Bellows cleaning redux : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

The bellows on my Graphic View II seem to be vinyl because they are very supple and flexible. I would like to give them a cleaning. Previously on this forum many people weighed in on the best way to clean bellows in suggestions ranging from Lexol (for leather bellows) to Armorall (for vinyl) to Lemon Pledge. Then others said things like Armorall and Lemon Pledge and Mink Oil were actually bad because they attacked the glue and weakened the bellows. So without turning to the Supreme Court I thought I would ask here, what should I do ?

-- Wayne Campbell (, December 11, 2000


Wayne: Hope your ol' Graphic View II is as much fun as mine. They are great cameras. I would not use anything that will soak the bellows. I would suggest the following: Extend the bellows all the way and vaccuum both the outside and inside. Then brush the outside with a soft brush to loosen any stuck particles of dirt. Vaccuum the outside again. Get one of those family packs of cotton swabs and use them dampened with clean water with a little dish soap or Formula 409 mixed in to clean the bellows. Keep everything as dry as possible. Let the cleaning mixture stay on the bellows a minute or so, and then remove it with more swabs dampened in clean water. You might use a damp cloth and place your hand inside the bellows and rub gently. The main thing is not to get rough with the bellows and don't soak it. Don't use a strong cleaner-water mixture that could dry out the vinyl. You may find that water alone will remove most of the dirt and grime. Make sure it is dry before collapsing the bellows.

Hope this helps,

-- Doug Paramore (, December 12, 2000.

I go with the idea of dusting off with a small lens brush and then a careful wipe with a slightly damp cloth if realy required.

-- paul owen (, December 13, 2000.

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