This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
Surface Of Prints Softening In Wash Waters. This will not occur where cold water is used, and will only happen during the summer months when the water is warm enough to cause the emulsion to soften. If cold water cannot be had to overcome the softening, add to the second wash water one-half ounce of saturated solution of alum to every 60 ounces of water. Add the alum before admitting the prints and see that it becomes thoroughly mixed with the water. This will harden the emulsion on the paper and the prints can then be handled without damage to the surface. It is necessary, however, that the prints be thoroughly washed after this alum bath; otherwise, you will carry the alum into the toning bath, which will result in uneven tones.
Surface Of Prints Softening In The Fixing Bath. If the prints soften in the fixing bath, it is either because the fixing bath is strongly alkali, or very warm. Handle them as carefully as possible while fixing. After they are fixed and you have given them one change in fresh water, transfer them to a tray of water to which has been added one ounce of saturated solution of alum to every 60 ounces of water; or place them in a 5% solution of formalin. Pick the prints over rapidly while in this hardening bath and then wash them thoroughly before mounting. If prints were hardened before toning they will remain hard throughout all the manipulation. If they have not been previously hardened and become soft just before fixing, use a half ounce of solio hardener in the hypo; or immerse in an alum bath composed of 1 oz. alum to 60 ozs. water before fixing; afterward wash in two changes of fresh water, and fix as usual.
Surface Of Prints Softening In Wash Water After Fixing. This is apt to occur if the wash waters are of a high temperature. Treat the prints just as you would if they had softened in the fixing bath, or during the preliminary washing.
Prints Showing Red Streaks Or Spots. Red spots are generally caused by finger marks or grease in the wash waters. Never use water from cooking utensils, as there is more or less grease in all kitchens. We have known cases where it was necessary to use hot water to take the extreme chill from the washing waters in winter. As this hot water was taken from a kitchen boiler, the resulting prints had red stains which we found upon examination were caused by grease in the hot water.
Streaks. Are generally caused by allowing the prints to stick together while washing - not handling them over often enough. In other words, careless preliminary washings.
Streaks On Prints After Fixing Which Did Not Show When Toning. These are generally caused by careless handling of the prints after fixing; allowing them to mat together in the first wash waters after fixing. Prints must be picked over and over thoroughly, handled in every change of water after fixing as well as before toning, and should never be allowed to lag in any department, but be kept moving from the time they enter the first wash water until final mounting and drying.