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Nightmare! You’ve found your favourite slides for photo scanning, and they’re dirty. Not only that, but they have mould too! It is an awful feeling finding your memories have been tarnished by dust and debris floating around your attic. Thankfully, with this guide to cleaning 35mm slides, you can restore your photos before preserving them with a scanning service.

There are a couple of rules to cleaning slides, the main notion being that less contact with the photo is better. By working through this guide, you can minimise contact with the slide to prevent any further damage.

Before beginning, wear cotton gloves to prevent any natural oils or dirt on your hands leaving marks or softening the emulsion on the slide.

1. Use compressed air to remove dust and debris.

The rule of thumb when cleaning 35mm slides is to minimise contact with the photo to prevent any further damage. By using compressed air, you remove any light dirt from the slide without scratching the image.

It should be noted that blowing on your slide is a bad idea. The moisture from your mouth can damage the emulsion on the slide and cause it to be in a worst position than when you started.

2. Wipe your slide with a microfibre cloth

Sometimes, dirt needs a little more persuasion to get off your slide. Gently rub your slide with a microfibre cloth to remove more significant marks. Take care when touching your slide because dirt can scratch photos if rubbed too hard.

3. Use isopropyl alcohol and a cotton pad for mould.

This third stage is for the worst scenario. If your slide has mould on it, then you should use isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol-based cleaner must be 99.9% alcohol and have a neutral pH level because any water on your slide will soften and damage the emulsion.

Pour the cleaner onto the cotton pad and lightly wipe the slide. If the slide is damp, leave it out to dry before remounting the photo.

4. Edit out any marks using photo editing software.

Unfortunately, there is a limit to how much you can clean a slide before damaging it. If your slide has scratches, mould, or heavy marks on it, editing is a better option. After digitising your photos, download Adobe Photoshop for their spot removal tool to remove any unwanted scratches or marks on your photos.

Alternatively, you can use a slide scanning service, like Digital Converters. They will professionally clean, digitise, and correct any unwanted marks or colouring issues for you without the need of paying for Photoshop.

With the consumption of digital media constantly progressing and changing, the thought of having your film photos digitised can feel daunting and obsolete. However, with the use of a professional scanning service, your photos can be revitalised, saved, and shared to your heart’s content.

In light of my grandparents passing away, my family found albums full of photographs of weddings, family memories, and even historical records of the Second World War to distribute among themselves. A simple task if it wasn’t for the sibling rivalry. What ensued was a year of sorting, sharing and left feeling bereft.

You see, the issue with film photography is that each photo archives memories that everyone wants to remember. And, by having these memories encased in a singular physical copy erupts whole new anxiety around the upkeep and loss of said memories.

It was a simple solution to have these photos digitised. Professional photo digitising services offer an affordable solution to archiving old memories and keeping your film photographs stylish. Here are four more reasons to convert your photos, negatives, and slides to digital:

1. Revitalise your old photographs

It is difficult to prevent your photographs from losing their quality. Whether it be due to colour loss from sunlight, fingerprints, scratches from sharing your albums, or dirt and mould, there will always be signs of ageing. Luckily, by scanning photos into a computer (and with a little bit of editing), you can remove these marks.

The best part is your photos will be saved at a higher resolution – allowing you to bask in the glory of your photography at a larger scale than before. Now, home scanning is an option for this – if you know what you are doing. But if you want to achieve the best quality for your photos, you will need a professional scanning service. These services will have the equipment and knowledge to clean, scan, and edit each image, depending on the format of your photos.

2. Saved and future-proofed forever

By saving your film photos digitally, you can protect them from being lost permanently. No longer do you have to fear that your physical copies might be destroyed from a fire or lost in the abyss of your attic. By saving them on the cloud, you will always have a backup if anything happens to the original. And, thankfully by using photo scanning services, you only have to pay a small one-time fee to keep them saved – as the company will pay the cloud subscription for you! Understandably, if you fear the future of cloud memory space, you can permanently save your photos on a memory stick or external hard drive.  Memory sticks are great if you want to reprint images using a supermarket photo printing machine. Either way, your photos are saved forever.


3. Photos are to be shared!

With the current pandemic, sharing photographs in person is becoming more problematic by the day. You can remember the better times with friends and family by sending photographs through messaging services or emailing by having old memories digitised. Instantly, you can both remember what once was without the need for meeting up or postal service.

More to the point, you can keep in trend with the digital era and share your photographs with others through social media. With the current fad of nostalgia posts and #ThrowbackThursday, you can now show off your authentic film photography skills with all your friends and family without the need of a filter or ‘Huji’ app.


4. Photo digitising is easy when using a photo scanning service

Even if you have equipment readily available, home scanning is time-consuming and stressful. Scanning negatives and slides need additional expensive equipment to guarantee quality. Whereas loose photos may look easy with scanning machines, but bad editing loses the quality of photos. Images appear to look over-edited and lose the original authenticity you were trying to capture.

With the use of professional services like Digital Converters, you can guarantee that your photos will be saved at the highest quality whilst keeping their authentic look. For a small cost, choosing to use a slide scanning service saves you time and money in the long run. Included in the price are high-resolution memory sticks and cloud links. Our advanced equipment scans and digitises hundred of photographs in no time. And, our photo editors will improve your photos without the hassle of doing it yourself.

All you have to do is send them in!