Expert Slide and Photo Scanning Since 2002
About Our Company
Expert Slide and Photo Scanning Since 2002
Usually, a slide cleaning project will amount to a lot of effort just to move the dirt around on the slide. Take into consideration that the film is stuck in a recessed area of the slide carrier. You really can't effectively remove the dirt no matter how much cleaning fluid that you use. You are mainly just moving it to the edges of your film. While we don't recommend it, in order to really clean the film, you should peal the cardboard carrier apart and take the film out and clean it that way. That is the only way that you will be able to get all the dirt off the film. If you have hundreds or thousands of slides, this is not very practical unless you are then going to put them on a drum scanner. I have seen drum scanner operators slit the cardboard holder open, do the cleaning and the scanning and then put the film back into the cardboard slide holder. You would have to be very careful doing this or have new holders to put your slide film in afterwards.
If you are determined to clean your 35mm slides, we can recommend some methods and products that might work for you.
This is the only cleaning method that we recommend for 99.9% of our customers.
We see slides, every day, that would be greatly improved with a simple light brushing with a very soft cloth. We would recommend any microfiber cloth simply because it works good and not because we have compared it to similar products. We do not sell it so please do not call to ask us. (You can purchase these cloths at OfficeMax or other office supply stores, among others. You will have to be the judge as to whether this is a good cleaning method for your slides. You have to be careful that there is nothing abrasive on the film or you will scratch it. Just imagine if there were sand on the film and it wouldn't matter how soft your cloth was. It is good for brushing off loose dirt but don't scrub with it. Do a test on one of your slides that may not be one that you will miss if it gets damaged.
Another good slide and film cleaning cloth would be the Anti-Static "Tiger Cloth™" from Kinetronics
The Kinetronics ASC-BP is an anti-static, microfiber cloth that has been specifically engineered for cleaning photographic films. The 10" x 18" (250mm x 450mm) orange cloth has stripes of effective conductive fibers knit every 1/8" or 4mm that dissipate or drain off static charges.
The Kinetronics ASC-BP is not wet or "soggy" and exposure to air won’t dry it out. The ultra soft cloth is so gentle you’ll feel comfortable using it on sensitive negatives and transparencies. Hundreds of thousands of small pockets in the microfiber cloth aggressively capture the dust and dirt from the film. You can also get these cloths from Adorama.com. The main thing you should be looking for is a "microfiber cloth". It really doesn't matter much where you get it or how much you pay.
Here are some links to different places that we found.
Walmart has had microfiber cloths. Just go to their website and search for "microfiber"
Here is what they have had in the past but we can't guarantee that this same product will always be available.
7 In X 6 In (18 Cm X 16 Cm).
Microfiber Texture - Removes Fingerprints & Smudges Without Scratching!* Lint-Free! Scratch-Free! Unique 3M Microfibers Lift Dust And Oils From Delicate Lenses Without The Use Of Chemicals. Ideal For Eyeglass Lenses, Camera Lenses, Binoculars, Microscopes And Other Delicate Surfaces. Saves Money. The Cloth Is Reusable And Machine Washable Hundreds Of Times. Non-Scratching*, Non-Linting. *Caution: Cloth Itself Does Not Scratch Surfaces, But Can Pick Up Particles That Do Scratch. Serged Edge May Scratch Delicate Surfaces With Direct Pressure.
80% Polyester, 29% Nylon.
Available In Blue Or Yellow.
Colts Laboratories: Performance Certification.
We do NOT recommend using liquid film cleaner but If you are determined to do the slide cleaning with a liquid, never clean film with a water based cleaner or water .
Use a cleaner made for film. Naphtha can be used, as can pure alcohol. Avoid rubbing alcohol since it often contains water. The fumes are dangerous so use with proper ventilation. Film cleaner can be applied with a clean soft cotton cloth. Use a soft fabric combined with very light pressure to avoid creating scratches. If the contamination or residue is actually embedded in the emulsion, cleaners won't solve the problem.
