Two Easy Ways To Clean 8mm Film Quickly


Do you think film collection don't need any care? Well not really, your old film reels may not be in the same condition as it once was. Because as years go by, they become dry, brittle, or even get curled. Sometimes they also develop a bad smell. 

This is because when the old film is left undisturbed for extended periods, it develops sure deterioration signs. Depending on the degree of the deterioration, you have to use the necessary material to clean the 8 mm film.  

Many questions strike in our mind before cleaning 8 mm film, like in our case, how to clean 8mm film, what is super 8 cleaner, and many more.

We take these questions seriously because only if your tape is clean you can use it with an 8mm film to digital conversion equipment.

This article is all about using household and cleaning solutions which will surely eliminate your problem of cleaning 8 mm film.

Remember that you don't need to clean your film very frequently; once per few years should be enough to maintain it in excellent condition. In the long run, excessive cleaning may do more damage than good.

cleaning 8mm film

How to clean 8mm film

1. By using FILM cleaning solutions

Before getting into this topic, let me ask if you have heard the term "Vinegar syndrome." If not, kindly get to know about it.

Vinegar syndrome is nothing but a chemical reaction due to the deterioration of "cellulose triacetate" in your films. This defect will cause excessive color fading because the acid will react with the dyes present in your color films.

So if your 8mm film is suffering from this issue, you can use chemical solutions like FilmGuard. You have to take a cloth, rub it with this solution, and run it on your reels as we did with a silicon cloth method mentioned in the previous step.


FilmGuard Film Cleaner and Lubricant - 16oz
  • FilmGuard cleans, lubricates, protects and restores all gauges of motion picture...
  • Safe for use on all types of motion picture film stocks, including those with...
  • FilmGuard 16oz kit includes application sprayer, coupling cores and instructions...

If you feel only a gentle cleaning is needed for maintaining your reels, you can use isopropyl alcohol. This deionized water will also aid in the removal of dust and hair from your old 8mm film reels. Though it is non-toxic, I always recommend you use gloves while using the liquid. You can also go for super 8 film cleaners like the ones mentioned below. They are safe. I've personally tried them, and they worked for me.

Isopropyl Alcohol 99% (IPA) - USP-NF Medical Grade Concentrated Rubbing...
  • ✔️ 2-Propanol CAS # 67-63-0
  • ✔️ For External Use Only

Also, it is super-easy to use as it is a non-sticky formula and also dries up quickly. So a great option for those who wish to make their super 8 film cleaning easy. 

People sometimes use water as a 8mm film cleaner. Well, that's not a good idea. Using water to clean the film damages the emulsion, both the visual and the soundtrack.

2. By using households

It is always exciting to clean the 8 mm films, but sometimes we don't know what to use to clean them. The fun fact is that we needn't purchase any cleaning material from outside to go about this  process.

Because our household items themselves are sufficient for cleaning 8 mm film. What I'm trying to convey is that  cleaning film reels isn't a big deal.

Do you have a silicon cleaning cloth at your home? Great. Then that is what we are going to use as a DIY hack for cleaning our older films.


But how do we do it, is there any procedure you should follow. Yes, let me tell you in straightforward steps. Before you start cleaning 8mm film, you first need to make a simple setup of a film editing station.

If you already have a film editing station like in the figure given below, then perfect. 

So what we do is we place the 8mm film rewinders separated by a distance. Now what you have to do is place your old reel on one rewinder. Also, take another empty takeup reel and put it on the other side of the film rewinder.

As I said, silicon cloth is going to be used here. So what you do is fold your fabric and gently press it against the sides of both the takeup reel and the film you wish to clean.

When that is done, you have to run the film through this silicon cloth using the rewind handle. Gently apply some pressure slight pressure on top of the silicon pad so that all the parts of the film get in contact with it.

Do this a few times by running the film through the cloth front and back. After running it for about 3-4 turns, you will notice that your film is now dirt-free.


Cleaning the films is a fun and easy thing. Everyone enjoys cleaning the film but with the right thing. If you are using something very new to clean the 8mm film, be very sure of the item. Well, I hope this article will help you in finding the solution to every problem.


Hey, this is Stefan. I love filmmaking gadgets because I have been working as a cinematographer for more than ten years. So I have good experience working with almost all filmmaking gadgets. I can help people who are looking forward to buying these gadgets with my review articles. From my articles, you can find amazing products in the market.

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