Dhristi JEE 2022-24

What is Sodium Acetate?

Sodium Acetate is a chemical compound, comprising one Sodium (Na) atom, two oxygen (O) atoms, two carbon (C) atoms, and three hydrogens (H) atoms. It is a sodium salt of acetic acid or Sodium acetate anhydrous (i.e., lacking water of hydration) or Sodium Ethanoate. It is easily soluble in water and alcohol and is hygroscopic in nature. It is usually odourless but when heated till decomposition it smells like vinegar or acetic acid.


Chemical Formula: CH3COONa.


Uses of Sodium Acetate

  • It is generally used in the textile industry.

  • It is used in hot ice, heating pads, and hand warmers.

  • It is used as a disinfectant.

  • It is used as a buffering agent in the cosmetics industry in a variety of personal care products.

  • It acts as a concrete sealant.

  • It can be used as a buffer with acetic acid to keep a relatively constant pH at 881.4 °C.

  • It is used as an additive in food industries, as a preservative that prevents bacteria formation in a wide range of food.


Properties of Sodium Acetate


Sodium Acetate

Molecular Weight

82.0343 g/mol


1.53 g/cm3


White Coarse

Melting Point

324 °C

Boiling Point

881.4 °C

Sodium acetate Structure

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Preparation Method

Sodium acetate can be prepared with the help of baking soda and vinegar. (It is advised to wear safety goggles as the splashing can happen and it will cause irritation in the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. If inhaled directly, it can cause inflammation of the lungs and throat).



  • Add one spoonful of baking soda to a glass container and slowly add vinegar, being careful not to create too much foam, Keep adding vinegar while stirring the mixture.

  • Once the mixture stops bubbling, you can stop adding vinegar as all of the sodium bicarbonate has been converted to sodium acetate and carbon dioxide.

  • To separate out the sodium acetate from water, boil the solution until you hear a popping sound. At this point, crystals will be formed. When you get this supersaturated sodium acetate solution, cool the solution to room temperature, and a translucent gel will be formed.

  • Scrape the gel into a bowl with a coffee filter, which will absorb the remaining water, Break the pieces and put them on another coffee filter to finish the drying process, creating sodium acetate powder. 


Reactions Involved : 

\[CH_3COOH  +  NaHCO_3    \rightarrow    CH_3COONa   +   H_2CO_3\]

Acetic Acid     Baking Soda                Sodium Acetate   Carbonic Acid


\[H2_CO_3                 \rightarrow        H_2O  +  CO_2 \]

Carbonic Acid                   Water    Carbon Dioxide


Did You know?

Sodium acetate is also used as a deicer (the process of removing ice) in parking garages. The compound is preferred over Sodium chloride because sodium chloride corrodes steel rods buried in concrete and sodium acetate does not corrode. There are several other uses of sodium acetate.


What happens when Sodium Acetate is heated?

Answer: When Sodium acetate is heated above 58 °C, sodium acetate loses its hydration capacity and starts to dissolve in that steam. The process is exothermic in nature.



Acidic Buffers: It is a combination of the weak acid and its salt with a strong base (Conjugate base).



       CH3COOH / CH3COONa

       H2CO3  / NaHCO3


Basic Buffers: It is a combination of a weak base and salt with a strong acid (Conjugate acid).


Eg: NH3 / NH4Cl

       NH4OH / NH4Cl


Sodium acetate can cause mild irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. If inhaled directly, it can cause inflammation of the lungs and throat.


Applications of Sodium Acetate 

Sodium acetate is a compound used in various industries in the manufacturing of different products. Below are some of the applications of sodium acetate. 

  • Biotechnology 

Sodium acetate can be used as a carbon source to cultivate bacteria. This chemical compound also helps in increasing yields while extracting DNA by ethanol precipitation.  

  • Industrial

Sodium acetate is a chemical compound widely used in the textile industry to remove calcium salts, which improves the quality of the finished fabric. Apart from this, it is used as a pickling agent in the production of synthetic rubber.  

  • Food 

Sodium acetate adds a salty flavour to different types of food items. It acts as a preservative to improve the flavour and quality of the food such as meat, poultry, etc. During food processing, sodium acetate regulates the pH level. 

  • Heating Pads

Sodium acetate is used in heating pads and warmers. This compound can melt at  58.4°C dissolving in the water of crystallisation. Once the sodium acetate crystal is heated past its melting point, the aqueous solution will become supersaturated. This solution can cool down to room temperature without forming any crystals. 

  • Medical 

Sodium acetate injections are commonly used to treat or prevent hyponatremia. In this condition, there is a lack of sodium in the patient’s blood. With sodium acetate injection, the level of sodium in the blood can be increased and improve the patient’s condition.  

  • Water 

Instead of methanol, sodium acetate is used in water treatment as an environmentally-friendly compound. It can be used to prevent or lessen the damage caused by water to the concrete. 

  • Cosmetic Products

Sodium acetate is used in the manufacturing of cosmetic products as a buffering agent to neutralise the pH levels and improve the quality of these products.  

Learn about Sodium Acetate

Learning about Sodium Acetate - Definition, Use, Preparation, and Reactions requires a lot of your time and attention. Sodium acetate is a chemical compound, which can be used for multiple purposes. For example, sodium acetate acts as a buffering agent in personal care products. To learn everything about sodium acetate, you can follow the tips mentioned below:

  • You can start learning about sodium acetate from your chemistry textbook to get an idea of what this chemical compound is and how it is prepared. 

  • Refer to Vedantu’s website and find the best study materials to learn the concept of sodium acetate. Here, you can learn the preparation, uses, and structure of sodium acetate and enhance your knowledge. 

  • Use different reference books and guides of chemistry to gain more knowledge about sodium acetate and improve your understanding of the concept. 

  • Go through the steps of preparation of sodium acetate thoroughly and also learn about the materials you need to prepare it. 

  • Learn how sodium acetate reacts with other chemical compounds and is used in various industries for different purposes. 

  • After learning about sodium acetate, you should start attempting questions to practice and test your knowledge to check whether you have understood the concept or not.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is sodium acetate a weak base or a strong base?

Sodium acetate (CH3COONa) is salt in solid-state and can't be regarded as an acid or base in anhydrous or molten form. It is a salt made of a weak acid and a strong base.

\[CH_3COONa  +  H_2O  \rightarrow  CH_3COOH + NaOH\]

Sodium Acetate Water     Acetic Acid         Sodium Hydroxide

But it undergoes hydrolysis to give a basic solution.

2. Is sodium acetate insoluble in water?

No, sodium acetate is highly soluble in water. The solubility of this compound in water increases with the increase in temperature. Sodium acetate (anhydrous) dissociates in water to form sodium ions (Na+) and acetate ions (CH3COO-).

3. How is sodium acetate prepared?

Industrially Sodium acetate is prepared from glacial acetic acid and sodium hydroxide.

\[CH_3COOH  + NaOH   \rightarrow   CH_3COONa  +   H_2O \]

Acetic Acid   Sodium Hydroxide Sodium Acetate Water

Sodium acetate can be produced from the reaction between acetic acid and sodium carbonate. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) can be used as an alternative to sodium carbonate in this reaction.