I just use an anti-static brush and that does a nice job. I try to mess with them as little as possible. The advice about pushing the slide in and out to scrape out the slot IMO sounds like it will just wear out your lifght traps at 10X the pace if done too often. If you keep the DDS clean, this should not need doing very often at all.
One of the most important things is to keep dirt away from them in the first place and that means sealed bags. If this dust does not get into the felt traps you wont need to remove it.
I have found canned air pretty well useless as most dust seems to cling on (even to flat smooth surfaces) despite the hurricane unleashed on it. The natural fibre anti-static brush I got from framers supplier is incredible. It also is incredible for cleaning big negs (Called a Static Whisk or Wand or something- sorry it is in storage or i would be able to tell you for sure). until I got it I never would have realised how much of a role static has in attracting dust to the DDS and then preventing its removal. the anti-static brush sees to that.
Be aware that in my experience, most of the dust that ends up in your DDS will have come from your camera bag or whatever the main carrier for the DDS is, so a sealed bag is needed to keep this out no matter how clean the photo bag 'seems' to be.
A great product for photo use that you may have in your cupboard already is Swiffer pads (the dry ones ), they're excellent for capturing dust and lint. I vacuum old film holders, wipe them down with an ammonia-based cleaner (Windex), and then run a Swiffer cloth through the light trap. Once they're clean they go into a zip-lock bag.
Tom brings up a good point about using compressed air----if you try blowing out the dust, the dust has to go somewhere and you don't want it in your dark room!
If I absolutely have to use compressed air, like if you buy holders that were stored in King Tut's pyramid for 3,000 years, take them to a gas station and use the tire air, them bring them home as vacume them thoroughly like a good scout ;-)
Some dark slides are made out of stuff that dosen't like water. For this reason I don't give them baths.
Light traps also trap dust. This is one reason why I prefer the wooden black Eastman Kodak made by Graflex ones with the light traps that your can unscrew if the shop vac approach proves futile.
Zip locks are the way to go. If static electricity is a problem,the anti static bags are the way to go, but it hasn't been a problem for me so I get mine at (ugh) Wal mart. For ULF size holders, (ugh) Wal mart sells dust proof zippered inner pillow case liners which look pretty classy and work well.
For grime, a cleanser like 409, Orange or Simple Green---or worst case scenario Goof Off helps. Don't spray it directly on the holder, put it on a rag first.
After you've got them to sparkle, a bit of wax along the edges of the dark slides will make them run smoother. Pledge, Butcher's Wax, Simonize, Blue Coral, Bee's wax whatever works---just use sparingly. I rub it in by rubbing the edges between the tip of my forefinger and thumb.
I hope this helps.
I should clarify my suggested use of compressed air. Compressed air in my experience works well when used in an open area in conjunction with a changing tent and ziplock storage bags. Simply empty the holder, remove it from the tent, blast it thoroughly, place it back in the tent, load it, then store it in a ziplock bag. This protocol has worked well for me in the field and is relatively fast. I agree that using compressed air in a confined space like a darkroom or motel bathroom can be problematic, as the dust has nowhere to go.
Regarding dirty holders that require serious cleaning: this discussion has joggled my memory and I now remember that I used Brillianize to clean my "new used" holders when I first got into 8x10. It reportedly was recommended by John Sexton for cleaning film holders (see http://largeformatphotography.info/l...ic/153350.html) and worked well for me. It can be purchased at a variety of places, including here: http://www.brillianize.com/.
Mr Sexton tells his students to ALWAYs keep film holders in a sealed environment ALL the time. I use a high quality brush to clean holders. So far I have not had any problems with dust.
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