Potassium hydroxide (KOH), commonly called caustic soda or lye, is a strong base that can cause health hazards if used inappropriately. Generally, potassium hydroxide is used in medicine and fertiliser manufacturing; hobbyists find it useful in soap making and amateur biodiesel production.
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Potassium hydroxide is often used as a main ingredient in drain cleaners. Several types are available for purchase at home centres; however, the majority of drain cleaners consists of diluted amounts of potassium hydroxide. Drain cleaners should not be substituted for soap making because of other added ingredients.
Many suppliers sell potassium hydroxide on classified ad sites. Purchasers can choose among several dilutions, depending on whether the potassium hydroxide will be used for food production or biodiesel production. Because potassium hydroxide is a domestic regulated material under the Code of Federal regulations, ensure that the supplier will ship it safely and legally.
Chemical suppliers sell the purest grade of potassium hydroxide available to research laboratories, hospitals and custodial businesses. Many of these companies require identification, account set-up and authorisation of intent before a purchase can be made. Some refuse to sell to the general public and will deal only with businesses and corporations.
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