Cleaning an ancient Kodachrome Slide
In the bottom of an old camera bag tonight, I found an ancient Kodachrome slide. From looking at it through the slide viewer, it appears to be Europe in the 1940s or 50s. The slide is not faded, but it does have a layer of grime on it. Any of you folks have an idea how to safely clean this grime off?
I thought about film cleaner, but I also thought I would ask first before I did anything.
Isopropyl alcohol applied very gently with a cotton bud did the job for me.
I have used both PEC-12 and Edwal film cleaner on Kodkchrome with good results.
Depending on the exact date, the film may have a lacquer that was applied to it before mounting. If it does have this lacquer, it must be removed with 98% or higher isopropyl alcohol.
Stick to the products from the companies that specialize in film products. Rubbing alcohol can rub the slide the wrong way.
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Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
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Methylated spirits on a cotton bud very gently is fine, but it is speculative given the limited description of what you have. Maybe talk to a Conservator at a Gallery or Museum for specialist advice or even ask them if they could do it for you?
A lot of my 1970s and 80s Kodachrome trannies have been cleaned carefully with meth., so too, any Fuji reversal stock—just dust and specks, never anything dreadful. I have heard Ilford has a proprietary film cleaner that is highly recommended by the name is obscure. A friend once dipped 4 of his filthy (Ektachrome) slides in a cup of warm soapy water. I grieve to relate...
If the grime is really stubborn, I suspect there might be some damage to the slide during cleaning through a combination of age and exposure.
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
One beautiful image is worth
a thousand hours of therapy.
"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government
to save the environment."
Rubbing alcohol is about 30% water. That water will damage the emulsion. 98% pure isopropyl alcohol mixed with ammonia is actually recommended by Kodak for removing the lacquer. See the last page of the following PDF:
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass
Please note that if the film does not have the lacquer, this process is not necessary. But given the age, it probably does.
My name is Genk, I have been told that there is a powder that removes black carbon from photographic paper. Do you know the name or the process that can be applied. Underneath the carbon is a printed image. I have seen the powder being applied and then a brown liquid chemical wash applied and then another clear liquid chemical dissolving the carbon away, leaving the print intact. Please let me know if you can offer me any advice.