Preserving Pyrocat HD
Pyrocat developers already have a long shelf-life, but just as a small Vacuum Pump lets us preserve opened wine by removing the air in the bottle, we can fully extend the life of Pyrocat developer (and any other darkroom chemicals we choose).
Use Standard Wine Bottles
Purchase some inexpensive wine, or find some old wine bottles. The 500ml bottle shown here, is available at wine-making supply stores at a very low price. Some beers come in these bottles too.
If you need to clean the wine stain out of some old bottles, you can use one of the most common and affordable photo chemicals: Sodium Sulfite. Mix a teaspoon into some hot water, and swirl it around the inside of the bottle. You’ll be amazed: the stain slides off the glass in sheets. Rinse and repeat as required. Household cleaners don’t work as well, but this works perfectly.
You can purchase Sodium Sulfite in bulk powder form, from places like Artcraft Chemicals. Note: Sodium Sulfite is the single active ingredient in Washing Aid, to remove Fixer. So between removing stains and clearing Fixer, you can’t afford not to have some on hand.
Get a Vacuum Wine Pump
Purchase a small pump like the one shown here. The Screwpull Wine Pump is sold by Williams Sonoma.It’s very nicely made, and will last a lifetime. It comes with 3 stoppers.
For those lining in the UK, there are also available from Nik and Trick Photography.
Insert one of the stoppers, place the pump over the stopper, and pull up a few times to create a vacuum. You can do this whenever you like.