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slighty OT, how do I clean dirty prints?

armando roldan , May 21, 2005; 10:45 p.m.

Excuse for posting the Nikon forum but photo.net only provides a lot of B&W imaging forums.

ANYWAYS..... My wife loves to put photos on our refrigerater held up by magnets. Over time some of our most cherished photographs (have lost the negetives and not on digital files) are now coated with a very thin layer of airborne kitchen grease that have built up over years. The questions are:

How do I clean these prints? Float them in a hot water bath for some time? Add some grease dissolving dish soap? I guess I could scan them but I feel I would lose some of the original luster/glossy finish and true print color.

Responses

Chris Combs , May 22, 2005; 03:45 p.m.

Once I tried to clean some minilab prints by soaking them in a bucket of hot water. Three days later I remembered them and discovered that some layers of the emulsion had separated.


verbatim

Alex Lofquist , May 22, 2005; 05:50 p.m.

Get a Groomstick from www.LightImpressionsDirect.com.

Richard Meyers , May 22, 2005; 06:03 p.m.

Hi Armando -

I think your problem will be that anything strong enough to re-emulsify the dried grease will affect the prints. I would suggest scanning before you attempt any cleaning so you will have something of a backup.

I have successfully cleaned dusty/dirty photos by soaking them in Kodak Photo-flo soln. This is a surfactant used in making prints in the darkroom so it's fully compatible with the emulsions. However, it isn't very 'powerful' as a cleaner.

Some possible things to try include an ammonia solution (degreasers are generally alkaline), dish soap or APC (all purpose cleaner such as 409 or Simple Green). These should all be diluted with water (distilled if you have it). Try soaking overnight and then feel the surface to see if anything has loosened up.

Tip - Pick your least favorite print and cut it into quarters for test cleaning.

Good luck.

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