Amber plastic vs. amber glass bottles to store Developer

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by bruce_karnopp|1, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. I have seen several suggestions that one should store developer in
    amber glass containers and not plastic one. I have a box of 500ml
    amber plastic bottles and another box of 250ml amber plastic bottles
    for Dectol and Xtol, respectively.

    I have never had a problem with either since I get all the air out of
    the bottles when I store them.

    Am I kidding myself. Since I got these at a drug store, I know these
    are for medicines that are light sensitive. My guess is that if they
    are not safe for developer, they must not be safe for our meds either.
  2. I think that the aversion to plastic is that gasses can pass through the bottle, where with glass, this does not happen. As always, I could be wrong...

    - Randy
  3. Some plastics are gas permeable, others not. Experiment for 6 months and you will know. Put the paper developer in the plastic. If it screws up, you will not ruin any film.

    Glass and good lids always work.
  4. Supposedly the reason for using brown glass had to do with it containing less soluble chemicals in the glass itself than clear glass, and had little to do with light. If you keep the bttles in a darkroom or store them in a cupboard or closet light wouldn't be a problem anyway. For years I used empty bleach jugs after they'd been rinsed out and allowed to air ou until the chlorine smell went away. That was back in the days when the gallon of bleach was often only 69 cents on sale but a brown plastic empty jug at the photo store was $2.98. Now I use soda bottles like Coke comes in. I figure the plastic can resist the pressure of the carbonation just fine so it's not going to let much oxygen through.
  5. Now I use soda bottles like Coke comes in. I figure the plastic can resist the pressure of the carbonation just fine so it's not going to let much oxygen through.
    Have you ever had a flat bottle of soda? Let a bottle of Coke sit around unopened for a few weeks and see what happens. Plastic "breathes." That's why soda eventually goes flat and photo chemicals shouls always be stored in glass bottles.
  6. Check out the bottle info at

    IMO, glass is still the best way to go. I don't know about soluble compounds in the clear vs. brown glass, and I don't think developer is very light sensitive, but it is certainly sensitive to oxygen. Fill the bottles with just a tiny airspace (you don't want them to break if the temperature changes) and cap securely.
  7. inless bottle threads have changed, caps i got at a lab supply are ideal
    they even fit green wine bottles that originally had break-off seal
    aluminum caps.
    these caps were black bakelite? with a conical poly insert that wedged down and sealed the bottle.
    I got caps for gallon, quart and pint bottles.
    much to my wife's dismay, I still have them all.
  8. I store my developer, Rodinal, in a plastic bottle, seems to last for years. Being of the same
    generation as Mr. Kaplan I concur with his methodology. After all, most chemicals do come
    in plastic containers now days. I do mark what ever, "darkroom chemicals", just in case.
  9. Very few photochemicals are light sensitive. Some exceptions are intensifiers with silver nitrate. Generally there is no particular reason to use brown bottles.

    My experience is that developers last much longer in glass bottles than in the brown plastic bottlers that are sold for photographic use.
    Both cases with the bottle full. Dry developing compounds also last longer in glass bottles. This is because of the permeabililty of many plastics to oxygen, which will react with the developer. There are plastics that are relatively impermeable to oxygen.

    Rodinal is famous for its longevity and so glass vs plastic is probably less important than for other developers.
  10. I keep old 2 litre domestic bleach bottles and wash them out for chemical storage. They are made of high density polyethylene and have air-tight, child-proof caps. Some plastics are permeable to oxygen so tests are necessary.I keep print developer in my bottles for weeks and have no problems. The other advantage is that plastic isn't as fragile as glass. Brown glass is used as it protects the chemicals against light which causes some to decompose.

    I also use old bleach bottles for health and safety reasons. I would echo Walter's warning about using old soda bottles. All bottles holding chemicals MUST BE CLEARLY LABELLED.
  11. Hi Al,
    we'll make a reservation at the Darwin Award for you.
    It can't be posted for enough times:

    Hi Bruce,
    actually I prefer plastic, for it doesn't shatter into a brilliant mixtures of soup and glass when it falls down. If' might start to leak.
    If your storage shelf is not exposed to the pure sunlight, no need for amber.
  12. I really appreciate the flood of answers to my simple question. My guess is that glass bottles are better, but when bottles are wet - as in a darkroom - the probability is that sometime the glass bottle (or the plastic bottle) will slip though my aging fingers. The plastic will be picked up; the glass would be swept up.

    The true joy of chemical photography is that it is so close to alchemy. There is a mystery to the chemical process that continues to excite even after a half century. When I download my digital camera, it just isn't the same.

    I am very careful yo always fill my bottles to the very top. That seems to be the biggest factor for me. And I keep them in a dark closet at about 64-66 degrees.

    Thanks again for all the ideas. I guess I will go back to reading Harry Potter and dipping my prints into developer. It's all the same: MAGIC.

  13. Bruce:

    You have hit on what is my biggest reason for preferring plastic over glass bottles in the darkroom. Having dropped a few glass bottles, I don't relish picking up sharp shards of glass and cleaning up chemical spills. I'm not one to wear gloves for most things in the darkroom, but I draw the line at open cuts and photo chemistry. At best, It's going to sting. Is glass less permeable than plastic? Yes. Does it matter? Most of the time, no.

    I reuse soda bottles. I have some XTOL, noted by some for going bad quickly, stored for a little over 6 months in completely full soda bottles and the stuff works just fine. All the original labels are removed and replaced with suitable markings on the bottles. Permanent magic markers work very well. Keep them in a relatively dark place and you have no worries about the contents being affected by light. If you have small children around, exercise the same caution you would for many, and possibly even more toxic, houshold cleaning chemicals. If an otherwise reasonable adult decides to drink the stuff, well, what can you say? As suggested earlier, we can send in a nomination for a Darwin Award on behalf of the afflicted.
  14. Always use a piece of saran wrap between the cap and the bottles.
    Even if a bottle is the correct type of plastic, the lid may not be.
    Saran wrap is the correct type of plastic to air insolate the

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