Cleaning negatives for scanning?


TPF Noob!
May 10, 2003
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I'm very happy because I finally made my film scanner work.
I have an older Epson Perfection 2400 Photo scanner.
I just installed Vuescan 8.6.50 and I finally was able to start scanning 35mm negatives.
That's the good part. Now I have tons of questions:
Due to my careless way of storing negatives for decades most need attention. Most have dust.
Some look like "wet or sticky" for lack of a better description. Not sure if it is the emulsion damaged or what.

So the first question is: Can negatives be cleaned? If so, How?

Does vuescan has something like ICE or similar process to deal with dust or imperfections?

Any advise on how to proceed? Any tips? I know it is quite broad but I have no idea where to start.

I have tons and tons of negatives I'd love to scan. I think I have just embarked in a lifelong or at least a very long journey....

In general, film can be cleaned provided you use an appropriate cleaner. This Edwal produce is a good choice:

[ame=] Edwal Anti-Stat Film Cleaner, for Black & White and Color Films, 4…[/ame]

Any film where the emulsion has begun to decompose should not be cleaned in any way. You "wet or sticky" negs may be decomposing or they may just have something sticky on them. You should test a small corner of one of the less valuable images to see.

Also, any loose grit should be removed from the film with a blower before attempting to use a cleaner to avoid the grit being pushed around and scratching the emulsion.

With any situation where cleaning is questionable, it is highly recommended that you make your best possible scans from the untouched film first. Then attempt cleaning. If the cleaning is successful you can rescan. If it destroys the image you at least have the first scan to work with.
For dust I recommend this combo:

Static Brush (any fine brush will do)


Air (data vac duster is more powerful, and far cheaper in the long run then canned air):

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