Well, that was dumb.
July 28, 2007 1:06 AM   Subscribe

I put a roll of film in the washing machine (by accident). Is it destroyed?

To clarify: it is a new (unused) roll, so I haven't lost any precious memories, but I'd still like to know if I can conceivably put it in a camera and get some use out of it. Just in case it matters, it's 35mm film, Kodak MAX 400. Luckily I found it in my pants before putting it through the dryer, so it was at least spared the heat.

Anyway, can I still use it?
posted by lou to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Don't chance it on anything monumental, but go ahead and try it out (once it dries) on something inconsequential and see if it turns out okay.
posted by amyms at 1:17 AM on July 28, 2007

If the roll was in its unopened plastic case the whole time, it might have made it through without much contamination from the wash cycle. You could probably judge that from a careful inspection of the plastic case. If wash water did get to the film canister, I wouldn't put it through any camera I cared much about, simply because the moisture that it will probably transfer won't be good for the camera's mechanisms. As to the chemistry issue, for film exposed to wash water, the answer to that depends to some extent on the detergents and wash additives you might have used. If you used some kinds of bleaches, or soda agents (often included in detergent powders as surfactants), the film emulsion could be rendered pretty useless for normal photography.
posted by paulsc at 1:42 AM on July 28, 2007

You're screwed, toss it. I've done this before.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:44 AM on July 28, 2007

Don't risk it, unless you're the experimental type and want to see the possible visual effects it may give the processed film.

I say spend the $3 and get a new roll.
posted by Xere at 2:23 AM on July 28, 2007

If water got into it then the film inside is liable to stick together and never really dry out. It probably wouldn't be good for your camera to try it.
posted by DarkForest at 4:04 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

The film cans are light-proof, not water-tight. Chances are good the film is hosed. Just replace it.

And bless you for still shooting film.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:07 AM on July 28, 2007

Agreed with the above posters. If you'd already exposed the film, it wouldn't be a problem except to the degree that it might contaminate the photo lab's chemistry... but if it hadn't been exposed yet, just replace it.
posted by SpecialK at 5:51 AM on July 28, 2007

I've seen some processed prints from a guy who did exactly the same thing - it made some interesting patterns on the film, which he processed without exposing it any further. The immediate downside is that it does screw up the chemistry for any further rolls, so I'm sure your photolab wouldn't be too thrilled with that. Just toss it. Film is cheap.
posted by god hates math at 7:18 AM on July 28, 2007

Toss it. If you want to be experimental, run a roll through the wash AFTER you expose it.

If the film got wet at all, it will stick together like glue. Even if you get it loaded, it can jam in the camera, and possibly strip the sprockets. (The sprocket-holes on the film usually give way first, but it's not unheard to screw up your camera.)
posted by The Deej at 7:46 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

nthing the "don't risk it" sentiment.
posted by desjardins at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2007

from my experience as a photo lab guy, wet rolls just stick together. this usually means that the emulsion side tends to peel off and stick to other frames as the roll unspools in the developing machine, creating one hell of a colorful psychedelic mess.

I'm not sure why this was asked in the first place. A roll of Kodak 400 is what, maybe $3? ditch it and get a 4-pack of Fuji Superia 800, which is a much better consumer-level film anyways.
posted by neckro23 at 12:15 PM on July 28, 2007

Thanks everyone. The overwhelming vote is to chuck the film, so I'm tossing it out. I asked the question because I hate having things go to waste, and I wanted to confirm whether or not the film was really hosed.
posted by lou at 1:30 AM on July 29, 2007

« Older How do you play poker online without getting an...   |   How to get into Senate hearings? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.