running trays through the dishwasher : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

is there any good reason--safety or otherwise--that i shouldn't run my paterson plastic trays trough the dishwasher with standard dishwashing detergent every once in a while in order to get them good and clean? i'd assume i don't need to use heat drying, to avoid melting.

-- brad daly (, May 31, 2000


I have my trays labeled so I can't mix them up and I rinse them immediately after use. I clean them with tray cleaner (rarely) when necessary.Never thought of running them through the washer. Frankly I would be afraid of not being able to get the dishwashing detergent off them. I'd be curious to know if anyone has tried this as well.

-- Robert Orofino (, May 31, 2000.

I've always used chlorine bleach to clean my trays. It's cheap and it doesn't take much.

-- (, June 01, 2000.

I occasionally run my trays through the dishwasher with absolutely no problems at all except that the dishwasher sometimes will not remove the stains from the developer tray. For this I use a small amount of chlorine bleach and a little water and let the soution sit in the tray until the stains disappear. After a quick water rinse, this is then followed by some used fixer which is allowed to work 5 or 6 minutes. (This, I assume, dissolves the silver chloride compounds created by the bleach). Rinse and dry and your good for another few weeks/months. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, June 01, 2000.

Sorry, "you're". (Too early in the morning!)

-- Doremus Scudder (, June 01, 2000.

Years ago my father taught me a little trick which works pretty well. I don't label my trays, I just rinse them with hot water after every printing session. Then, for my next session, I use the dirtiest one for fixer, and the cleanest one for developer. That way, they all stay clean without a lot of washing. Fixer is one of the best cleansing agents because it's more or less automatic. Try it!

-- Tony Rowlett (, June 02, 2000.

I would hesitate to recommend putting trays in the dishwasher as most of the chemicals are toxic, some even carcinogenic. You can't be sure that there is no residue in the dishwasher after the washing. As some of the water hardness deposits on the heating bars may be pretty porous and therefore absorptive, I would consider it likely that they can absorb some contaminant to release it over the next few washing cycles. Food an chemistry just don't go well together.

I consider labelling trays, and rinsing them after use, the best solution. Only rarely is there a need to clean them, and when there is, it takes less than a minute per tray.

I do not think the suggestion with the "automatic cleaning" by means of the fixer is a good practice, as any potential cross-contamination is irreproducible. One might consider using old fixer for this, prior to its disposal, but then you have to thouroughly clean the trays from fixer residue afterwards, which means you have replaced one cleaning task be another one. What's the gain?

-- Thomas Wollstein (, June 05, 2000.

Well, my father has done it since the early thirties, albiet with stainless trays, and I since the 70s with plastic ones. The main advantage is clean trays with almost no cleaning. Any other way, and you have a dirty developer tray that needs cleaning. Developer stains trays. Stop bath and fixer removes the stains, at least most of the way. You give a good rinse in hot water to all the trays, and any cleanliness problem, including cross-over, is solved.

One time I had a problem with developer gluck appearing on my prints. The cause was an unclean stainless developing tray. I initially thought that by using a stainless tray, I wouldn't have to clean AT ALL (just rinse), so I quit pouring the fixer (or stop bath) into the tray. Not true. Having not spotted the staining along the sides, I made some prints and they had black marks along the white borders.

Ansel Adams said in his book The Print that he no longer labelsed his trays and that he poured the stop bath into the developer tray to help keep it clean. I have found that fixer is actually better.

I would definitely not put any photo processing things into a kitchen dishwasher. It just can't be 100% safe.

-- Tony Rowlett (, June 05, 2000.

Oh, and when I've had to clean a developer tray that was messy, it has taken me a lot longer than a minute. That black stuff is nasty and it's difficult to get off. Bleach is good for the job.

-- Tony Rowlett (, June 05, 2000.

I recommend washing darkroom trays in the dishwasher. Why take a risk to your health even if you run the washer again for a rinse. To reduce/eliminate developer tray staining, try LPD. If fix contaminates paper developer I understand it results in warmer print tones.

-- denmark (, July 17, 2000.

Interesting observation about LPD. I purchased a new set of white trays right after I switched to LPD. They have not stained in a year and half of periodic use! Never noticed that until your post. The primary reason I switched to LPD was to eliminate skin irritation and the need to wear rubber gloves while processing. It is a great developer!

-- Gene Crumpler (, July 19, 2000.

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