a cat as they say.

    i have used 91% Isopropyl in the past to dry negatives faster, just don't apply heat or the negs will cloud.

    To get rid of water spots I use 91% on a microfiber and rub gently in one direction. Works like a charm.
     
  26. michael stevens

    michael stevens Member

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    I tried several local chemists as well as Boots in an attempt to buy IPA a little while ago and nobody had any. One said there was a national shortage(!) and another took my number in order to let me know when it was back in stock, but never rang me back. A few years ago I worked as a picture framer and we used to have no trouble buying it for picture cleaning. Maybe the laws have changed.

    Anyhow, I found it was very quick, easy and cheap to get it from eBay instead. No wonder the high streets are closing down!