Caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide, is a very powerful chemical that is used in industry and that we can also use at home, but only with the utmost care.
Indeed, caustic soda in contact with water releases high temperatures, becomes corrosive and can seriously damage our skin and our eyes. Therefore, we must take a lot of precautions while using caustic soda at home.
Its most common use is the artisanal preparation of soap, which consists of the combination of this ingredient with water and a fatty substance which is normally oil. In the past, lard was used.
Its industrial uses are mainly related to the field of chemistry and large-scale cleaning, but let’s not forget that caustic soda is also little used as a food additive, always at an industrial level.
At the domestic level, many uses are advised against, because caustic soda must be used with great care for cleaning and only when necessary, and because, fortunately, there are alternative remedies that are more effective and less polluting.
But we are going to discover in more detail what caustic soda is, what are its domestic uses and what are the most important precautions to know and quickly adopt whenever you decide to use it.
Household uses of caustic soda.
Caustic soda for domestic pipes.
A few years ago, it was very common to use caustic soda for maintenance to unclog kitchen or bathroom sinks.
They poured a glass of caustic soda down the drain and let the water run.
Some people probably still use this method today. Unfortunately, not everyone knows whether the pipes in their house really withstand high temperatures. In fact, caustic soda in contact with water can reach very high temperatures which could damage pipes that are not very resistant, such as plastic ones.
For this reason, unless you are sure of the resistance of the pipes in your home, we do not recommend the use of caustic soda for cleaning or clogging sink drains.
There is actually a much better and more efficient alternative to taking care of drains and unclogging them, you know we are always trying to clean up with natural resources.
We can take advantage of the reaction between baking soda, our all-purpose cleaner, and citric acid.
So, instead of caustic soda, we suggest you pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of citric acid down your drain, then let the water run, which will allow the chemical reaction between the two ingredients. and will help you eliminate toxins. berths.
It is a much safer method that you can use two or three times in a row in difficult traffic jams.
Caustic soda for cleaning grills and barbecues.
Caustic soda is also traditionally used to clean grills and barbecues.
As a descaler, caustic soda is indicated for cleaning barbecues, ovens, cookers, steaks and hoods, by immersing the object in a mixture of 3 or 4 liters of water and 200/500 g of caustic soda for 6 to 8 hours.
However, remember that contact between water and caustic soda is very dangerous for the skin. If you are going to use it, wear proper gloves and follow all necessary precautions.
It is best to use an environmentally friendly biodegradable degreaser.
Caustic soda for soap.
Sodium hydroxide is an essential substance for the artisanal preparation of soap.
Once the process is complete, the soda disappears completely from the final product, giving us an ecological and biodegradable soap, normally composed of olive oil, water and caustic soda.
The presence of caustic soda in homemade soap recipes can sometimes be scary, but making homemade soap is really safe if the necessary precautions are followed.
For this reason, those who want to make soap at home just need to be careful not to come into direct contact with the caustic soda or the caustic and aqueous solution with their bare hands. It is essential, as we will explain later, to wear gloves and preferably a mask to cover the mouth and goggles for the eyes.
When following the recipe for making the soap, always check carefully in what order the ingredients will be poured. Be sure to use a container that can withstand high temperatures when mixing water and soda. Always pour the soda into the water and never the other way around.
Caustic soda does not completely disappear immediately after being mixed with water and oil. The reaction is long. It is generally said that the soap should sit for 4 to 6 weeks. For safety, so that your soap is not caustic, we recommend that you let it rest for 8 weeks before using it.
The longer you let the soap sit, the longer you give the reaction and the caustic soda to wear off, so you have a suitable product to wash and cleanse your skin safely.
Caustic soda, dangers and warnings.
Caustic soda is very corrosive and potentially dangerous, especially when it comes into contact with water.
Caustic soda attacks metallic materials, including aluminum, magnesium, zinc, and other alloys that contain it.
Caustic soda can not only be corrosive to metals, but can also cause severe burns and injury to eyes and skin.
If caustic soda is ingested, rinse mouth and do not induce vomiting. In case of skin or eye contact, ingestion, inhalation or other accidents with caustic soda, contact your doctor and go to the emergency room.
Caustic soda, precautions.
When using caustic soda, open the windows in the room you are in and do not close them completely. Caustic soda is especially dangerous to children and pets when it comes in granular form and when dissolved in water.
Children and pets can accidentally come into contact with caustic soda, even small amounts that can fall onto the table or floor. Therefore, when using caustic soda, always keep children and pets away from where you are working.
If other people are with you while you are using caustic soda, ask them to stand a safe distance from where you are using it.
If you store soda at home, you should keep it as safe as possible, away from children and pets, and locked up if you can.
Remember as much as possible to avoid dangerous and polluting products, always try to follow an ecological cleaning.