Zone VI Print Washer Clean-up

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by brass majestic, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. brass majestic

    brass majestic Member

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    Any suggestions about how to go about cleaning out a Zone VI print washer? Or any washer. In the past I ran a bleach/water solution thru the cycle but I'd like to use something not so toxic. Maybe a vinegar and water solution that I run thru my coffee maker perhaps.
     
  2. Captain_joe6

    Captain_joe6 Member

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    In all actuality, it depends on what you're trying to clean off in the first place. Vinegar and water will remove most mineral deposits, but won't have much of an effect on general dirt and the like. If you want to get a dirt, dusty washer really clean and sparkling, you need a non-abrasive cleanser like Bon Ami and a sponge and a lot of elbow grease. With all cleaning, the trick is to tailor your cleaning product to the material you're trying to clean and what you're trying to get rid of.

    Above all else, remember that "non-abrasive" is your mantra in cleaning these things.
     
  3. john_s

    john_s Member

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    Is this washer a vertical slot unit made of transparent plastic ("perspex" I'm tempted to call it, but it could be something else. Is acrylic the same thing?)

    I have a large version of such a washer, and to clean it I remove the dividers and wipe them down in the bath with a washcloth and ordinary dishwashing detergent. If the plastic retains its gloss, this should be adequate. Likewise, I use a very soft brush and detergent to clean the main body, rinsing well. I have found that some algae grow in it but is easily removed. Once the surface is abraded, everything will stick to it, not that there should be much in a print washer.

    To prevent algae growth, I use a little liquid pool chlorine in the washer when I leave it full.

    As Patrick has said, tailor the cleaning to what needs cleaning. Let us know what that is.
     
  4. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I was able to clean my recently acquired Zone VI washer with just liquid dish soap (not dishwasher detergent) and a soft cloth; removing and cleaning each divider. But it did not have significant hard water deposits nor any algae or other "gunk". Mine was modified by the prior owner with a plug to drain it, so perhaps that's way it did not need more aggressive cleaning.

    A vinegar solution would be my next step. As I recall from aquarium discussions, a vinegar solution will not discolor plexiglass.
     
  5. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Calumet Archival Cross–Jet Washer (Maintenance).

    I've only used small amounts of Dawn dishwashing liquid to clean it when things became slimy, but I've since learned to drain mine if not to be used within 48 hours, in order to prevent algal growth. If calcium deposits are the issue, vinegar is the rational solution.