What is NaOH?

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What is NaOH?

NaOH is the chemical formula for sodium hydroxide.  This chemical substance is also known as caustic soda or lye.  In its pure state, sodium hydroxide is white in color and is commonly found in the form of pellets, granules, or flakes.  Sodium hydroxide is also highly soluble in water and has high alkaline levels which make it very delicate to handle.  People handling this chemical must wear protective clothing as it may cause serious skin irritation.  If irritation does occur, experts advise that the skin part be soaked in warm water to rinse off the chemical.

There are various uses for sodium hydroxide and these include the manufacture of paper-based items, the making of soaps, detergents, and other cleaning products, and in purifying water among many other applications.  In one’s household, one may find sodium hydroxide as part of the ingredients for products like dishwashing liquid, laundry detergents, and bath soaps.  But these household products typically contain only a small amount of the sodium hydroxide substance to counter its skin-irritant properties.

The food industry also makes use of sodium hydroxide for a variety of purposes.  Fresh fruits and vegetables may be rinsed off with a solution that contains this particular chemical.  Some have also used this chemical in solutions that help soften the texture of some fruits and crops.  Other traces of this chemical can also be found in hair strengtheners, paint stripping products, and many paper products.

Aside from the chemical’s common use in the food, paper, and household products, many have also taken advantaged of sodium hydroxide in terms of its ability to dissolve other things and substances.  In the case of farming for example, this chemical is mixed with water to dissolve the tissues of some animals.  Sodium hydroxide can also react with other chemicals and compounds making it ideal for etching and/or altering a metal’s finish.

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