View Full Version : Dusk control in the darkroom

26-Oct-2000, 18:56
I was just wondering what other people are doing as far as dust goes, When maki ng 8x10 contacts I tend to blow it off a lot and use an illford cloth, but dust still remains a problem for me. I'm thinking of adding one of those radio activ e brushes to my proccess, but was wondering if anybody had some suggestions. (b esides spotting) I'd particuarily like to hear about ways to get dust in genera l out of the room. What kinds of room filters work best without spending a fort une.


Bill Smith
26-Oct-2000, 23:24

Keeping a clean darkroom is the first law of photography.

I have little problem with dust. I tend to be fairly meticulous when it comes to the darkroom. After each printing session I wipe down all counters, cabinets, the sink, the enlarger, and shelves with a damp cloth. The floor is damp mopped weekly.

I clean each negative with PEC-12 and PEC wipes before placing in a negative carrier. This anti-static cleaner really is worth it's weight in gold.

My enlarger is covered with a plastic trash bag when not in use. Once a month I wipe all enlarger parts and vacuum the bellows.

Sounds like a lotof work, but in reality it only takes about 10 minutes after each session. My darkroom is 8' x 12' in size. This routine results in prints with virtually no dust spots. On ocassion a minute or two of careful spotting is required, but in general my prints and negatives are dust free.

One other good technique is to run hot water in the sink for a few minutes prior to printing. This will quickly raise the humidity and allow the dust to fall from the air.

Remember to also wipe up chemical spills quickly. Dry chemicals will result in dust as well.


Jeff White
27-Oct-2000, 00:17
I prefer Ed Westons view on dust, leave it alone and it will leave you alone. I aggree that an occassional good cleaning is needed but once you stir up dust it can take days to settle back down.

David A. Goldfarb
27-Oct-2000, 00:53
I like the 4" Kinetronics brush quite a lot.

Sean Billy Bob Boy yates
27-Oct-2000, 01:39
My darkroom is a 6' X 6' X 6' walk in cedar closet. Even the floor is wood. We share our house with 20 felines. Half of them live in the basement where the darkroom is.

I keep the door closed at all times. I mop before during and after use. I bought a nice barometer/hygrometer/thermometer at a yardsale and try to keep things at 70 F. and 50%. If it gets too dry, I boil water in a Visionware bowl on a hot plate. I'm sure a humidifier would work better, but I haven't found one small enough and cheap enough yet. My wife found an air purifier at a yardsale and I am trying to talk her into letting me use it. Otherwise the only ventalation is when I open the door to take the prints to the sink.

Each negative is wiped GENTLY with an Ilfrod anti-staticum and if necessary brushed with a standard 2" "camel's" hair brush. So far, all this has worked pretty well.

Mani Sitaraman
27-Oct-2000, 03:36
Take out all carpeting in your darkroom if by chance you have any.

Learn to vacuum and then wet mop all surfaces, at least twice a week.

If you have active ventilation (i.e. an extractor fan) the room will be turned into a giant vacuum cleaner, sucking in dusty air whereever there are cracks. The best cure for this is to install a filtered intake vent.

Keep the room humid, if you can. Use a $10 drugstore steam humidifier. Don't overdo it though and have condensation running down the walls or causing mildew. Mildew is an overlooked source of dust.

Radioactive brushes for negatives are very effective.

Keep the enlarger head covered with a clean garbage bag, closed with a rubber band, when not in use. When you remove the bag, do so gently, so dust does not go flying off onto your work surfaces.

Follow the above rules, and your spotting needs will be greatly reduced.

If you are in the US, the biggest problems in terms of dust control, IMHO, are the dry interiors in the winter, and carpeting.

andrea milano
27-Oct-2000, 09:53
The brushes which you are talking about are not radioactive, they are simpli brushes which are either of atistatic material or common brushes and two ionizating rods . Without going into details, I would advice to look up the address of SIMCO an American company with several branches all over the world. Simco produces many differen types of antistatic devices for various industrial uses. The most popular products for the professional darkroom have been discontinued (Brushes and rods device 12cm or 25cm high) the only one left is for medium format, second hand though should be no problem to acquire, they are fairly common. I have one for sale should you require one very badly (I live in the Netherlands) I can send it to you. Good luck.

andrea milano
27-Oct-2000, 09:58
The address it simply(this time spelled correcttly) http: www.simco-static.com try there they will tell you everything you need to know on this brushes

Sergio Ortega
27-Oct-2000, 11:34

Some time back I started using one of the Sears air purifiers in my darkroom. Supposedly it completely filters the air in the entire room every few minutes, removing all airborne micro-fine particles. I let it run in the room for extended periods of time, after I've wiped everything down and dusted, and it definitely seems to have reduced the amount of dust I would usually find in the uusual places.

pat krentz
27-Oct-2000, 14:15
I use a Norelco Cam 665 air filter, I let it run about 1/2 hour before going into the dark room, works great. O yea, I got it at Wal- mart. Pat