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  1. #1
    eli griggs's Avatar
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    % ammonia in household cleaner?

    I want to mix up some film cleaner, using the formula in "The Darkroom Cookbook", #188, which calls for a small amount of 28% strength but all I have on hand is "Food Lion" clear ammonia and the label gives no clue as to how much ammonia is in it.

    Can anyone offer guidance on how to make this work?

    Eli

  2. #2
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    I don't know the formula offhand, but household cleaner is very dilute and certainly not 28%. Household stuff is about 3% or so IIRC. You can get the 28% from most chemical supply houses.

    The 28% stuff is pretty caustic and can cause severe burns. You should work with it in an open area, with safety glasses and rubber gloves.

    I hope that the formula dilutes this quite a bit. I wouln't want to clean film with a strong ammonia solution. Depending on the other ingredients, if it is too strong, it can do more harm than good.

    Mixed with alcohol and water though it makes a good glass cleaner if at just the right concentration.

    PE

  3. #3
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    All I can say is that the fumes from it will develop Oxalid paper. I don't even know if that paper is still used. When I started working for NACA in 1952 the Ozalid process was out means of reproducing. Some of my office mates had worked overtime making ozalid copies of 50 ft rolls of oscillograph film records of flight test data. The next morning they found that the Ozalid developing machine had not worked and they were faced with the possibility of more overtime. Government employees seldom got paid in money for overtime. Payment was in compensatory leave.

    I remembered that the Ozalid process used ammonia vapor as a developer. Our janitor's closet had a bottle of household amonia. I got a small retouching brush and dipped it in some amonia with the idea that we could develop the traces in the office. As soon as the brush got near the trace, it popped right up. That night, the large lower drawer of every desk in the office became an ozalid developing machine, with an open cup of household ammonia and one or two loosely coiled rolls of ozalid paper. The next morning, all the traces showed and everyone in the office had clear sinuses. That was the beginning of my carreer as Gadget Gainer.
    Gadget Gainer

  4. #4
    eli griggs's Avatar
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    PE, the formula calls for 5ml of ammonia, with 95ml of H2O, and alcohol making up the rest, giving a final volume of 1 liter.

    I was thinking household ammonia solution was about 10-12 percent, but your figure of 3% is very interesting, as it shows how little I know about this material.

    I am printing this weekend and I had hoped to had a working formula in the bottle, but I may have to wait till I can order 28% at some future date.

    Eli

  5. #5
    eli griggs's Avatar
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    Gainer, that's a great story. Thanks for sharing.

    I love it when I can solve problems on the fly like that, not that I am chemically gifted. When I worked as a freelancer, assisting other photographers, shoots often had need of some last minute tweak or rig; I loved that work!

    Eli

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    5 ml of 28% is about equal to 50 ml of 2.8%. Therefore if you had household ammonia at whatever % use the ratios to get how much to use. Reduce the water by the same amount you increase the ammonia by.

    Do not use scented household ammonia.

    (The reason I said about is due to the fact that ammonia is less dense than water by a fair amount, and becomes less dense as the concentration increases. I don't have my tables handy to calculate, but I would guess this is 'about' right.)

    Hope that helps.

    PE

  7. #7
    gainer's Avatar
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    Solving a problem gives one a truly great feeling. It almost makes me feel guilty when I get paid for it. Almost, but not quite.
    Gadget Gainer

  8. #8

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    Ammonia for reprographic diazo/blueline stuff is usually like 18% to 30%
    (20-26 baume). It's cheap but I don't know how easy it is to ship or find locally.

  9. #9
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    My bottle of Vista household ammonia claims 1 cup in a gallon of water will remove old floor wax, so it must be fairly strong. Much more than 5% I would think. Probably could look up the MSDS on the net.
    Gadget Gainer

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by gainer View Post
    Much more than 5% I would think. Probably could
    look up the MSDS on the net.
    Check for Parson's. Quite a bunch of it on local shelves. Dan

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