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  1. #1

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    How do I clean old Kodachrome slides?

    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
    - Bill Lynch

  2. #2
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Are they dusty or moldy, or both?
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  3. #3

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

  4. #4

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    Both dusty and moldy. More dust than mold or gunk.
    - Bill Lynch

  5. #5
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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.
    --------------------
    "Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it." -Paul Strand

    www.glasskeyphoto.com

  6. #6
    holmburgers's Avatar
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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.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  7. #7

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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. #8

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    Thanks Ian !
    - Bill Lynch

  9. #9
    Neanderman's Avatar
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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
    "I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography." -- Lee Friedlander

  10. #10

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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.

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

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