Uses of Sodium Hydroxide

Bookmark added to your notes.
View Notes

Sodium Hydroxide Uses

Sodium hydroxide is one of the most chemicals used diversely in industries. It is commonly called caustic soda and lye. It is the alkaline form of sodium oxide. In this section, we will learn the different uses of sodium hydroxide in different domains. We will also study the physical and chemical properties of this alkaline compound so that you can easily understand why it is used in particular cases. Study the sodium hydroxide used in an organized way so that you can conveniently answer the relevant questions in the board exam.

What is Sodium Hydroxide or Caustic Soda?

You have studied the different types of alkaline substances. One of the most commonly used alkalis in industries is Sodium Hydroxide. Its chemical formula is NaOH. It shows one sodium atom is linked with a hydroxyl ion to form this alkali. Sodium is a very reactive metal. It burns in contact with water. The vigorous reaction produces an immense amount of heat. Hence, it is produced in a safer way in chemical industries and laboratories.

The two uses of sodium hydroxide in our daily life are as a cleaner and for making soap. You will find a plethora of uses of this alkali in different other aspects. Let us study its physical and chemical properties briefly before we learn how sodium hydroxide is used in different ways.

Physical Properties of Sodium Hydroxide

  • The purest form is colourless and crystalline.

  • The melting point of sodium hydroxide is 318 °C.

  • The boiling point is 1388 °C.

  • It forms an aqueous solution readily but sparingly soluble in methanol and   ethanol (polar organic solvents).

  • It is deliquescent in nature as it absorbs moisture from the air.

Chemical Properties of Sodium Hydroxide

  • It reacts with acids vigorously to form salts and water.

  • It reacts with glass and results in the formation of soluble silicates. This is why it is stored in bottles made of a non-reactive material.

  • Sodium hydroxide reacts with other salts of metals occurring in the lower position in the electrochemical series such as copper, iron, etc.

  • Sodium hydroxide is also used for saponification reaction.

Uses of Sodium Hydroxide

Let us now concentrate on the main topic of this section. Here is the list of the uses of NaOH Class 10 you will find useful. Find an elaborate description of the uses.

1. Manufacturing of Soap

Here, we will learn how sodium hydroxide is used to make soap. It is one of the prime constituents of the soap manufacturing process. It is also called Lye. When its solution is mixed with fats and oils, it results in a chemical reaction called saponification. The fats and oils are made of organic acids. These acids react with sodium in the alkaline solution to form esters or organic salts. These organic salts are the prime constituents of soaps we use every day.

2. Home Applications

One of the prime uses of caustic soda in daily life is cleansing. It is a corrosive solution that can easily clean different utensils and tools without any hassle. In fact, many cleaning products contain sodium hydroxide. It is recommended not to use it directly with bare hands.

The best examples of caustic soda uses in home are drain cleaners, oven cleaners, tile cleaners, etc. It can easily remove fat, grease, grime, etc from the trickiest corners of the floor, kitchen tops, and appliances. The cleaning process becomes very simple. By just simply using a sponge and the solution, you can bring back the lost charm of appliances, unblock a drain, and make your kitchen look fresh. It is excellently used to unclog pipes. These products help us to keep our home clean and keep the pests away.

3. Industrial Uses

The sodium hydroxide uses in industries are diverse. It is also used for different reactions done in laboratories as well. In the pharmaceutical industry, sodium hydroxide is used to formulate different kinds of medicines that are used for various purposes. These medicines deliver excellent therapeutic effects in the form of sodium salts too. In the paper industry, caustic soda is used to make pulp and manufacture paper. Sodium hydroxide is used to manufacture aluminium products in the aluminium industry. It is also used in making soaps, detergents, surfactants, etc.

4. How Sodium Hydroxide Solution is Used?

The sodium hydroxide solution is used in other industries. In the food industry, it is used to make German lye rolls and used for baking purposes. The uses of NaOH Class 10 solution can also be found in the bakeries and confectionaries. In fact, the solution also helps us to remove dyes and other harmful chemicals from vegetables, fruits, etc. It is also used in producing different edible colours and for processing chocolate, cocoa, etc. The solution is used for thickening ice creams, softening olives, and to make soft drinks.


After reading this article, you will be able to answer the question ‘what is sodium hydroxide used for?’ easily. Study the physical and chemical properties of this alkali and find the reason for using it in different cases. Grab the concepts well and answer questions excellently.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Other Names of Sodium Hydroxide?

A: Sodium hydroxide is also called caustic soda and lye. The chemical name of this compound as per the IUPAC is sodium hydroxide. It helps us to depict its chemical formula.

2. Where Do We Use Sodium Hydroxide at Home?

A: Most of the soaps and detergents are made of sodium salts of fatty acids. You will also find sodium hydroxide in most of the cleaning products used in homes. This is also a prime constituent of drain cleaners and oven cleaners. As you can see, the domestic uses of NaOH are linked to cleaning and unclogging.

3. Why Should You Study the Uses of Sodium Hydroxide in Class 10?

A: Sodium Hydroxide is an important part of the inorganic chemistry studied in Class 10. Students will learn its properties and will be able to understand why it is specifically used domestically and commercially.