View Full Version : Oxidized Dektol Powder?

Peter Lewin
19-Dec-2012, 09:35
Should Dektol powder and stock solution be darkish brown? I ran out of my usual developers a couple of days ago (primarily Ilford & Photographer's Formulary, both of which I get by mail), so I ran over to my local photo shop and picked up a couple of 1/2 gallon envelopes of Dektol (the only print developer on the shelf); I haven't printed with Dektol in at least 15 years, so I don't remember what color it should be. The shop has a minimum of chemicals, their dark room department is really just a left-over from earlier times. So ... mixed up the first batch of stock 10 minutes ago, really brown, I don't trust it, but thought I would ask before I waste paper and time. Must admit, I didn't think packaged dry chemicals had a shelf life, perhaps they do!

Mark Sampson
19-Dec-2012, 09:54
If it's really dark brown, it's gone. Fresh Dektol stock solution should be a light golden-yellow. The foil packets Kodak put developer in will leak air after a few years... look for a gray stain at the top of the packet (where the hole for the hook to hang the package on the shelf is). That will suggest oxidation due to being years past the sell-by date.

19-Dec-2012, 10:44
It has gone bad. It should be nearly clear with a very faint golden brown tint. Amazingly, it may still work ok though. You might try it and see....

And, yes. the foil packages that Kodak used for dry chems leak air. The air oxidizes the chemistry and it goes bad - especially Dektol and Selectol.

Robert Langham
19-Dec-2012, 10:59
I have a bunch of dead Zone VI developer packets. Some Selectol in cans that I hope is still good! Using Ilford Warmtone at present but I have a five gallon Dektol pack that I am tempted to mix up.....Just need to do a citywide paper print by several photographers to use it all!

85728 Half a cup of dice, 1999.

Peter Lewin
19-Dec-2012, 11:08
Thanks all, I'll head back to the shop and see if I can get a refund. If I lived in Texas (one of my daughters is in Austin) I would take part in the "5 gallons of Dektol print off!" Then back to email purchases for fresh chemicals.

Robert, thanks to your comment in the Zone VI thread, I just found a compensating enlarging timer on eBay, it should arrive early next week, hopefully it will eliminate my need to recalculate times when I make changes to the VC head. So thanks for your comments in two threads! I just exchanged notes with Alan, between us I think we own at least one of just about everything Fred Picker ever sold!

Mark Sampson
19-Dec-2012, 22:04
Robert, Kodak gave up putting developers in cans c.1973. I wouldn't be surprised if your Selectol is still good... but I'd keep the unopened can as an artifact and mix up fresh solution from the recipe when it's time to print.