I know that you can buy datatainers for your darkroom chemistry. These are brown and plastic, presumably of some special plastic. I'm looking for alternative shapes and sizes that I can't find pre-made (250ml, for example), so I'd like to use other materials but I'm not sure if there are bad choices (will this plastic react with the developer?) or better choices (glass seems fine, but does it need to block the light?). Can I use Nalgenes or mason jars, for example?

When choosing a storage container for your chemicals, what are the important attributes?


The various chemical solutions of the photo process can be safely stored in glass or high density polyethylene (HDPE). Nalgene is a trade name for this material by Fisher Scientific. It is important to consider the lids and caps; they should also be resistant to these chemicals. Keep in mind that polyethylene bottles other than Nalgene are also acceptable. Brown or green bottles are commonly used because the shelf life of stored chemicals is prolonged if they are protected from exposure to light. Please note that photo chemicals also succumb when oxidized. Dissolved oxygen in the waters of the chemicals is the offender. Best if the bottle is plastic and squeezed so the air space at the top of the bottle is excluded.

  • Accordion bottles are a good alternative to squeezing the plastic, which weakens it.
    – Blrfl
    Jul 6 '17 at 17:57

A glass jar is in fact a good option. It could be transparent if you can not find a brown one, but keep them in a closet with no light. You can make a cardboard box for the jar.

It is ok for the chemicals to recive some light for some brief period, while you are handling them in your dark room with your whilte lights for example.

My gess is that the containter you mention in the coment is fine. Normally plastics made for food consumption are more stable and prepared so they do not react with fruit juice (acids) for example, and do not degrade as easitly.

  • 1
    Thanks @Rafael. Do you know if Nalgenes are acceptable? That would be ideal.
    – steel
    Jul 6 '17 at 1:03

Glass is what i use. (BROWN). You can find a variety of sizes in brown glass at your local beer home-brewers supply house, or a growler from a micro pub. (Search craigslist for growlers). For an even greater variety of smaller sizes you can try a chemical or scientific supply house/supplier.

I do still have some plastic ones i got from a photography supply house.

I use a wine preserving gas to displace the oxygen in in the bottle when i am done for the day. You spray it in the bottle and it is heavier than oxygen so it creates a barrier between the oxygen left in the bottle and the chemistry.

  • Nice tip with the spray. I suppose that only works if your bottles stay in one spot, upright, after you spray.
    – steel
    Jul 6 '17 at 19:11
  • @steel My understanding is that even if you move the bottles the gas will settle down below the oxygen again because it is heavier.
    – Alaska Man
    Jul 6 '17 at 22:57

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