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Thread: Dust Demons

  1. #1

    Dust Demons

    I am curious to know what measures people have had to go to in order to eliminat e dust from negatives when printing. This is a constant battle for me and it isn 't helped by my perfectionist nature. I can brush, blow (before you say it, not with my mouth) and curse at negatives and dust will still appear where it wasn't 15 seconds ago.I have cleaned the enlarger out on several occasions and cover i t between uses. I clean contact printing frames regularly and practicly between each print. I have heard that it is a good idea to ground your enlarger but I am unclear what this does for me. I am looking for the definitive solution folks! Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 1999

    Dust Demons

    I've found humidity makes a difference. I print in the bathroom and find dust problems are substantially reduced if I run the hot water and kick up some steam which seems to settle the dust. A humidifier or vaporizer might act similarly. I think grounding the enlarger would serve to dissipate any static charge that accumulates. DJ

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2000

    Dust Demons

    Short of printing in a class 1 cleanroom, about the best you can do is buy one of the wall mounted dust filtration devices. Honeywell makes a nice one for about $165.00; available at Wall-Mart. There are other manufacturers as well. You might want to buy two. One to mount near the enlarger and one close to the door to your darkroom. You probably will not be able to eliminate every spec of dust, but these devices will help get rid of the big stuff.



  4. #4

    Dust Demons

    David I don't think we'll ever eliminate dust completely from our negs. The firs t problem is reducing the dust that settles on drying film and for this I use a Durst UT100 film drying cabinet (I don't heat dry just let it dry naturally), bu t what ever you use you must make sure the film and the area around the film is not disturbed by air movements whilst it dries. Next cleaning the neg, carrier, I use a double glass carrier so those extra surfaces are a nightmere to keep cle an. I clean the glass with propan-2-ol (iso-propyl alcohol) this also helps to r emove moisture from the glass surfaces preventing Newton rings. I use one of the microfibre lens cloths to give the glass a final polish to remove any smearing. Then I give a quick wisk with an anti-static brush, in goes the carrier and whi le still open I give a quick blast from a can of compressed air. Before I insert the neg. I give it a gentle blast of air from one of those hand bulb types the can of air would be too strong and could blow the neg. out of your hand. Stuck on the side of my enlarger I have a double anti-static brush (Pro-Co RM200 0) through which I pass roll film but it's a bit small for the 45 negs. Another thing to remember is to use an air blower on the enlarging paper just be fore exposure you'll be surprised how mush dust is CONTACT dust. Have fun, regards, Trevor.

  5. #5

    Dust Demons

    I really agree with the comment above about humidity. When it gets to summertime in Baltimore, humidity capital of America, my dust problems evaporate, to return in the dry winter weather. I've also begun running hot water in the darkroom to up the humidity, which seems to help. I bet a humidifier would go a long way toward solving your problem.


  6. #6
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Honolulu, Hawai'i

    Dust Demons

    I've been using a 4-inch Kinetronics anti-static brush for a few months, and I find it quite effective.

  7. #7

    Dust Demons

    .I think the above are all on target. I went 4 plus years with no dust problems. Then all of the sudden it started this past winter(dry Colorado) and just keep getting worse by the day. I thought I had film problems it got so bad and I really had NEVER had dust problems. I was very discouraged and started doing a lot of calling for help, you would be amazed at the methods that are use to solve the problem. For me the Humidity was the best answer. I noticed almost instant results and things got back to normal. But I was interested in prevention and one recommendation came from a gentleman in AZ. It seems they fight this more than most. He suggested using Dryer Sheets to dust everything with (Clothes Dryer Sheets) and he suggested putting them in the bottom of my equipment bags. I was very reluctant because of the greasy feeling of the sheets and the concern of spreading it all over the Darkroom and my equipment. This has not been a problem at all and I think it helps! I work in and around very very fine dust all the time and I had to dust equipment all the time to prevent contamination. Sometimes every day. I now do less dusting and change the sheets out everyother week and they look almost black when I throw them out. I am now curious about the new Dusting Sheets that are being pushed (TV Adds) right now. But I keep forgetting to try them. One other item I would like to touch on is that you need to remember to rotate your anti-static brushes out (I rotate them every 4 months) as they loose their punch after a while. There is a very noticeable difference between new and used. I keep the Old one for heavy dirt and the New one for Fine Cleaning. This is an Old Topic but a Darn good one and one of the more important

  8. #8
    tim atherton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1998

    Dust Demons

    Hey, never thought of Dryer Sheets. But what about this? Do you guy's down there in the USofA have the "Swiffer" - it's some little miracle duster/cloth that they advertise with neausiating ads - S..S..S..SWIFFER!

    BUT, these things are supposed to suck up the dust like cazy. I think I may make my way to Walmart (yep, Walmart has even made it to the sub-arctic!) and buy a pack and try them out.

    The atmosphere here gets incredibly dry, especially in winter. May do the trick as well. But I think I'll try those dryer cloths too.

    Tim A
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn blog

  9. #9

    Dust Demons

    That's the one, I couldnt think of the name. A lot of good thier add did on me. :-) I would hope that they don't have the greasy feel that the Dryer Sheets have. But like I said I have not had any problems so far. Maybe someone can tell us whats in the darn things, To make them work. Oh one more thing my bags sure smell a lot better!

  10. #10

    Dust Demons

    I agree that most dust problems are really static charge problems, and brushing will actually attract more dust. There's a simple, very low tech solution. After brushing the surface (neg or glass) just breathe over it, before using the air blower. There's enough moisture in exhaled air to create a discharge path for static electricity. A sheet of 10 x 8 inch glass can leave you a bit breathless, though, and I hope you don't suffer from Asthma!

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