View Full Version : Wash methods for film using trays and distilled water?

4-Aug-2010, 17:59
My wash water comes out of a spring and runs through old pipes that contain huge amounts of rust and salt. I have a filtration system but even with that the water has ruined too many negatives. I'd like to switch over to tray washing in distilled water and am looking for recommendations for adequate washing using trays and distilled water (number of baths, time in each bath, number of dumps).

Thanks for the help,
Shoshone, CA

Bob McCarthy
4-Aug-2010, 18:07
I believe it was Kodak that recommended 5 changes of water with plenty of agitation/time with each bath/soak. I rinse that way when I'm doing a few sheets of 8x10. I soak/agitate maybe 20 minutes between water changes.

Easy to get a test kit to confirm. Be generous with the amount of water in the tray. Though I use tap water for all the chaanges except for the final. Use a hypo clear to be sure.


4-Aug-2010, 19:12
Thank you Bob!

Bob McCarthy
4-Aug-2010, 19:29
You're welcome. The only caution would be filling the tray with too much fllm and trying to batch wash. I typically process 4 sheets at a time and with interleafing all have plenty of exposure to the washing water.


4-Aug-2010, 20:57
I found an old dish rack (one that was not too scratched) and have been using that in a wash basin to hold negatives for a longer period. (this is from Ken Lee's website). I'm using tap water, and it takes a lot, but perhaps something similar could work in a smaller amount of water.

I think it's important to say that the emulsion doesn't touch the rack, only the non-emulsion side.

Nathan Potter
5-Aug-2010, 08:33
Laura, you might try using the salty tap water for the first couple of rinses where the major dilution of fixer takes place, then end up with the distilled water as a near final wash prior to hypo clear.

All this depends on the exact nature of the contamination from your tap water. Is it particulate contamination or a staining type from extremely small dissolved residue?
What is the pore size of your filter system?

I did have a serious problem with dissolved lime leaving a whitish stain on negs. I now use a three filter system - first 5 micron, second 1.0 micron and third 0.22 microns. With final photoflo the negs are clean and spotless.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Jim Noel
5-Aug-2010, 09:40
The Ilford method is five changes of water at one minute intervals with constant agitation. This is not best with a lot of film. I restrict this method to 2 sheets at a time.
If you have space for 5 trays it becomes very easy and very economical. Fill the five trays. Put one sheet in the first tray, move it in one minute and put a second sheet in the first tray, etc. when the first sheet is removed from the fifth tray, refill the first tray and move it to position 5.
This method does not require large quantities in each tray, but just enough to easily cover the sheet of film.

5-Aug-2010, 17:07
Thank you Jim, and everyone else who replied! Most helpful, I'm going with the Ilford method.