Newbie Question


I am wondering if there is a recommend pair of gloves to handle negatives (lint-free?). Also, is there a best method to clean negatives and slides that are quite dirty?

Thank you for any input.

Smorton 1

No, it all depends on what kind of dirt sticks to your negatives.

There are a few posts in this regard and my own way to go is to use a blower to get rid of “dirt” that can still be moved. I don’t clean more thoroughly in order to not damage the negative. Use the clone/heal tool to get rid of whatever bugs you in your scans.

If all your images have the same dust specs etc., check your sensor or backlight. Keep the backlight away from the negative in order to throw backlight dust wayyy out of focus.

Thanks for the advice.

Anything on the gloves?

Smorton 1

I just use a pair of soft, white, lint free cotton gloves from my local hobby store. The kind marketed to coin collectors.

I use nitrile rubber finger cots. They protect the film, grip better than fabric gloves, and keep my hands cooler. For film cleaning, it depends on the kind and extent of the debris. For dust I use a brush, hand blower, or anti-static vacuum film cleaner. For heavier stuff and mold I’ll get out the Edwal film cleaner and Pec pads.

I used to hate gloves until I bought ones from Kinetronics. Still, I prefer to use my hands and tweezers (so maybe finger cots as Adam suggested will be better), but now I don’t avoid using gloves if I need to.

Thanks for the help!!


It’s important to remove all dust and grit first, using a blower and then a soft brush if the blower didn’t get all of it. You can hold the original with a strong light slanting across it so any bits will stand out in relief. In olden days we’d do this by holding the film carrier at an angle under the enlarger light.

If the film still has oily stains, smudges or fingerprints after removing the dust, you can have a go with liquid film cleaner. Be sure to use actual skookum made-for-film film cleaner, especially with color originals; other cleaning solutions might fade the color dyes. In the lab I would apply this using a cotton (not synthetic!) cosmetic ball – I’d just wipe each side gently with the cleaning solution, then wipe again to dry it off. You should use a fresh cotton ball for each cleaning. The cotton will leave some lint on the film, so you’ll have to dust it off with the blower one last time before you’re ready to digitize.

If you’ve got a dust speck that won’t blow or brush off, it may be stuck down by static electricity. Old-timer trick: breathe gently on the film to fog it with your breath. The increased humidity dissipates the static, and you can usually blow off the dust with your blower.

I’ve been in the photo lab industry for over 25 years.

These are the best gloves for handling negatives and removing dust.

When I am ready to scan a roll of film I will pull the film between my index and middle fingers with the glove on of course. This helps to remove any surface dust before scanning and also helps to minimize static on the film.