Dust in the darkroom!
I keep my enlargers covered in plastic so they wont collect dust.. but then when I remove the plastic the dust goes everywhere!
I cover mine with a large black dustbin sack. When it gets dusty I replace it with a new one and use the old one as a dustbin sack....... Recycle !!!!!!!
Yes, dust is a real plague in the darkroom. The only method to get rid of it is to clean all the tables, boards, the floor and the enlarger with a damp cloth every time one uses the darkroom. uh! But after this the joy for darkroom work almost is gone....so I don´t do this myself ;-)
Maybe you could wet the table around the enlarger before removing the plastic, then the dust will stick to the surface of the table and can easily be removed.
I always do this before spooling film in the tanks to avoid dust on the negatives and it works fine.
Then clean the enlarger with a damp cloth. This should solve the problem.
And the most important attribute of all: a Kenair Air Duster canister, since I started using these to clean up my negatives and holders just before printing, I can print at least 80-90% of my prints dust free. The valve / ventilation system of these canisters is excellent. Many other types don't give a strong air flow when the canister is halve empty, not so with these, you can use the canister right up to the point where it's almost empty.
Of course, if you have the money and space for a compressed air system, that is even better...
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90 % of hosuehold dust is form us. Dry skin. Perhaps moisturize exposed skin and a cap of some sort before starting. And don't forget to scrub those hands.
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Suggestion: Get a HEPA room filter (Honeywell or Kenmore - I have both) and leave it running in the darkroom on low 24/7 - it works.
In addition to vacuuming I have mounted a small dust collection unit by the enlarger. The unit has a high and low setting which I have it running the night before I get into the darkroom. It picks up some small particles very well and what it misses at least it give the air flow away from the enlarger and neg carrier slot. This is as quoted from the manufacture "The two-stage filter (one foam pre-filter, one electrostatic unwoven polypropylene) removes 93% of dust particles as small as 5 microns, and 84% at 1 micron". Portable Dust Filter System Model #AB260 Retailed through Lee Valley.. It seems to have helped me in our very dry winter months.
A darkroom needs to be sealed up with filtered air flow. I have a warm air vent with an extra filter in it which is the only air inlet to the room. Before printing I wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth. I also have a dedicated little vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to use before printing.
It's amazing how much dirt and dust get in there even with the door closed.
Also - NO PETS in the darkroom is the rule. I love my Reilly but he's not allowed in the darkroom.
Finally, I use a anti-static cloth on each negative just before placing in the enlarger. That said, I still have trouble in the winter when the air is dry. I would think Sacramento would have less on that account. Good luck and keep your spotting dyes at hand.
Certain types of negative material tends to attract more dust. Tmax 100 for example, whereas FP4+/HP5+ does not. Why is that?
My problem is not dust but spots on the negative. Why do these things always happen on the most important parts of the neg?
In general, I think that the environment plays a bigger part than the type of film. I can't comment on FP4+/FP5+ since I don't use them, but the film I use the most, T-Max 100, has never caused me the slightest problem with dust.