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Removing mildew from 35mm slides

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Old 06-17-2002, 11:57 PM
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ravenmd ravenmd is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Montreal
Posts: 99

I know this may very well be hopeless but I am wondering if there is any way to remove mildew from 35mm slides.

I have a wonderful collection of slides taken by my dad in the 50s and 60s. Most of them while travelling in Europe. Later on they were saved from a flood but not entirely. Dampness got into many of them and they have quite a bit of mildew on them which looks like tiny black specks.

I have started scanning them as I would like to make CD albums. The task of removing all the mildew specks on the scan in photoshop is unbelieveabley tedious as there are probably around 300-400 slides!

ANY ideas would be so appreciated.

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Old 06-18-2002, 08:13 AM
Stephen M Stephen M is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Marie, perhaps look into the previous threads in this section - finding a way to clean or reduce the damage before scanning would probably be, let me rephrase that!

Scan them all first, double the final pixel size you think you need if possible. Then clean them with whatever archival cleaning method is used for this task. Then scan them. If all works as planned you have reduced post scanning correction, cleaned the orignals and you also have backup - just in case.

There are many very informed people here who can comment on the 'wet stuff' - I am into the digital side of things (although prepress does involve chemistry, I don't see much of that now).

Perhaps look into the SmartDuster and AutoScanSpotting actions if you have Photoshop 5 or higher:

Good luck.

Stephen Marsh.
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Old 06-18-2002, 08:16 AM
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thomasgeorge thomasgeorge is offline
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I would suggest contacting a Photo Conservator and see what they can suggest...I believe some of the best around are in the Montreal area...try the Telephone book or perhaps the University.
With that many slides, you might want to consider sorting them by the amount of damage ( small amount, medium, large...that sort of thing) and prioritizing which to do first and which could wait.
Scan and save ALL of them in their original condition! That is a must...just in case something should happen to the originals...Its always mandatory to make a back up before having any work done on an original. Dont worry about the mold spots and so on...just scan and save..."warts" and all!
Even with physical cleaning there will be "touch-up" and color correction to do. You have a wonderful chance to get some very valuable in depth experience working on your project!! Dont get discouraged, just enjoy it! Good luck...Tom
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:51 PM
richardsullivan richardsullivan is offline
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Re: Removing mildew from 35mm slides

Here is a link to Stanford University describing in detail FREEZING the slide, then removing mold with a Q-Tip.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:02 PM
Lars Bell Lars Bell is offline
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Re: Removing mildew from 35mm slides

You can also let us remove the mold and mildew from your slides.....
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:31 PM
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mseydel mseydel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: New York, NY
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Re: Removing mildew from 35mm slides

Funny, I didn't know about that Stanford paper, but someone told me that freezing trick when I was living in the Bay Area, and I had a porch studio with a small box of 35 mm slides that I inadvertantly left in the damp through the winter. I put the chromes I needed in an airtight container in the freezer, and then used scanner wipes and film cleaner. For the plastic mounts, this was no big deal, but my cardboard mounts were destroyed in the process. However, in my experience, there was emulsion damage that had to repaired digitally once they were scanned. I had access to a drum scanner at work, which is how you'd probably want to have the worst of the bunch digitized before and after you remove the mold.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:03 PM
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Sally Jacobs Sally Jacobs is offline
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Location: Wisconsin, USA
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Re: Removing mildew from 35mm slides

Mold (and its cousin, mildew) are terrible, terrible, terrible.

There is a wonderful free-of-charge article online called "Invasion of the Giant Mold Spore." I highly recommend it for anyone who has found mold on their family treasures.

I also have a short summary on my Practical Archivist blog called What to do with a Moldy Photograph.

I hope this helps, and I wish you success in your struggle against the enemy.


-Sally J.
The Practical Archivist
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