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Thread: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

  1. #1

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    Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    I've used Xtol for the past several yeas and am quite happy with it. I recently realized the instructions read specifically to mix it using distilled water. I have a water filtration system for my darkroom, but I realize it is not the same thing as distilled.

    Keep in mind, that I live in Portland, Oregon where our water source is mostly from treated rain water and does not have fluoride added. It is considered very soft, as in few minerals.

    I have never noticed any ill affects form using my filtered water. So I'm wondering, is it worth the extra effort / expense to switch to distilled for mixing my Xtol?

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    I would say no. If you've been using it for years successfully, then you should be fine. It's always possible that your water will change, but it's also possible to get contaminated distilled water. Basically, there are no absolute guarantees.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  3. #3

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    The current product should work the same as before. I use reverse osmosis water. This eliminates most of the dissolved minerals. High dissolved solids and iron can be a problem with XTOL.
    Fluoridated water is of tremendous benefit in preventing tooth decay, and it's harmless to film.

  4. #4
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Quote Originally Posted by robbiemcclaran View Post
    I've used Xtol for the past several yeas and am quite happy with it. I recently realized the instructions read specifically to mix it using distilled water. I have a water filtration system for my darkroom, but I realize it is not the same thing as distilled.
    Indeed, it is not. XTOL is sensitive to dissolved iron. Conventional filtration won't take out the iron. Enough iron and you get "sudden XTOL failure" IIRC (search for it on this site -- it was discussed to death back near 2005 or so, many threads, much information to be found in them). That is, you run a batch and it's fine, you run another batch and you get little to no development. No warning, just happens. Kodak traced it back to iron, which is why the instructions now say to use distilled water only.

    Easy enough to do, most grocery stores (at least where I live) still sell steam distilled water by the gallon. And the steam distilled water has the side effect of being extremely clean as well; one less source of grunge on the processed film.

    Bruce Watson

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Straight out of the tap for me in San Francisco. No problems at all.

  6. #6
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    I mix Rodinol and TF5 with distilled, very clean film, wash is Hass filtered tap

    I buy distilled water 9 gallons at a time (at least)

    80 cents a gallon

    Where i live, we are often under 'boil water until notice'. We also have complete shutdowns a little too often. Last year I had to replace my street to home water line as it was leaking 1000s of gallons a month

    I now keep at least 20 gallons distilled on hand and fill 5 gallons tap water buckets in bathtub when i get a whiff of a water problem

    Maybe set up roof water collection as it rains a LOT here

    I also love to drink chilled distilled, some say it's good for old livers and kidneys, been drinking only distilled for 9 years

    https://www.mrwatergeek.com/distilled-water/
    sin eater

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Thank you. I knew I had read it was a particular mineral that seemed to be the root of the issue. I'm no chemist, hence my query. That said, looking over a recent report on our local water quality, Iron is listed at something like 0.018 PPM, which sounds to me very low indeed. That compares to 10ppm in so called "hard water". So again, our local water is very soft.

    Indeed, simply going the next step and using distilled would be easy enough and would insure no future problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    Indeed, it is not. XTOL is sensitive to dissolved iron. Conventional filtration won't take out the iron. Enough iron and you get "sudden XTOL failure" IIRC (search for it on this site -- it was discussed to death back near 2005 or so, many threads, much information to be found in them). That is, you run a batch and it's fine, you run another batch and you get little to no development. No warning, just happens. Kodak traced it back to iron, which is why the instructions now say to use distilled water only.

    Easy enough to do, most grocery stores (at least where I live) still sell steam distilled water by the gallon. And the steam distilled water has the side effect of being extremely clean as well; one less source of grunge on the processed film.

  8. #8

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Our primary water source is rain water and snow melt that is stored in the Bull Run reservoir, surrounded by old growth forest, 20 or 30 miles east of here, and piped into town. Somewhere along the line they do some treating. I'd be concerned I'd pick up more nasty chemicals from runoff of my asphalt shingles in a rain water capture system. But certainly worth considering, if for no other reason than for disaster prep.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    I mix Rodinol and TF5 with distilled, very clean film, wash is Hass filtered tap

    I buy distilled water 9 gallons at a time (at least)

    80 cents a gallon

    Where i live, we are often under 'boil water until notice'. We also have complete shutdowns a little too often. Last year I had to replace my street to home water line as it was leaking 1000s of gallons a month

    I now keep at least 20 gallons distilled on hand and fill 5 gallons tap water buckets in bathtub when i get a whiff of a water problem

    Maybe set up roof water collection as it rains a LOT here

    I also love to drink chilled distilled, some say it's good for old livers and kidneys, been drinking only distilled for 9 years

    https://www.mrwatergeek.com/distilled-water/

  9. #9

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    I have been tempted to pick up one of those table top water distillers. Though I don't used distilled for mixing film processing chemistry, I use a fair bit of it during printmaking for clearing prints and washing brushes.

  10. #10

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Quote Originally Posted by robbiemcclaran View Post
    I've used Xtol for the past several yeas and am quite happy with it. I recently realized the instructions read specifically to mix it using distilled water. I have a water filtration system for my darkroom, but I realize it is not the same thing as distilled.

    Keep in mind, that I live in Portland, Oregon where our water source is mostly from treated rain water and does not have fluoride added. It is considered very soft, as in few minerals.

    I have never noticed any ill affects form using my filtered water. So I'm wondering, is it worth the extra effort / expense to switch to distilled for mixing my Xtol?

    Apparently not. I mean, haven't you already answered your own question? "I have never noticed any ill affects form using my filtered water"

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