I have the following Ilfotol concentrate:

enter image description here

After making a solution (1+200) suggested in the label above, my question is: how much should we use in our final development?

A drop or fill the tank?

And also can we reuse the solution? If so, how long?

  • 2
    +1 for the question. I can see why it's getting downvoted for lack of research but I'm currently not thinking of a way to ask about the "tribal knowledge" aspect of it. For example, many shooters don't follow these directions...but you wouldn't know that unless you asked, and you wouldn't have asked if you'd simply read the directions...so, yea - I've no idea how to reframe this question or apply it to other solutions in the mix. – OnBreak. Jul 10 '19 at 12:59

Ilfotol and Photo Flo are recommended solutions to use...but not required to use...in film development. They're effectively really, really dilute soaps.

My bottle of Photo Flo isn't as old as tfb's - it's going on about 8 years - but I can tell you that it still looks the same, smells the same, has the same consistency, and doesn't have any particles in the liquid. So, I assume that it's just fine to continue using.

Its use, for me, is a single drop or two of the concentrate added to the developing tank filled with water and then swished around and then disposed of. If you decide to mix up a working solution, I'd treat it the same. Add what you need to cover your film, agitate, then dispose. When you've run out, make more.

With something like Photo Flo, you want it to be the last thing to touch the film. Using it and then returning it to the bottle could introduce contaminants to the batch (though unlikely). Because the stuff is so cheap and so little is ever used, it simply makes more sense to treat it as one shot.

Side note, I TA'ed my high school film class and, even given our absolute crap budget, still used Photo Flo as one shot. I'd simply mix up gallons of it in the morning and make it available to the class throughout the day, who were instructed in the above technique of cover, agitate, dispose.

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    +1. Using a measuring cup set aside with water for your 'final wash' ahead of time allows more effective and gentle mixing of the few drops of concentrate. - Mixing too hard may generate excessive bubbles, which can in turn lead to weird drying spots. - This stuff is stupidly simple to use in general, but has a bunch of easily missed 'gotchas' to use to its best effect. – TheLuckless Jul 10 '19 at 22:33

You really need to learn to use a search engine and/or look at Ilford's excellent technical data sheets like everyone else does. I typed in 'ilfotol instructions' at DuckDuckGo and both the first two hits were copies of this PDF document from Ilford (PDF link) where, on the third page, you will find

Storage and solution life
ILFOTOL concentrate will keep for:-
3 years in full airtight bottles
12 months in half full tightly capped bottles.

Working strength
7 working days.

Please RTFM.

Note that this is what the manufacturer specifies you should do: this is what is safe and what they will warrant will give good results. In practice many people (me included) simply add a drop or two to the final rinse and then throw it away. The neat solution also lasts far longer than a year in practice. However it is what they will warrant: if you use it like I do then you are on your own.

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    Well, that’s the recommended way. Personally, I’ve been adding a single drop or two of photo flo to a tank and using it as one shot. The bottle will still last forever 😂 – OnBreak. Jul 10 '19 at 12:07
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    @Hueco: that's what I do as well: keeping the stuff just isn't worth it. Also the 'will only last 12 months in bottles' is bogus: I've had a bottle of photo flo for something like ten years now. I'll add that to my answer. – user82065 Jul 10 '19 at 12:30
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    Berating a member for not reading the manual, and then contradicting said manual in the same post seems slightly counterproductive... – TheLuckless Jul 10 '19 at 22:34
  • @TheLuckless: If they asked 'Ive read the manual and can is it right?' I'd have a bit more sympathy with them. Instead they've asked questions like this repeatedly about this and other things. – user82065 Jul 11 '19 at 8:47

OK, I first went to Ilford to RTFM. Then I came here because it was confusing. After having read and re-read the posts here, I'm still confused. You keep saying "a drop or two." A drop or two of what- the undiluted concentrate straight from the bottle, or a drop or two of the 1:200 solution they recommend you mix up? This is what the OP asked and still didn't get a clear answer, just scolded for asking. I'm used to using a drop or two of PhotoFlo straight from the bottle, and my guess would be to do the same with the Ilfotol, but since it's a 200x difference, I can see why one wouldn't want to guess.

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  • Welcome to photo.stackexchange.com! Please note that the answer box is reserved for answers to the question above. If you have a comment, there is a comment function, which is available to you as soon as you gather more reputation points e.g. by asking or answering questions. – Kai Mattern Jul 30 at 14:37
  • @RogerPenn The accepted answer originally said: Its use, for me, is a single drop or two added to the developing tank filled with water and then swished around and then disposed of. If you decide to mix up a working solution... This implies (although admittedly not very clearly) that a drop or two of the concentrate, not working solution, is meant. I've added the words "of the concentrate" to make it clearer. Thanks for pointing this out. – Kahovius Jul 30 at 16:55

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