Silver Halide Photos : Cleaning water-damaged negatives

For color negative film damaged due to immersion in water, mud, sand

  1. 1.In case developed negative film is stored in a translucent plastic film folder, and if there is little damage to negative film inside, you can easily create photo prints again.
  2. 2.If each negative film is completely dry, lightly remove any mud on the surface using a soft brush. If you do not have a brush or if the film is only partially dry (or wet), proceed directly to Step 3. Be sure to wear thin rubber gloves.
    * The film folders are narrow bags, and as there is no path for water to escape, the negative film inside is expected to remain wet for a long period of time. You need to first remove (or peel) the negative film from the film folder. Work can be performed more efficiently by cutting each plastic film folder containing the film with scissors and soaking them in water.
  3. 3.Pass the film or plastic film folder containing the film through room temperature (20-30°C, 68-86°F) water to remove large sections of dirt. Do not forcibly scratch the photo as the surface will be damaged.
  4. 4.Next, soak the film or film folder containing the film in clean, room temperature water.
  5. 5.Hold both sides with perforations to ensure you do not damage the film surface, and gently shake the film in the water to clean it. If the negative film is stuck to the film folder, let it soak until it peels away naturally, and be sure not to forcibly peel it away.
  6. 6.In such cases, if part of the film’s image surface or border is clear and disappeared (transparent), this indicates serious damage to the image section. If you are able to peel it from the film folder, lightly rinse it while holding the edges and be sure not to touch the film surface.
  7. 7.Once cleaning is finished, rinse in clean cool water and leave to dry in the shade or in a dark place where dust will not settle on the photo. Use the perforations on each side of the film to pass through bent paperclips, etc. to hang the film to dry, or use clothes pins or paperclips to hold the edges to hang the film to dry. Rapid drying using hair dryers, etc. is not recommended as it may cause the film to curl up.