Photo Flo : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Hi, I have been having trouble with water spots drying on my negatives. Where I live we have very hard water and I always give my negatives a soak with agitation in photo flo before drying. My procedure is wash for 30 minutes, photo flo bath with agitation for 2 minutes, a quick rinse, then hang to dry. I don't sponge off my negatives as I am afraid I will scratch the emulsion while it is wet. Is there something better than photo flo or maybe something I could add to it to decrease water spots? Thanks!!

-- Justin Fullmer (, June 13, 2001


First off, only use a TINY bit of Photoflo! What works for me is that I dip the film (be it 4x5 or roll film) and pull it right out of the photoflo. Shake it off and hang with LOW or no heat. About something better than PF... yes absolutely! It is called LFN (low foaming agent) made by Edwal. Two drops in a quart and no film. Very clean working and multi purpose. It comes in a small dropper container and is great to have. If you have the photoflo and want to use it up though, lower your heat and don't soak it for but a second.

-- Scott Walton (, June 13, 2001.

I prefer LFN also. But use distilled water for mixing this final bath no matter what wetting agent you use.

You don't need much agitation in this bath, just enough to get even coverage. And, don't rinse after this bath. Rinsing after this bath and using tap water might be the source of your problems.

-- Charlie Strack (, June 13, 2001.

Yes, I've done the same as Charlie (above) for especially important films...a final bath of distilled water (with the tinyest amout of Ilfords wetting agent) has rendered absolutely brilliantly clean negs. If I don't do this I normally get some residues somewhere. Well worth the extra cost IMO.


-- Brian W. Thomas (, June 14, 2001.


I also got tired about all those water spots on my negatives so finally I took the step to use a very fine sponge. I haven't seen any harm to my negatives. No scratches. But I also decided to try to rinse in "cold" water whitch I do by gradually (in a couple of minutes) lower the temperature from 20 C (70 F) down to about 14 degrees C. This may help to make the emulsion a little bit harder. I also use a hardener fixer. From now on I have so far now problems with my negatives. And I think that I can be pretty violent when using the sponge. My recommendation is that you make a test. Take one roll of film and use the sponge in different ways on different parts of the roll and try to find out how violent you can be. /Lars

-- Lars Kristensen (, June 15, 2001.

A final rinse in distilled water is indeed the answer to clean negatives. A gallon at the Kroger only costs 79 cents and can rinse 32 rolls of 35mm and 16 120/220 rolls if you only rinse one half of the roll at a time. Very cheap insurance! You might decide not to use a wetting agent with a good final rinse.

-- Gene Crumpler (, June 15, 2001.

I was taught that the last thing to touch the negetive was the Photo Flo and rinsing with water afterwards defeats the purpose. I use eight to ten drops per 16oz of water, submerge for 30 seconds, no agitation, skim off the foam, remove and hang to dry.

-- Allan Fontanilla (, June 17, 2001.

For a final rinse, hang the film, and use a squeeze bottle to rinse from top down with distilled water. That will wash off any other liquids or dust, and there is nothing in distilled to leave a residue after it evaporates. Works for me. -John

-- John Fleetwood (, June 18, 2001.

I also use a Photo-Flo too.

I use a syringe to measure 2ml of Photo Flo and dilute it to about 450ml, slightly higher dilution than Kodak's 1:200. Then I dip my 120 or 135 reel into it for one minute and lift the reel out and hang the film dry without wiping the film surface.

-- Lonely Boy (, June 29, 2001.

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