Just some thoughts...fold lock negative sleeves are superior. If you use print file archival negative page perservers when pulling out the negative a small static charge is created. The static charge attracts dust.
Some enlargers and neg holders are better than others. One of the best is a Leica 1c or Valoy. Very easy to see and remove dust. Once dust is removed, the condenser protectes the top of the negative from dust migration. LPL 7700 enlargers with glassless carriers are decent at viewing and blocking dust once the carrier is inserted. Not so for a Omega B-22. It's gaps and bellows allow dust collection.
My home DR is the laundary room. Before printing I wipe down surfaces with a wet rag. During heating months I use several methods to ensure the house has adequate humidity. Humidity reduces airborne dust and static.
Using the right equipment along with simple housekeeping I have avoided dust problems despite printing in a room with a laundary dryer.
I cut my teeth on large Cibachromes which can't be retouched, and sometimes work in print processes that
requires multiple separation negs and masks,up to a dozen per print, so being careless with dust is not an option.
In fact, dust control is about half the work in the darkroom. I have a special room dedicated to fussy film use.
Prior to something critical it is all swabbed and mopped down. There is an industrial electronic air cleaner in there, triple-filtered air lines, and if needed an antistatic gun. Also have a machinist's inspection light to spot
tiny bit of dust on a neg or carrier. I wear a pure dacron clean room smock which leaves no lint. Even the sponges are specially chosen. Worth the extra effort. The room is due for another cleaning soon because some
black and white FB printing has been done in there recently, and FB does produce stray fibers. My biggest problem is with the floor - it's an old slab prone to efluoresence when the water table rises and can't be fully
sealed. Vacuuming that would be voodoo. Just have to keep mopping it with a bit of vinegar or stop bath in
I hope the therapist is ALREADY in the budget. Ya think?
Grounding the enlarger is also beneficial to minimize static charge.
Just peruse any catalog or website of a cleanroom supplier which caters to tech industries and you can get all kinds of relevant ideas. For that dream darkroom which you'll never actually build, you can
even get special static-dissapative Formica for your countertops. But at a more affordable level,
sponges and chamois wipes which don't degrade, and things like woven dacron outer clothing can
make a significant difference.
I have made over 100 prints in the past two weeks and this is exactly what I am finding too.
I also notice dust more on the 35mm than 120 due to the greater degree of enlargement needed to attain the print.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
My experience is similar. My basement darkroom is certainly subject to dust, and it doesn't get cleaned very much. I keep my negatives in sleeves, blow off any incident dust with canned air (actually Freon), and print. I have less problems with spotting the darkroom prints than I have with scanning negatives in a much cleaner but busier area.
My darkroom is in the basement. I hardly ever clean anything, like Thomas indicates. I keep negs in Printfile pages, but in books. I am very attentive to using Dust Off on each neg, both sides, after placement in the carrier, just before insertion into the enlarger. The humidity in the basement is 45% - 55%, sometimes a bit lower in the winter.
If I make 10 - 12 16x16 prints from 120 negs (usually 2 of each), when I go to spot, after toning, etc. I may have an average of 2 spots per print.
What I think helps for me: Very little cotton in the darkroom (just what I am wearing and a towel), an Aristo cold light head (I used to use a condenser, and noticed the drop in dust immediately when going to the Aristo (1982), and there is no traffic in the darkroom unless I'm working. I also have a drying cabinet I built attached to the wall, right next to the sink, and negs are hung there right after Photo Flo.