View Full Version : inexpensive print washing

14-Mar-2009, 17:08
Times being what they are, I've been experimenting with print washing that doesn't break the bank. Here's what I'm doing which, I believe, is doing the trick.

I have an old sink in the basement -- one of those old bi-level whales from before dishwashers. Level 1 about 6" deep, level 2 about 18" deep. You'd wash dishes in the shallow one and dunk in the deep one. When filling the shallow one, it will overflow into the deep one.

So. I went out to a pet/fish shop and got a $28 water pump, plus 4' of hose. I fill the shallow sink until is is overflowing and the deep sink to between 6" and 8". Insert the pump in the deep sink, and move water from the deep sink to the shallow sink, with the hose raised up enough to spout the water back into the shallow sink. Prints go in the shallow sink. Once the sinks are filled, I don't change the water in them. I leave the prints in for an hour.

Does it work? Well, selenium toning is supposed to produce ugly staining if the prints aren't washed enough. I just did a batch of toning, and saw no stains. So I guess it works.

Just another idea for print washing for those on a short budget.


Gem Singer
14-Mar-2009, 17:26
A standard print developing tray, one size larger than the largest paper you are using, and a Kodak Tray Siphon, placed in a bathtub.

Oren Grad
14-Mar-2009, 17:32
I use a Kodak Tray Siphon myself.

Many different approaches to print washing can be made to work. But to have reasonable assurance that your wash is effective, you should use a test designed for that purpose:


Nathan Potter
14-Mar-2009, 18:57
Soaking through successive dilutions is fine. Every time you change water volume the only carry over of chemistry is that volume contained in the paper. You quickly reduce the volume of contaminant to parts per million. For fiber papers even 4 changes should be enough if your water volumes are large. The only caution when floating the prints flat is to make sure the corners and edges don't curl up and out of the water bath - hence the advantage of a real immersion print washer.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Andrew O'Neill
14-Mar-2009, 19:53
A tray and water is all you need unless you are printing at high volumes. I use the soak and dump method. Works very well, and saves a hell of a lot of water.

15-Mar-2009, 07:00
Make sure prints do not stick together. Test with retained hypo test to check the quality of the wash. This is such a unique personal one off setup that you can't take anyone else's word that it gives a good wash - not David Vestal - not Ansel - no one - test or you are taking too much of a chance.



PS. I got this below somewhere off the internet.

Kodak Hypo Test HT-2 residual hypo test
Distilled Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 750 ml
28% Acetic Acid . . . . . . . . . . . . . .* .125 ml
Silver Nitrate, Crystals . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5 g
Distilled Water to Make . . . . . . . . . . .* * 1 L

silver nitrate takes around 24 hours to fully dissolve.

(Store in a tightly sealed brown glass bottle away from strong light sources.* This solution stains everything it touches, so don’t splash it around.)

For paper, place one drop on the border of the print, let it stand for 2 minutes, then rinse with water.* If the print is thoroughly washed the solution will produce only a very faint tea-colored stain, or possibly no stain at all.* If it is inadequately washed, the solution will produce a rather dark tea-colored stain. To judge the stains accurately you should purchase a Kodak® Hypo Estimator, which costs about $3.

For film, cut off a small piece of film and drop it into the test solution for 3 minutes.* Properly washed films should show virtually no discoloration.

Albrecht Namatdurer
20-Mar-2009, 01:49
I live in the driest continent etc- any suggestions as to how to REDUCE the amount of water needed to rinse?
we take 2 minute showers, use an electric razor, flush the loo when we have to- don't mow the dustbowl and watch plants die etc


20-Mar-2009, 03:38
I was going to ask a similar question here a little while ago,
or a variation on it-
What makes a washer Archival?

but I think this thread is answering some of my questions-

I made a simple print washer, because it's expensive to buy,
and this stuff doesn't come up here used often-

It only took about an hour to make,
sourcing the materials took longer-

Materials cost about €50...

I started off with a ten gallon tank from the plumber's merchants,
and then built a holder for the prints from perspex and 6mm pvc rods-


I pared the rods at both ends;
the top end to remove the burrs that might scratch the prints,
and the bottom to provide a well to hold epoxy that would glue the components together.


The perspex was drilled with large holes to allow water to flow through evenly-


20-Mar-2009, 03:41
Then to get the water flowing in the tank;
pipes were laid in the bottom,
drilled along their length, to distribute the water-


It has a capacity of eleven 9.5 x 12 inch prints,
And it seems to work fine...