Life of Unopened Chemicals
About five years ago I returned to working in a darkroom after decades away. Two years ago, I took a break and now plan to return. I got rid of all of my mixed chemicals because two years struck me as too long. Kept all my unopened powder (D-76, e.g.) because I didn't think it aged. My question (assuming I'm right about the powder) is what to do with the unopened, unmixed liquid stop bath and fixer. Is it sure to still be good, or should I just dump it. (Not worth my time to test these small quantities, so if there is a chance they've gone bad, I'll just get rid of them.) Everything's been kept at room temperature (or cooler) the entire time. Thanks.
Many of my newly purchased bag of chemicals have expiration dates set beyond 3 years mark. I have also used some bags up to one year past expiration dates with fine results. I'm sure if the bags weren't sealed perfectly or somehow got contaminated, it may very well not last til the expiration dates.
I tend to trust chemicals up to a reasonable time beyond expiration dates unless an obvious sing of damage or deterioration exist.
I'd check the dates on the bags first rather than how long you had it. If too long after expiration date, I'd just get new one. I can't imagine stop bath going bad though.... Fixer, I am not sure but it's so easy to test with just a clip of film.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Liquid fixer can go bad, it will likely small and have particles floating in it. Stop bath plastic bottles get hard after a decade or two, from the acid, so don't twist the bottle in half when opening it. D76, if the powder is white and it mixes up clear with no amber colour, it is good. If it is lumpy and brown, toss it.
I have a bottle of Kodak stop bath has been open for at least 10 years, still works fine on the rare occasions that I use it - (prefer the Ilford stuff).
Originally Posted by tkamiya
I have had rapid fixer go bad. Gets yellow gunk (sulfer) and smells.
When I started learning about the darkroom, the Kodak books listed most of the chemicals storage life as "infinite in package", mind you it was normal for the stuff to come in sealed metal cans. (sometimes with a key to open the top.)
I still live just beyond the fringe in Stittsville
Is it ok if I resurrect this?
I thought it better to tack onto this old thread rather than start a new one. I've shot several rolls and now I have some time to develop for the first time in years. I have the following chemicals I've gathered from garage sales and craigslist:
Liquid (I think all have been opened)
- Ilford Ilfotec HC (unknown date)
- Ilford Ilfostop (unknown date)
- Kodak Photoflo (unknown date)
Sealed in package
- Kodak D76 (one has no date but the price tag says 01-04-94, another expires 2007-03, and the third doesn't have an expiration but looks identical [package is glossy] to the one expiring 2007-03)
- Kodak Fixer (3 packs, no date)
- Kodak Hypo (one has no date but the price tag says 03-08-97, the other no date at all)
I'm betting I should throw away the liquid chemicals (but maybe test the stop?). I also would think the two newer D76 packages would be fine. Any thoughts on this?
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The HC may still be good, like HC 110 or DDX/TMax which has very long life after the bottle is open. I have an opend bottle of photo flow that is 4 or 5 years old, stop bath should also last long after it is opened. The dry packets may be more of an issue, if the chemistry looks discolored it may a sign to toss it. I have dry devleopers mixes in bags and cans, Kodak and ANSCO,the chemistry in cans are now over 40 years old but still mix and work just fine, on the other hand a packet of Microdol X that is only 10 years old had already turned brown.
I recently finished a bottle of Photo-Flo that I had been using off and on for about 40 years, so unless you see mould in it, it will probably be fine.
If you actually have something labelled as Kodak "Hypo" with a price tag dated "03-08-97", the date must be referring to 1897 .
"Hypo" is a very old and out of date name for a type of fixer, and it hasn't been used alone in the name of a chemical for many, many years (decades?).
Now if you were actually referring to "Hypo-Clearing Agent", my response would be different. If the bag is still sealed, and the powder inside is still white and dry and flows without clumping, it is probably fine.
Sorry about the nit-picking, but "Hypo" and "Hypo-Clearing Agent" are very different, and there seems to be a lot of confusion about them.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I did not know that--thanks. Yes, it is Hypo Clearing Agent.
Originally Posted by MattKing
I suspect the Ilfostop is OK to use. I recently finished using the last of four bottles of Ilfostop that were produced in the mid-nineties. All were perfectly fine.
I am still using a 30 yaer old bottle of Kodak stop bath. I only use it when I can't find the Ilfostop as it smells unpleasant. As long as either of them is Yellow, you should be fine.
Originally Posted by ctsundevil
Back when the chemicals came in Cans, the kodak books listed most of them having a life of "infinite in Package" but the envolopes packaging while much less expensive to make is not as good.
I still live just beyond the fringe in Stittsville