What is the “clarification” step when processing Polaroid film?

Type 55 P/N Polaroid film (positive / negative) emerges as a positive print and a negative film sandwiched together. These images are comprised of metallic silver imbedded in gelatin. The materials being drenched with the reagents are soft thus fragile. The reagent is strongly alkaline and will cause reddening of the skin (contact dermatitis). The negative must be separated from the print hastily else the reagent and a thin brown paper mask material will adhere and if the reagent dries, all will be difficult to remove.

The positive print requires coating using the special coating material suppled in the film box. The negative emerges completely fixed and thus not light-sensitive. The film, covered by the reagent must be, within 5 minutes, be treated with an 18% solution of sodium sulfite 180g dissolved in 1000ml of water.

This solution hardens the film and prepares anti-halation dyes in the film for removal. The film, immersed in this fluid and agitated until developer reagent falls off. Gentle rubbing with a cotton swab will assist.

The film is then washed, preferably in running water, for a minimum of 30 seconds however for maximum archrival, wash for 5 minutes.

Following the wash, soak in a wetting agent such as Kodak Photo-Flo for 30 seconds and then hang allowing the film to air dry. You may achieve better uniform drying by squeegee.