Below, you will see an example of slide cleaning gone bad. This customer would have been better off to leave the slide alone than to ruin it. Look at the outer edges to see what the center looked like before the "cleaning."
Some people use Kodak Film Cleaner which contains heptane and 1,1,2 trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane. You can moisten surgical cotton or an old cotton t-shirt with this cleaner and gently draw it across the slide or negative. Let the cleaner evaporate and blow off any cotton fibers with compressed photographic gas (e.g. Dust-Off). You should be able to get the liquid cleaner and compressed gas at any good camera store.
Products that you can use to clean your 35mm slides.
Please note that Old Photo does not sell any of these products and we have not tested them. Do your own test on a slide you don't care if you destroy or not.
Rexton film cleaner is a time-tested, neutral pH (acid-free) effective liquid cleaner that safely removes: fingerprints, grease ...
EDWAL Anit-Stat Film Cleaner 4 oz bottle
Safely cleans and lubricates color and B/W film. Makes them static-free and dust resistant. Safe for use with acetate and polyester film ...
There are many places on the Internet that sell PEC-12 and its related products. Just do a search in Google.
Since 1983, PEC-12, Photographic Emulsion Cleaner has been trusted by the world's most prestigious photographers, labs, museums and publishers. Not only does PEC-12 routinely save many of their most valuable images, but it is the ONLY archival cleaner available. PEC-12 is a non-water based film and print cleaner which removes virtually all non-water based stains from color and B&W slides, negatives and prints. PEC-12 removes grease pencil, adhesive residue, finger oils, ball-point pen, fungus, smoke & soot damage, laser separation oil and most permanent inks. Containing no water, PEC-12 dries instantly with no emulsion swelling and leaves no residue. A single 4 ounce bottle will cost about $15 or so.
PEC-12 is a waterless Photographic Emulsion Cleaner which is suitable for use on most film and print emulsions. It is a blend of organic hydrocarbon solvents with a neutral pH and is free from chlorofluorocarbons and chlorinated hydrocarbons. It dries instantly, leaves no residue and meets archival needs. Because it contains no water, PEC-12 will not cause emulsion swelling, tackiness, water marks or other damage associated with re-washing. If one pass with the cleaner and the pad does not remove the dirt, then you may have a water based stain and you can't remove it with this cleaner.
PEC-PADs are a unique blend of fibers especially designed for photographic applications. PEC*PADs are smooth and soft . . . making them nonabrasive, strong and lint free. PEC-PADs can be safely used on all hardened photographic emulsions, including films and papers. Extreme care must be used with 35mm film, since these films are very easily scratched.
A pack of 100 4" x 4" Pec-Pads will cost about $7.
A Kit of the PEC-12 and the PEC-PADs will cost about $17 each.
The PEC-12 company recommends using each pad only for one swipe on a piece of film. That is so that you will not be wiping the dirt back on to the film. You could rotate the pad in order to get more efficient use of the pad on more than one film.
Your site is very informative. Thanks!
You give instructions for cleaning your own slides how do you charge per slide when you clean them?
I have maybe 200 slides at the most that I would consider digitizing. They've been in plastic page protectors in a notebook for 25-30 years and I realize that I would need to repackage them for shipping to you, but if I'm going to let you clean them, I guess I wouldn't bother with that. Thanks in advance for your time and attention to my question.
how do you charge per slide when you clean them?
We don't clean them. The only way to properly clean the film would be to take it out of the cardboard or plastic holder and wipe the film with film cleaner. If you try to use film cleaner on a 35mm slide, basically all you are doing is moving the dirt around because you can't wipe it off since the edges of the holder catch the dirt. You could try blotting the film off but that is not going to remove all of the dust.
I would suggest that clean your slides with a microfiber cloth and then take advantage of our offer to scan ten of your slides and make a DVD playable slide show of them for free and see what they look like. They may turn out much better than you imagine.