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by Horst Schreiber

Caustic Soda

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Caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) is a white solid. We use caustic soda primarily as a paint stripper and for surface cleaning.

Sodium hydroxide is mainly used in the form of caustic soda. Solid sodium hydroxide is an integral part of drain cleaners in addition to aluminum shavings. Dissolved in water, the strong alkali (base) oxidizes the aluminum with the evolution of heat and hydrogen and then dissolves fats and proteins in the deposits by saponification.

Hot solution dissolves burn layers in cooking pots (not suitable for aluminum pots).


Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.


  • Do not breathe dust / fume / gas / mist / vapors / spray.
  • Wash thoroughly after handling.
  • Wear protective gloves / protective clothing / eye protection / face protection.

Emergency Response

First aid Fire-fighting measures
  • IF SWALLOWED: Rinse mouth. DO NOT induce vomiting.
  • IF ON SKIN (or on the hair): Take off immediately all contaminated clothing. Wash skin with water / shower.
  • IF INHALED: Move to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing.
  • IN CONTACT WITH EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. If applicable, remove existing contact lenses, if possible. Continue rinsing.
  • Immediately call a POISON CENTER or physician.
  • Targeted treatment (see label).
  • Fire fighting measures based on the environment.
  • Special protective equipment for firefighting. Wear full protective suit.
  • Inappropriate extinguishing agents
    • Product itself does not burn.
    • Attention: violent reaction with water (heat development)

Accidental Release Measures

  • Security measures related to people
    • Wear protective equipment.
    • Keep out unprotected people.
  • Environmental protection
    • Do not discharge into the drains or waterways.
  • Procedure for cleaning / picking up
    • Take up mechanically.
    • Send in suitable containers for recovery or disposal. Use neutralizing agent.

Handling and storage

If caustic soda is left unsealed in the air, it will react with carbon dioxide to form sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate. Therefore, it is stored in hermetically sealed containers.

Safe handling advice

  • Use and open container with care.
  • Avoid dust formation.
  • Supply eye wash bottle.

Advice on protection against fire and explosion

  • No special actions required.

Requirements for storage rooms and containers

  • Provide alkali-resistant flooring.
  • Do not use light metal containers.

Hints for combined storage

  • Do not store together with acids.
  • Keep away from metals.

Further information on storage conditions

  • Keep container tightly closed.
  • Store in a dry place.
  • Product is hygroscopic.

Storage class VCI: 8 Corrosive substances

Safety data sheet