I caution that thinking that newby's all need to be classically trained is nice; however, some of the greats were dropouts or created with minimal tools with less than traditional paths to success (Sadie Benning, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs).....
from what i understand borax can be replace sodium metaborate in some formulas even though it is sodium tetaborate
( in d-23 for example ) and i think ( correct me if i am wrong ) the film developing cookbook says this ..
i don't think there is any harm using grocery / healthfood store bought ingredients if they are nearly the same as
i purchased a bunch of sodium carbonate at a pharmacy and i never saw a difference between what i paid 40$ for
and what i would have purchase at a grocery store for less than 50¢. ( if i knew i could buy sodium bicarbonate and evaporate the moisture out of it
and covert it to sodium carbonate, i would have done this and purchased THAT at a grocery store and saved myself 39.50$ )
not sure if there is a huge difference between grades of ascorbic acid either and i usually buy 1lb for about $6 instead of scientific grade.
I must have missed the Palmolive discussion. I know my bottle of Photo-Flo will last me for decades because I only use a drop or two, so I wouldn't save much by buying it at the grocery. I don't know, and don't much care, if dishwashing fluid is even a suitable substitute. But Borax, unlike Clorox, IS a proven substitute for many photo applications. I've always used grocery store washing soda too. It works, and is consistent. Nothing else matters. I would not use Clorox, even though it's bleach.
But doesn't Palmolive soften your hands while you do your film?
I'd heard the dish-soap thing before from someone working in a photo store. He told me only use it in a "pinch" (if you really really have to and can't get the correct stuff), and that with proper technique surfactant probably isn't even needed.
Aha! .. I spy a(nother) thread where the Apollonian/Magistral mode of discourse clashes with that of the Dionysian/Menippean ... where's Socrates when we need him?
Haaaaa! Or the Capulets vs Montagues......