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  1. #1

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    De-ionized water: safe for photo use?

    Yesterday at the supermarket there was de-ionized water (for household irons) on sale at 1€/5Litre, about half the price I'm used to. I was about to grab a few, but then reading the label gave me pause: "not fit for drinking", "keep out of reach of children". So, what stuff could there be in that water that is unfit for humans (apart from the fact that it's not good to dring mostly water that is too soft)? and could it be unfit for photo chemistry?
    Notes:
    - I use (so far) de-ionized water (a) for final negative rinse because tap water contains particulate matter and I've not gotten around to install an in-line filter (b) for mixing negative developer, just to be on the safe side.
    - Here I'm talking about de-ionized water for household irons, not the high-tech stuff used in semiconductor fabrication labs.
    - Where I live (France) de-ionized water is a commodity, normally at 2€ for a jug of 5 liters. I never saw distilled water on store shelves. From previous threads on related subjects, it seems that the situation in the US is different, with distilled water being available and cheap.
    - Valuable insight is given by dancqu in the thread http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/3...uestion-4.html (emphasis added):
    De-ionization deals only with contaminants of an ionic nature and yields ionic free water. The usual water softening by ion-exchange yields soft water with lots of ions. Reverse Osmosis types can reduce considerably both ionic and non-ionic contaminants. Distilled water is essentially de-ionised de-mineralized water.
    But that does not really answer my question.

  2. #2

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    I use plain distilled water from the grocery store. About 95˘ a plastic gallon jug. As far as I know it's de-ionized. And I drink it sometimes. Doesn't taste like anything because nothing is in it.

  3. #3

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    "Not fit for drinking", etc means that the water is not guaranteed to be free of pathogens. But it is fine for photo purposes.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  4. #4
    K-G
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    De-ionized and distilled water will change the salt balance in your body. I don't know how much a harmfull volume is but the recommendation is not to drink it. For photographic purposes it should be just fine and for some applications it is even recommended. Use it and enjoy the low price. Here in Sweden it is difficult to get it for less than 4 - 5 € for 5 liter.

    Karl-Gustaf
    Karl-Gustaf Hellqvist

    www.heliochroma.com

  5. #5
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    De-ionized water is fine and I have been using it for years for a 30 second dunk after the wash. No photoflow, no wetting agent, just de-ionized water. I never have any drying marks.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  6. #6

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    Deionized and steam distilled are not the same thing. For critical use, I'd only opt for the latter. And since they cost exactly the same in the
    supermarkets around here, there's no sense getting anything but the real deal. Our tap water here happens to be quite good, so works perfectly well for ordinary developers, fixers, etc. I always use true distilled for the final film rinse, or during heavy storms when they might
    add some excess chlorine to the tap water, or for anything potentially fussy like stock dev or dye concentrates sensitive to either pH or
    organics. Ironically, the "drinking water" from the same bottling companies is basically tap water which has first been deonized and had the chlorine taste removed, then has certain minerals selectively added. Seem that pure water tastes odd to most people.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    Deionized and steam distilled are not the same thing. For critical use, I'd only opt for the latter. And since they cost exactly the same in the
    supermarkets around here, there's no sense getting anything but the real deal.
    Can you please explain how using the real deal will improve my negatives?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    Ironically, the "drinking water" from the same bottling companies is basically tap water which has first been deonized and had the chlorine taste removed, then has certain minerals selectively added. Seem that pure water tastes odd to most people.
    Funny you mention this, Drew. Just the other day it occured to me in all the years using either deionized or distilled water from the supermarket to mix photo chemicals, chemistry classes in college, high school etc., I had never tasted it. So after mixing up some chemicals I decided to swig the last bit left in the bottle of steam distilled. Bleah! Turns out while we think of H20 as having no taste, I guess the water I'm used to drinking must have a taste (due to dissolved salts, ions, whatever) so actual pure tasteless H20 tasted terrible. If that makes any sense. It's not only the taste, but the "texture" (? not easy to describe) that was weird. I suppose that could be because the water I'm used to drinking - either tap, or bottled (Evian, Naya, Nestle) is slightly alkaline versus neutral steam distilled.

  9. #9

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    Agreed on the taste and "texture" of distilled water. At the same time comical, to be questioning plain 100% pure distilled water as if it were poison. And if any of us were to guzzle 4 gallons of it in a day, we would either burst open, or spend the whole day behind a tree. And that would be about the worst of it. But photographic chemicals would love it. Contamination-free. Haven't we all got enough other variables? My policy is all developers get mixed in distilled water. That's the 1 chemical that you don't want to risk contaminating.

  10. #10

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    Thank you all for your comments. I agree it should be OK. But what if the process to produce that bargain de-ionized water (see my OP) has exchanged the ions that the steam iron doesn't like (Ca, Na) for other ions that offset the RedOx balance, for instance. Some picture-taking opportunities happen only once...
    So, I'll buy one, and do an A/B comparison (water "x" versus usual one) with HC110 dilution H, which, being high dilution, should be most sensitive to water quality.

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