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Thread: Chemical storage question

  1. #1

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    Question Chemical storage question

    Will developing chemicals deteriorate if stored in dark but not "light-proof" containers? In particular I'm looking at Kahlua bottles, both glass and plastic and Meyers Rum bottles.
    Probably answered somewhere I haven't found yet but I'm new at this and don't want to start by screwing up.
    Thank you
    _Karl

  2. #2

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    Re: Chemical storage question

    Light isn't the problem, oxidation is. Developers are the chemicals most affected- if you're only working occasionally, store those in glass.
    Stop bath, fixers, etc., no need to worry. Captain Obvious will tell you to clean the bottles well first, and clearly label them with the contents and date mixed.

  3. #3
    Old School Wayne
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    Re: Chemical storage question

    dark is dark is dark

  4. #4

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    Re: Chemical storage question

    It depends on what the chemical is. The manufacturers typically have their own data on this, which tends to be conservative. In general, as Mark suggests, the lack of air in the container makes a big difference. I bought a bunch of dark brown glass bottles (cheap) from specialty bottle in Seattle. My experience has been as follows:

    1. Dektol. Will keep at least 6 months. When it goes, it goes and the color turns intense coffee-like brown, with some precipitate that looks like coffee grounds in the bottle.
    2. Mixed Kodak rapid fixer. Good for at least 5 months, could be longer. Could be shorter depending on how many times you've used it and put it back in the bottle. When it goes it will have a rotten egg smell and precipitate. When you start seeing white dots
    in it (that can be removed with filter funnel) you are very close to the end
    3. D76 stock. Good for 6 months unless it is really warm in the darkroom. Hard to tell when it goes bad by just eye balling it.
    4. Mixed Kodak "fixer" aka "general fixer." 2 months, maybe more, but you're pushing it.
    5. Kodak F6 formula, see above.
    6. Kodak D23 formula, jury still out on this one I just started using it. Should be similar to D76, I would think.
    7. Acetic Acid stop bath, mixed. 6 months, perhaps much more.
    8. Rodinol lots of posts here about it lasting ages but that has not been my experience. Once it goes from purple to brown I've had trouble, as in a complete lack of activity. Even in full, tightly stoppered, refrigerated bottles mine does not last years and years.
    9. HC110 the old yellow syrup lasts forever, even in a bottle mostly filled with air. If it turns a little orange on the edges, it is still fine. The new formula, I have not tried.
    10. Xtol at least 3 months
    Last edited by Kevin Crisp; 25-Jan-2021 at 18:14.

  5. #5

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    Re: Chemical storage question

    Thank you Mark and Kevin. I think I'm about to mix some developer and store it in my bottles.
    Wayne, you bring up an interesting point.
    _Karl
    Last edited by _Karl; 24-Jan-2021 at 09:41.

  6. #6

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    Re: Chemical storage question

    I store all mixed stock developers in brown glass bottles either topped off or with a squirt of Protectan, once I start using it. When the stock reaches the level of the next downsize bottle, I fill to the top and work from there. Working fixer is stored in plastic Datatainers and used a few times, then tossed. Since I've never stored a working solution of fixer until it goes bad, I have no idea how long it might last. Stop bath, etc, is mixed fresh each time and tossed.

  7. #7
    Randy's Avatar
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    Re: Chemical storage question

    I had stored Dektol in 16 oz plastic translucent bottles, filled all the way to the top, and I mean all the way to the top. Bottles sat in my basement for 14 years. A couple years ago I made some contact prints from 8X10 negs and opened one of the bottles, diluted the dev. 1:1 - prints came out fine. The Dektol was not discolored at all.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/52893762/bigger4b.jpg

  8. #8

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    Re: Chemical storage question

    Oxygen is the enemy of developers. Glass bottles/jugs are great till you drop one on a concrete floor. If you are super careful then go for it. For 30+ years I have used 2 liter soda bottles with great success for paper developer. I use 1 liter soda bottles for film developer that I scratch mix. Stop, fix and hypo clear also go in 2 ltr bottles just because it is handy. In the past I did use 3 liter bottles but they are no longer made for soda. Do not use milk, orange juice or distilled water jugs for developers as the plastic lets air diffuse through.

  9. #9
    http://www.spiritsofsilver.com tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Chemical storage question

    I've been storing 5L of stock Xtol and 1 gallon of Dektol in tanks with floating lids for about 20 years now with excellent results. The Xtol will last for at least 6 months if mixed with distilled water and the cost of just $1 a liter (1:1) is hard to beat. However with the current Sino Promise screw-up I temporarily (?) switched to ID-11 and last week purchased 1-L locally at ~$7.00 to try out. It raises the 1-liter cost to $3.50 but it is much quicker to mix than the 5L of Xtol. For storage I used 2 500mL brown glass bottles that I got from B&S. One I filled to the cap and the other was put to use right away. The results were quite good and the cost, about 70 cents per negative (8x10) compared to 20 cents with Xtol, still manageable. The 5-liter ID-11 would bring the per negative cost down to 34 cents but only the 1-liter pack is available locally.

  10. #10
    Old School Wayne
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    Re: Chemical storage question

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyB View Post
    Oxygen is the enemy of developers. Glass bottles/jugs are great till you drop one on a concrete floor. If you are super careful then go for it. For 30+ years I have used 2 liter soda bottles with great success for paper developer. I use 1 liter soda bottles for film developer that I scratch mix. Stop, fix and hypo clear also go in 2 ltr bottles just because it is handy. In the past I did use 3 liter bottles but they are no longer made for soda. Do not use milk, orange juice or distilled water jugs for developers as the plastic lets air diffuse through.

    Where I live the good OJ (not from concentrate) comes in #1 PET/PETE, the same as soda bottles. I use OJ bottles and chemicals last for years once filled and unopened. They also allow you to squeeze out air if they aren't quite full, and they are wide mouth so you don't need funnels.

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