I use a small, 4x5 developing tray. Put about a 1/4 teaspoon of Photo-Flo in the tray and fill up with warm water from the tap.
Originally Posted by Stephen Prunier
I let the film soak for a few minutes before working. Then hold the film down to the bottom of the tray with two fingers and wipe across the film with the Q-Tip. Pretend you are painting the film so you cover the whole surface evenly. Use light pressure but firm enough to "scrub" away embedded dust.
Make sure you hold the film and the Q-Tip completely under water. Rotate the swab as you move so only clean cotton touches the film. Change to a new, clean swab often. Any tiny, little bit of grit on the swab will scratch the film. What's worse, you might not know that you scratched the film until you put it back in the enlarger and try to print from it.
Do both sides of the film. Swirl the solution a couple of times to wash away any loose particles then hang to dry.
Wait a minute or two so the film can drain. Shine a light off the film so you can see the reflection. You should be able to see any particles still adhering to the film. If there are still particles, wash again or, better yet, use a syringe filled with your solution to squirt the dust off the film.
I just washed this negative that way: http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/5875851924
With a picture that dark (or a negative that clear) I thought I would never get it clean but I only had to dab out two or thee small spots on the final print. (The one and only thing I like about digital/hybrid photography is that spots are so much easier to clean up.)
In the future, I think I'm going to get an electrostatic air cleaner if I can find one. Combine that with keeping the darkroom clean and I think I'll be able to keep the dust down to a tolerable level.
This is my solution:
Photo Flo..........................2.50 mL
70 % Isopropanol alcohol....30.00 mL
Soak film 1 - 2 min, hang to dry --- NO SQUEEGEEING
I would suggest as follows - I don't use Photo-Flo, but after washing I dunk and swirl the film for about 30 seconds in de-ionised water and then hang to dry in ambient temperature. This ensures no drying marks. However, before storage in a negative page, I place the strips of 6 pictures on the negative page, shiny side up and breathe on them as you would to mist up a mirror and then wipe shiny side only with a clean lens cloth. The result is perfectly clean negs.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
I use a film vacuum cleaner. It has two rows of soft, anti-static brushes between which you gently pull the film. A small electric motor draws in the air between the two brushes. Don't know if these things are still available. Maybe in a sale from a professional darkroom. Works wonderful anyhow.
I took your advice on the PecPads (without the solution). Those are amazing for grabbing dust!
Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan
Glass negative carrier + PecPads = no problem! I wipe all four sides, make a little PecPad sandwich (PP is the bread, negative is the meat), pull the neg through and it's nearly flawless. The few spots I've had are so tiny that they take but a few seconds to spot.
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I use my breath and a lens microfiber on the non-emulsion side set on a clean surface. Rubbing gently with a microfiber between thumb and forefinger can sometimes get rid of embedded dust.