Potassium Hydroxide is noteworthy as the precursor to most soft and liquid soaps as well as numerous potassium-containing chemicals.
Potassium hydroxide can be found in pure form by reacting sodium hydroxide with impure potassium. Potassium hydroxide is usually sold as white or translucent pellets, sometimes yellow, which will become tacky in air because KOH is hygroscopic. Consequently, KOH typically contains varying amounts of water (as well as carbonates).
Its dissolution in water is strongly exothermic, meaning the process gives off significant heat. Concentrated aqueous solutions are sometimes called potassium lyes. Even at high temperatures, solid KOH does not dehydrate readily.
Potassium hydroxide has many uses:-
- Precursor to other potassium compounds, eg fertilisers
- Manufacture of biodiesel
- Manufacture of soft soaps
- As an electrolyte
- Cleaning and disinfection
- As a main active ingredient in chemical "cuticle removers" used in manicure treatments
- Potassium Hydroxide is highly corrosive and contact can severely irritate and burn the skin and eyes leading to damage
- Potassium Hydroxide can affect you when inhaled and by passing through the skin
- Contact can irritate the nose and throat
- Inhaling can irritate the lungs causing a build up of fluid
- Exposure can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting
- It may cause skin allergy.
All health and safety data information must be followed when using this chemical