I am in search of alternative film cleaning solutions which are safe for the film, me, and the environment.

I have used several different professional film cleaning solutions in my many years of cleaning film. The one thing they have in common is that they all require a well- ventilated work space. But I've always wondered what are their ingredients? Understandably, little to no information is available about what the actual cleaning solutions compounds are -- trade secrets, I suppose.

I would like to distinguish between two types of film cleaning methods/process I use for which I would like some suggestions on what to use or stay away from:

  1. A re-lubricating, or conditioning, solution -- preferably a penetrating solution that helps make brittle film regain its pliable nature and yet does not dissolve the original tape adhesives from the tape that was used to hold film splices together. For this cleaning process, I gradually apply the solution to the film by running the film through a soft cotton cloth which is moistened with the solution to the point to where the whole film is eventually wet. Shortly after, I reverse the process; using solution free cotton cloths to remove the solution from the wet film. I repeat this removal process until the film is dry again. Would Paraffin Lamp Oil or Mineral Oil work at all and be safe for the film -- in the short run and long haul? If not, what might be the reasons?

  2. A non-lubricating solution that can be used to clean film. Preferably something that will suppress static from building up and something that evaporates quickly. Hexane, petroleum ether, or cyclopentyl methyl ether comes to mind.

Doing some research, I found this interesting report https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/ei/pubs/motion_picture_film.pdf revealing some solvents used for film cleaning being Perchloroethylene, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, other Volatile Organic Compounds, and Hydrofluoroether blend (HFE 7200).

I am aware that a solution which "helps" encourage mold growth would not be effective -- i.e. water-based. I found that quite a bit of films has first signs of mold, so Isopropyl alcohol will not work. Moreover, the solution would need to be magnetic-sound-track safe.



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