Getting your IDA

Industrial Denatured Alcohol

One of the most used ingredient in the wet plate collodion would be the denatured alcohol. In the UK, it is a controlled product in which you would be limited to only 20L per year. The Industrial Denatured Alcohol (IDA), also known as Industrial Methylated Spirits (IMS) consists of 99 parts by volume of alcohol and 1 parts by volume of wood naphtha.

One would require the approval from the HMRC, in which you are limited to only 20L a year.

The application form is available in their website:

The form is article 19 in the list which can be downloaded from here. It is free of charge to get the authorisation, just fill out the form and post it.

Once you have this, your application can be dealt with via the National Registration Unit, HMRC in Glasgow.There is no cost involved in obtaining authorisation and only takes a few minutes yo fill the form.

One would receive at most 20Lt or less for their own use as a recognised category, in which I had stated I am using it for historical photographic processes, lens cleaning, wood varnishes and other various hobby applications.

Though I regret I didn’t go for full 20 Litres, as I had only put in 8L, and that’s all they had allowed me to use per year. 

The letter that I received is as follow:

IDA approval form from HMRC

Alternatively, while waiting for the form approval to arrive (which it had taken somewhen 4 weeks for this letter to arrive), I had used bio ethanol, “Bionlov”, a Swiss made ethanol, in which works just fine from collodion salt to varnishes and plate cleaning, though the disclaimer here is that there might be variables as there are small organic compounds which might be in this type of alcohol.

Bio ethanol as alternative to IDA




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