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Mouldy (?) slides

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by citroentim, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. citroentim

    citroentim New Member

    I have about 800-900 slides, mainly Kodachrome from the early 1990s. Attached is a photo of a photo and not the best quality - I haven't yet got a slide scanner so have just taken a digital photo of the projected image. It's Beinn Mheadhoin in the Cairngorms, one of my first Munros (hills over 3000' in Scotland) taken in July 1992, I think with a small compact camera that I was given by a friend's parents - possibly a Ricoh.

    The slides are all to varying extents dirty - I suspect what I am seeing is mainly mould of some sort (I live on the northwest coast of Scotland, it's damp). The first image is the 'mould' as it was, the second after a wipe with PEC12.

    Can anyone here confirm whether or not this suspicion, re: mould, is correct?



    Next question - obviously the slides are degrading, so I am going to scan them, but I need to clean them first. Cleaning them in the mounts works to some extent but it's difficult to impossible getting dirt out of the edges. I've worked out that Kodachrome mounts of the era easily pop apart, but is it feasible to reuse them? It looks like Kodak's processors used a small amount of adhesive to fix the film and perhaps also to stick the plastic mount together (it won't clip back together). Or would this just end up with a mounted image that was not flat enough to scan? Would I be better off with such as Gepe 7012?

  2. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Are there any less valuable slides you could experiment on?
    Perhaps some lukewarm water and a very small amount of detergent like Fairy Liquid, or the spray cleaner made for glasses which is usually just de-ionised water and small amounts of industrial detergent. Also, try the 'non-emulsion' side first in case the mould is only on that side.

    Lukewarm water and trace of detergent should not damage the emulsion: this is what 'wetting agent' was when I did my own film development at home many years ago.
    Catriona likes this.
  3. citroentim

    citroentim New Member

    It does appear to be the matt surface (is this the emulsion or non-emulsion side?) though I've only done a few slides so far.

    I'm wondering to what extent cleaning is a permanent fix, or will the mould (if that's what it is) be ever present now it's taken hold.

    My plan is to clean, remount (hence the question about reusing the Kodak mounts) and either send them off for scanning or get a scanner myself. I'm leaning towards the latter as that way if it turns out that I haven't cleaned them enough I'll soon know and can remedy the issue without paying someone to send me a scan of a mucky slide.
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I know very little about slides but what was said above sounds sensible. I wouldn't reuse mounts if they have had mould on them - you just multiply the cleaning problem. You probably have to move the "cleaned" material to a humidity controlled environment (dry). I don't know if UV lighting helps eliminate/control mould growing back on the cleaned slides, it can on glass (lenses). I suspect getting rid of it entirely is impossible - clean up and slow it down is the best bet. Possibly if you have a local museum the conservator may have some advice.
  5. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    I don't know about slides as I've only developed black and white negatives and C41 myself .
    B&W are fine as the silver prevents fungal grows , but the last thing to do with C41 after washing is to give them a dip in a stabiliser solution to prevent mould attacking the film and dye's .
    After cleaning your slides up would it be an idea to use the same stuff to kill of any residual spores and prevent it happening again ?
  6. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    Oh , and get new slide holders instead of trying to reuse cardboard ones .
    Reusable plastic ones while dismantled could be soaked in disinfectant to sterilise them .
    Milton or something from the homebrew shop .
  7. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    In scanning some software will effectively remove many marks, I use Vuescan in Nikon and Epson scanners, much actually disappears in scanning. It may be worth trying some scans first, perchance you do some unintended damage when attempting a clean. Fungus tends to attack the film, so it may be that cleaning will only arrest the process, rather than remove the marks.
  8. citroentim

    citroentim New Member

    Most of my slides are Kodachrome (plus some Fujichrome), which means I can't use the usual hardware ICE so I'm thinking of getting a Plustek 8100 (which doesn't have it and hence is cheaper than the 8200). It does come with Silverfast SE+ which has software dust removal.

    I'll scan a few slides both before and after cleaning to compare them but PEC12 seems to have a good reputation so I'm not overly worried about damage.

    I'm also a bit suspect that cleaning will only be a temporary solution.
  9. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Plustek scanners receive rather lukewarm reviews, Pacific and others are internally virtually identical. You may be better sourcing a used Nikon 35mm scanner, these perform well and the cleaning function in Vuescan works with them. If you are using Windows the models which use USB connection will probably suit better than those with Firewire (Nikon scanners Firewire and Windows are a bit variable in compatibility).

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