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Caustic soda, what is it for


sodium hydroxide: what is it for, what it is, where to buy it and all useful information for use. From safety data Sheet uses, without forgetting thecaustic soda for food use.

Theresodium hydroxideis the namecommonof the alkalizing compoundsodium hydroxide.

What is caustic soda or sodium hydroxide?

A strong mineral base, appears solid at room temperature, is extremely hygroscopic (absorbs a lot of water) and deliquescent (absorbs the moisture present in the air).

It is commercially available in the form of whitish drops commonly calledcaustic soda beads, lozenges, beads or powder. Often, thesodium hydroxidecommon that we find on the market retains a certain impurity linked to the production process. On the contrary, thefood grade caustic sodait is very pure. But ... if caustic soda is toxic, what can it be used for in the food industry? We will see it later.

Caustic soda formula

The formula ofsodium hydroxideisNaOH(precisely,sodium hydroxide!). When it dissolves in water it develops heat, if you dissolve it in ethanol or other organic solvents, the heat production can be such that the solvent vapors ignite… so just don't!

It is considered a strong base for its ability to react with acids. Just think that a solution given by 50 grams ofsodium hydroxidedissolved in a liter of water, it has a pH of about 14 (at a temperature of 20 ° C).

Caustic soda, what is it for

Theresodium hydroxideit is used in various industrial sectors, including in the home or in the food industry.

L'usemost common we can do at home see thesodium hydroxideemployed asdisgorganteto unclog pipes and clogged sinks. It is used in the do-it-yourself production of soap (to replace ash, which, like caustic soda, is alkaline) and in a large number of sectors.

In the chemical industry it is used as a reagent for the production of dyes, detergents and soaps, for the manufacture of paper, for the treatment of cotton fibers, for the production of bleach (sodium hypochlorite), to prepare phosphate and sulphide .

Don't be fooled bydangerof thesodium hydroxide. Even if it is corrosive, as stated, it is used in the food sector. Food use is linked to the preparation of a typical dish of Scandinavian cuisine, the so-calledlutefiskNorwegian. Also in Germany it is used for a traditional product: the pretzel or prezel! We find it in some bakery products, indicated on the label as food additive. Not only that, in Italy, thesodium hydroxideit is used for the treatment of table olives. L'use of caustic soda for olivesis linked to the process of "deamarization ", that is, that process aimed at eliminating bitter substances from green olives. It is thanks to caustic soda that green olives become edible and have a pleasant taste.

Its use as food additive it is marked on the label with the initials E 524.

In Italy, thesodium hydroxideit is also used in winemaking, in particular to clean the tanks from tartar residues. It is an effective remedy for eliminating bad odors from plastic and stainless steel containers.

Where to buy caustic soda

Caustic soda is very easy to buy, you can find it in hardware stores, DIY stores or online: a 1 kg pack ofCaustic soda flakes is offered on Amazon at a price of about 8 euros including shipping costs. For all information, I refer you "This Page".

Where to buy food grade caustic soda

There caustic soda for food useit is more difficult to find on the market. Only certain shops that deal with supplies for bakery or specialized in the agro-food sector for catering, can have it. Alternatively, there is always Amazon, where a 225 g pack of food grade caustic soda you buy at a price of 16.99 euros with free shipping. For all information, I refer you to the Amazon purchase page:pure sodium hydroxide, it is caustic soda powder.

Poor caustic soda is easier to manage (weigh and handle) but, regardless of the type of product you choose, remember that for food use it is necessary to choose asodium hydroxidevery pure.

How to use caustic soda

As is clear, the uses are innumerable. Here are some guides for using caustic soda in the home. Before use, remember to follow the precautions for use indicated in the safety data sheet that you will find attached to this page.

  • How to unclog the sink
  • Tips for cleaning the heavily encrusted oven
  • Caustic soda for the treatment of olives
  • How to make lye (potassium hydroxide)
  • Shea Butter Soap Recipe
  • How to make a pretzel at home

Safety Data Sheet of Caustic Soda

Attached at the end of the article you will find thesafety data sheet of caustic sodamade available fromMinistry of the Environment and Land and Sea Protection. The sources of thesafety data Sheetare reported at the end of the same pdf document.

Many warnings, as well as the dangers of use are reported directly on the product purchase label. On the caustic soda label we find some acronyms that refer to the samesafety data Sheet, below we will see what they are and what they mean.

  • H290
    Indicates that the product can be corrosive to metals.
  • H314
    Indicates that it can cause severe burns and serious eye damage.
  • P102
    Keep out of reach of children.
  • P405
    Keep locked up.
  • P260
    Do not breathe the dust, fumes, gases, fog, vapors and aerosols produced during theuse of the product.
  • P280
    Wear protective gloves and clothing. Protect your eyes and face.
  • P302 + P350
    In case of skin contact, wash thoroughly with soap and water.
  • P305 + P352 + P338
    In case of contact with the eyes, rinse thoroughly for several minutes. Remove any contact lenses if easy to do. Continue rinsing.
  • P301 + P330 + P331
    In case of ingestion, rinse your mouth and do not induce vomiting.
  • P501
    With reference to environmental standards. Dispose of the product and its container in collection pointsHazardous wasteorspecial waste.

Warning!
Before using caustic soda, carefully read the instructions on the product labels!


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