Negatives Contaminated with Lava : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Hi Folks. My wife decided to test her carpentry skills by building a shelf. She then put my 3 ring binder of Vue-All encased negatives on the shelf with a "Lava Lamp" she didn't particularly like. Well, the whole thing came crashing down. The lava lamp broke and sloshed all over my book of negatives. now I have the negatives contaminated with the waxy remains of the lava lamp. I've decided to take out each negative, wash it, dry it and put into a clean negative saver page. I'm pretty sure the lava juice is inert, but greasy. What do you folks reccomend to wash the negatives? Dish soap? I'm sure millions of people are in the same situation, but just too embarrassed to ask.

-- Daniel Goodale-Porter (, February 15, 2000


this is definitely the funniest query on here in a long time.

if i understand correctly, the liquid in a lavalamp is kerosene and, therefore, very oily. you'll probably want to wash your negatives in some sort of dish soap or something else that cuts through oily substances very well. if the dish soap won't work, try gojo or something like that. (i can't, of course, guarantee that gojo won't damage the emulsion. my father uses it to wash his work trucks, and it doesn't seem to affect the paint.)

good luck.

-- brad daly (, February 15, 2000.

"Lighter fluid" (i.e., naptha or benzene) is harmless to negatives and will dissolve oily gunk quite well.

Try it on a throwaway, just to make sure.

I wouldn't wash the negs in soap, or anything containing water.

-- Peter Hughes (, February 15, 2000.

i'm not so sure anything containing water would necessarily be bad for the negatives. i once helped a friend re-wash some really dirty negatives, with no apparent ill effects.

nonetheless, the naptha/benzene idea is a good one. be sure to wear gloves. benzene is a carcinogen.

-- brad daly (, February 16, 2000.

You don't say if the negs are B&W or colour. Any organic solvent could be disastrous on colour negs.

Methylated spirit might be more economical, and a bit safer than lighter fuel. Old-timer press guys used to use it as a final bath when they were in a hurry, it adsorbs the water and evaporates quickly, giving dry negs in minutes. A few drops per litre of washing up detergent is totally harmless to negatives.

-- Pete Andrews (, February 16, 2000.

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