View Full Version : Clearing agent for Type 55?

Paul Kierstead
12-Nov-2003, 18:17
Let the questions begin!

It would appear our local photo stores do not carry sodium sulfite. Polaroid says do NOT use a conventional fixer. Are there any alternatives? Perhaps some other kind of store that would carry it? I really don't wish to mail order unless absolutely required to do so.

At least one poster has said just water will do (http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000mBH), but Polaroid seems pretty adamant that clearing is required...


Tracy Storer
12-Nov-2003, 19:01
Hi there, If your local photo stores carry Kodak chemicals, they can get Sodium Sulfite for you. There are also numerous chemical supply houses around the country that can supply it. Check your yellow pages for "chemicals". Sodium Sulfite is pretty common and should not be hard to find in any locale. Good luck,

Ted Harris
12-Nov-2003, 19:18
Water ..... yeah water works just fine. You can rewash/clear later with sodium sulfite if you want (especially for permanancy) but water works.

Keith Pitman
12-Nov-2003, 20:42
Why not try some of the alternatives yourself and decide what works?

Paul Kierstead
12-Nov-2003, 20:46
One of the few local shops that carry chemistry gave me some weird story about not being allowed to carry it anymore; said it was dangerous. Actually said you need a license! This sounds very fishy.

Anyway, I will hassle them and in the meantime use water.

Thanks for the help.

Gem Singer
12-Nov-2003, 20:48
Hi Paul,

You can also use Heico Permawash, Orbit Bath, or Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent. They all contain, mostly, sodium sulfite. Sodium sulfite is alkaline . Fixer contains either sodium or ammonium thiosulfate. It is an acidic solution. The paste-like developing agent that Polaroid uses is highly alkaline (potassium hydroxide). It will react strongly to acid. That is why Polaroid recommends using a hardening fixer only after all of the developing paste has been removed from the surface of the Type 55 negatives.

David R Munson
12-Nov-2003, 20:54
I use Permawash with good results. It's easy to get, easy to use, inexpensive. I see no reason to use anything else, honestly.

Philippe Gauthier
12-Nov-2003, 21:17
Sodium sulfite is the best, easiest stuff, but if you don't mind a little extra effort, the efficacity of Parmawash or just plain water is well documented.

For cheap a source of photo chemicals in Canada (pay in cheap canadian dollars!) try the excellent and very kind Johnny Deiure (he's more or less my neighbour, but he sells across the world): http://www.colba.net/~fotochem/

Philippe Gauthier
12-Nov-2003, 21:23
Forgot to say: Johnny sells 100 grams of sodium bisulfite for 3 USD, 7.50 for 500 grams (over a pound). If you ever want 11 pounds of the stuff (5 kg), it's 34.50. He ships via USPS surface.

Paul Kierstead
12-Nov-2003, 21:46
LOL, the CAD are not so cheap for me; I am in Canada. OTOH, his prices are good and there are no border hassles, so maybe I'll give him a swing if the locals don't pan out.

I was thinking Hypo should work as suggested; since I already am accumulating misc negs (in a corningware of water dish of all things), maybe I will try it on one of the experimental one in the meantime.

I can't remember how hard this all was before the web....even though I did some development then, but have forgotten everything I learned.

Bill Jefferson
13-Nov-2003, 03:31
Hi Paul, Yes clearing is a must if you wish to keep the negative. MY ALTERNATIVE solution, when i run out of sodium sulfite warm water, 2 drops of ivory clear uncented sish washinf detergent. Even though i work for Polaroid. I still recomend the sulfite clearing. This will be slow, i use the yankee cut film holders and dip and dunk slowly the film in the solution, it will take a 10 min soak to wash off the anti halation back coat, using this method.

The fixer hardener is to help prevent scratches on the negatives, as the emultion is on the soft side.

Daniel Blakeslee
13-Nov-2003, 04:47
Galumet sells a clearing kit which consists of a pail, a rack that holds several negs and a big bag of sodium sulfite. Just mix it with water and you are good to go. The top is very difficult to get off of the pail, which is probably a good thing. If you spill it in your car it can be an awful mess. Use plain water and leave the pail at home.

Tim Curry
13-Nov-2003, 05:30
Artcraft sells sodium sulfite at $4.50 for a one pound quantity. This should last a while. As far as it being a "dangerous" chemical, I got a notice at my shop once telling me that my sawdust was now considered a "hazardous waste" and must be disposed of properly. Since then, I haven't worried about chemicals but sawdust. Many thanke to the EPA for the tip.

Brian Kennedy
13-Nov-2003, 07:46
I also use Permawash. Just a couple of splashes of it in a tray of water works great and clears the negs quickly.

13-Nov-2003, 08:13
There seems to be two seperate steps here. 1) Clearing the gook off the negative, and 2) fixing the nagative for permanence. Water will clearly (pun) get rid of the gook. Does that leave the nevative subject to fading if additional chemicals aren't used?

Bill Jefferson
13-Nov-2003, 11:41

Water alone isn,t really the best way to clear the neg. as the antihalation back needs to be desolved off also. Fixing the neg will help prevent scratches while working with the neg.