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Thread: fabric softener to remove dust?

  1. #1
    David J. Heinrich
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    fabric softener to remove dust?

    Hi all,

    When looking for an air filtration solution for my workstation, I ran across a suggestion to use fabric softener, as it is charged to attract and pick up dust. I bet this would work well when loading film into the holders in a film loading bag (i.e., to clean the holders).

    I also saw suggestions to use a small vacuum cleaner and fresh disposable garbage bag inside the changing bag.

  2. #2

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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    I once rode to the airport with an eccentric old woman wearing a scarf filled with dryer sheets. She told me that it kept the static out of her hairdo when flying. Maybe I should try rubbing my darkslides with Bounce.

  3. #3
    David J. Heinrich
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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter View Post
    I once rode to the airport with an eccentric old woman wearing a scarf filled with dryer sheets. She told me that it kept the static out of her hairdo when flying. Maybe I should try rubbing my darkslides with Bounce.
    Just thing of Mr. Snuggles next time your changing film:



    PS: while finding that, I found a hilarious commercial for an old game with the snuggle in it. (warning: this is funny but may disturb some).

  4. #4

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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    I tried Bounce.

    Took care of dust but left fabric softener in its place.


    T

  5. #5
    hacker extraordinaire
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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    Fabric dryer sheets all work the same way...fat. Basically they use a form of tallow both to help conduct away static charges and to reduce triboelectric charging. Static-Guard is the same thing in a spray bottle. I use static guard on my vinyl records to absolutely kill static. It's miraculous, especially during dry OH winters where I used to be able to sit in the dark and watch blue sparks race around the record, with rather audible results. I use it now on my film-loading area, film holder-holding-ziplocks, and carefully on my film loaders and darkslides.

  6. #6
    David J. Heinrich
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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    Fabric dryer sheets all work the same way...fat. Basically they use a form of tallow both to help conduct away static charges and to reduce triboelectric charging. Static-Guard is the same thing in a spray bottle. I use static guard on my vinyl records to absolutely kill static. It's miraculous, especially during dry OH winters where I used to be able to sit in the dark and watch blue sparks race around the record, with rather audible results. I use it now on my film-loading area, film holder-holding-ziplocks, and carefully on my film loaders and darkslides.
    Do you actually spray it on the inside of your film-holder where the film goes, or around the outside and near the folding compartments? If you used it on the flat surface where the film goes, wouldn't you be worried about residual lipid being left over and smearing your film?

  7. #7
    hacker extraordinaire
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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    Do you actually spray it on the inside of your film-holder where the film goes,
    Lightly, yes.

    If you used it on the flat surface where the film goes, wouldn't you be worried about residual lipid being left over and smearing your film?
    No. It's not like there's a detectable layer of gunk left on it.

  8. #8
    jp498's Avatar
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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    In addition to having had to deal with dusty negatives, I'm also allergic to dust (or dust mites rather), so I'm sometimes a snob about the topic.

    Using a central vac is pretty much the only way to actually remove dust when you vacuum. Any other vacuuming, unless it's some sort of HEPA system that's in perfect working order and adjustment, is going to stir up dust. (Basically remove some big pieces in exchange for smaller pieces.)

    Some dust is attracted or retained by static electricity. I've tried spraying fabric softener around, and its effect was temporary, and I don't like needlessly spraying any chemical.

    If you want to stop static, which dryer sheets are indeed good for, antistatic bags are great. Computer parts come with them. Any local computer repair shop probably disposes of scores of them on a regular basis, and they come in all sizes. These are the pink or metallic plastic bags that electronics ship in. They'd probably be great for storing film holders. You can also attach them anywhere you need to kill static. I've taped them to a plastic seat before that used to zap me real good everytime I got up. Just having it on the seat solved the problem 100%.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    Antistatic sprays are routinely available from tech and industrial suppliers. I have
    been using them on my darkslides and filmholders for decades. Photography in the
    desert would be unthinkable without this. And a single bottle will last a long time
    because you only need to spray your slides about every five or ten years! There are
    many sources, but McMaster Carr is a good place to start for both this and the pink
    antistatic bags. While you're at it, order an all-dacron cleanroom smock too, and
    you'll solve about half your darkroom dust problem instantly.

  10. #10
    David J. Heinrich
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    Re: fabric softener to remove dust?

    Thanks all for your suggestions.

    I have a white porcelain-feeling table in my basement that I can clean off nicely and use as my work-area for film. I'll use that spray stuff on it.

    Drew,

    A cleanroom smock...am I supposed to wear it? Huh? I'm doing this in my basement, which is not a clean-room (although I'm getting a changing bag).

    Also, you say a single bottle of the anti-static guard will last a long time because you only need to spray every several years, but I read on an eBay auction of Static-Guard that it's only supposed to last a day. Is there a special kind your using?

    PS: What about these products? A Kinetronics Mini-Stat Bench-Mount Two-Brush Anti-Static Film Cleaner and Edwal Anti-Static Film Cleaner (some kind of liquid).

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