Cleaning Film

Here's a couple of links for getting most everything on the following list:

Here is how we clean film. You will need 8 things:

a) Soft white cotton t-shirt (no polyester blend)

b) Edwal's Anti-stat film cleaner or similar film cleaner. Edwal's can be purchased through

c) Pair of rewinds. The rewind mechanism on the projectors is not suitable, being too fast.

d) Kodak universal splicer or similar splicer that handles the film guage you are using

e) Appropriate good leader in the guage you are using

f) A small desk lamp

g) large zip loc lunch bags

h) a selection of good holding reels and a take up reel

Here are the steps:

1) Make sure your take up reel is clean and dust free.

2) If necessary, add good leader to the front end. This will make loading easier and will let you know that the projector is running correctly prior to the film entering the gate. If the leader runs smoothly and the film doesn't, there might be damaged or stretched film.

3) Wind the film from left to right onto the take up reel and add leader to the end.

4) Before rewinding, check the original source reel for damage or warping that might cause it to feed improperly during transfers. Replace it if necessary with one that is open and smooth running. Also, make sure that you clean the reel so that you don't rewind your freshly cleaned film onto a dusty reel. Older regular 8mm reels often have either film dust or mildew on them. Cleaning them with alcohol and lint free paper towels is a good idea.

4) Liberally apply film cleaner to a single fold of cloth.

5) Fold the cloth around the film, holding it firmly between your right thumb and index finger. Again, this should be a single thickness of cloth and not several layers.

6) Start in the leader and squeeze firmly as you rewind slowly with your left hand. This may seem counter-intuitive and scratching the film may seem likely but it will not be damaged due to the film cleaner keeping things moist. However, you need to maintain even, firm pressure to create a "squeegee" effect across the entire width of the film. This will prevent any lint or dust from getting by the cloth. You will notice some of the dye coming off on the cloth. This is normal and your film will not be damaged.

7) Rewind as slowly as necessary to let the cleaner evaporate. Placing the deck lamp nearby will help expedite the drying and will also allow you to see the cleaner as it dries. Don't stop until you are completely rewound.

8) Place the cleaned film in a zip loc bag and seal it until you are ready to transfer.

NOTE: One liberal application of cleaner will be good for a 50 foot roll. Do not use the same area of cloth more than once. Also, if you are putting more than one reel on a 400 foot reel, leave the leader between them for separation. This provides a handy "stopping off point" during cleaning to allow for re-application of more cleaner and to brush away any debris that collected. Make sure that you check both the top surface and the bottom surface of the film for collected lint, dust, debris etc. This should be removed gently with a piece of cloth by brushing to one edge. When you continue cleaning, overlap the previously cleaned area of leader a bit to ensure totall coverage. Keep the cloth in a large zip lock bag when not in use.