View Full Version : Very old chemicals... still useable?

1-Oct-2011, 14:21
Hello ~~ I have Dektol and Acufine among other developers, the Dektol being in sealed foil packets and Acufine in cans. The cans have some rust on the outside but otherwise are still sealed. Those things are DECADES old and the Dektol is many years old.

So how old is too old to use? I'm thinking they are over the top old and don't want to ruin work by using them. Then again, I hate to get rid of them if they're still any good.

Any ideas on how to sort this all out? I have paper many years old but I've read on this forum that they seem to hold up well through time. They've been stored fairly well.


1-Oct-2011, 14:32
The only way to find out is to open and mix em up. The sealed can should be fine if still sealed but the old Dektol is probably not. Sometimes those bags develop pinholes, or absorb air anyway esp if so old. If it mixes a straw color, it may still work but it would probably be better to chuck it. This stuff isn't so expensive to risk your negs/prints.

1-Oct-2011, 14:49
I have a small can of Acufine I bought in the early seventies, and it is still sealed. I'm afraid to use it and spoil my film.
The only to know would be to mix it and see if it works. A very unscientific test would be to put a bit of mixed dev on a scrap piece of film and it should turn black within 30 secs or so. No guarantee, but it tells you if it has any activity.
Otherwise, keep it as a museum piece and buy fresh!

John Kasaian
1-Oct-2011, 14:58
Chemicals are pretty cheap---why risk it?

1-Oct-2011, 15:13
Cans tend to be pretty eternal - as long as they still are solid, their contents will be good. I have been living off one stash of D76 I bought by the pallet for almost thirty years, without a single issue. Plastic bags are another matter - these may become permeable to oxygen or water vapour without looking any worse for it...

Mark Sampson
1-Oct-2011, 18:37
Rule of thumb: If they mix up to dark brown, throw them away.

1-Oct-2011, 19:31
Rule of thumb: If they mix up to dark brown, throw them away.

Exactly; and if you must try it, shoot two sheets (or a roll) of anything, just for a larf.
You'll know then if your chemicals are ok or not.

1-Oct-2011, 21:29
Thank you... good advice, from each of you!

Rick A
2-Oct-2011, 03:22
I have several packages of two part dektol from the '60's that I have had good luck with. So long as the small part B packet is intact you are good to go, even if it is a weak tea color, and lasts as long in the tray as fresh Dektol.

6-Oct-2011, 05:44
As far a Dektol goes, I've found that all of the developer I've brought that is in paper packets is spoiled. The developer in plastic coated packets is usually good.