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Uses of Potassium Hydroxide

Last updated date: 01st Mar 2024
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What is Potassium Hydroxide?

Potassium Hydroxide also denoted by KOH is a chemical of great importance in more than one industrial sector. It is made up of a positive potassium ion and a negative hydroxide ion, in which the K is linked to the oxygen atom by an ionic bond and the oxygen atom is linked to the hydrogen atom by a covalent bond. In this article, we will state various different uses of potassium hydroxide and discuss the different industrial sectors that use it. 

Potassium Hydroxide

Potassium Hydroxide

Uses of Potassium Hydroxide

In this section, we will discuss about some of the applications of potassium hydroxide. 

  • Uses of Potassium Hydroxide for Skin

Potassium Hydroxide serves as a disinfectant which is used in cleaning hands, skin, and surfaces. It is also a major component of the soaps which we use for washing hands or bathing. Most commonly bathing soaps are made up of Sodium Hydroxide but these days soaps containing Potassium Hydroxide are gaining popularity because they are comparatively softer than the sodium soaps since potassium hydroxide is soluble in water, thus it is a better cleansing agent as well.

Soap Making Industry Using Potassium Hydroxide

Soap Making Industry Using Potassium Hydroxide

  • Uses of Potassium Hydroxide in Agriculture

Since Potassium Hydroxide has disinfecting capabilities, it is also used in the agriculture field for that purpose. But more importantly, it is used as a fertiliser. Potassium is a very vital chemical for plant growth, it is mainly associated with the transport of water, nutrients, and carbohydrates in the plant tissues and is also involved in the activation of certain enzymes for the proper functioning of the plant. It is also required for the production of ATP which is the main energy currency of the plant. Since Potassium Hydroxide is an alkaline, it is also used as a fertiliser with the purpose of maintaining the pH of the soil.

Potassium Hydroxide in Agriculture

Potassium Hydroxide in Agriculture

  • Uses of Potassium Hydroxide in Food

Potassium Hydroxide is used in food for various different purposes like:

  1. As a pH adjuster

  2. As a Stabiliser 

  3. As a thickening Agent 

Using a chemical in edibles however poses several issues, thus no matter how small the concentration might be, it has to undergo several lab tests. Potassium Hydroxide is considered a relatively safe ingredient in moderable concentration. 

  • Use of Potassium Hydroxide in a Laboratory

As we stated before in this article, potassium hydroxide is a very salient chemical and serves many purposes not just as our daily life products but also chemically in laboratories.

  1. It is used as an electrolyte in cells involving several Potassium containing chemicals. 

  2. It is also used to see fungal elements more clearly by cleaning the clinical materials. 

  3. It is also used to produce batteries. 

  4. It is also used in acid-base reactions. 

  • Uses of Potassium Hydroxide in Daily Life

Potassium Hydroxide serves many purposes in our day-to-day life that you will be surprised to find that many things that you usually use involve this vital chemical. 

  1. Soaps that we use for bathing are mainly made of potassium hydroxide. 

  2. It forms a major component of paint remover.

  3. It is also used as a disinfectant. 

  4. It forms a component of detergents. 

  5. It is also present in shaving creams. 

  6. Chemical peeling and washing of fruits and vegetables involve Potassium Hydroxide.

Sample Questions

State whether the statements mentioned below are correctly stated or not.

  1. Soaps made using KOH are softer.

Ans: True.

  1. KOH is also used in shaving creams. 

Ans: True. 

  1. KOH is an acidic chemical.

Ans: False, KOH is an alkaline or basic chemical.

Learning by Doing 

Complete the following statements by filling in the blanks.

  1. In KOH, the K is linked to O with a ________ bond and the O is linked to H with a ________. 

Ans: ionic, covalent

  1. Potassium is involved in the activation of _________ in plants.

Ans: enzymes

  1. KOH is more ________ than NaOH in water. 

Ans: soluble


Potassium Hydroxide is simply represented by its chemical formula KOH. It is a very important chemical which has various uses in different industrial sectors such as disinfectant, soap, skin, agriculture, food, and petrochemical industry. It also serves various purposes in our daily lives, some of which are briefly discussed above. Lastly, it is also used in the lab for various different purposes like making batteries and fuel cells, as an electrolyte, etc.

FAQs on Uses of Potassium Hydroxide

1. What is potassium hydroxide also known as?

Potassium Hydroxide is an inorganic chemical and is also known as Lye. It is more commonly known as caustic potash and is one of the most frequently used bases.

2. Comment on the physical appearance of KOH.

Potassium Hydroxide or KOH is a white solid which has deliquescent properties. It is odourless and tasteless. It is readily soluble in water and is also soluble in alcohol and glycerol but is insoluble in ether and liquid ammonia.

3. Is KOH capable of absorbing and holding in water?

Yes, KOH is a highly delinquent substance. A deliquescent substance is that substance which when kept openly can absorb moisture from its atmosphere or the air. Thus, solid KOH when kept exposed to air will absorb moisture from the atmosphere and convert to its solution form.