Drying Marks BEGONE!

One thing which has been the bane of my existence since the first roll of film I developed at home is the dreaded drying marks. Those irritating little streaks on the base side of the film.

Hanging to dry

I don’t, oddly enough, have trouble with drying marks on my prints.

I’d tried everything. Lots of photoflo. Tiny amounts of it, just a drop. Squeegee/no squeegee. Sometimes I would be streak free and home clear, but more often than not, there they would be.

They do wipe off easily in my case. But I’d still prefer not to have to deal with them.

I don’t recall where I read this. Maybe FADU or APUG. But someone suggested distilled water for the final rinse, with just a drop of photo flo. I usually have that around anyway as I use it for mixing my stock solutions and diluted developer working solutions.

Whaddya know but it worked! Half a dozen rolls finished up this way, sitting in distilled plus a drop of the wash aid for a few minutes, and not a single drying mark among the lot of them! No squeegee either, which reduces the chances of damage. Win win, as they say.

So if you’re fighting this problem and are at a loss for how to fix it, this might just be the answer!

Next trick will be to see if I can get away with just plain distilled water and no photo flo at all. I’ll be sure to post how it goes.

3 thoughts on “Drying Marks BEGONE!

  1. Hans ter Horst

    Indeed, distilled or de-ionized water (whichever you can find the cheapest) for the last wash(es) will do the trick. I still use Photo-flo as I think it reduces the drying time and therefore the risk of dust setting on the negatives during that time.

    1. Paul Glover Post author

      Update: did one roll with just the distilled water. No photo flow at all. And the verdict is….CLEAN! No marks. Of course, photo flow is hardly expensive per roll; I’m maybe halfway though a bottle I bought 4 years and 120 rolls ago for something like $5.

      Distilled is readily available here, less than $1 per gallon in 1 gallon jugs from any grocery store I choose to walk into.

      1. Karl

        I found the same thing while living in Germany where the water was VERY hard. I could wash in the hard tap water and just use distilled (very expensive there) water in very low volume (1/4 of the normal tank volume) or less with just a drop of photo flo for the last step in the wash. No drying marks!


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