Sodium hydroxide is used for washing and/or peeling fruits and vegetables as well as cocoa processing. It can also be used for caramel coloring production, soft drink processing, and thickening ice cream. Sodium hydroxide can be used for poultry scalding.Sodium hydroxide is also commonly used to soften certain foods such as olives and pretzels.
Sodium hydroxide was once used for the detection of carbon monoxide poisoning before CO oximetry testing, which has proven to be more effective.
Sodium hydroxide is often used for soap making. It is also used in some hair relaxers, but only by professionals.
Sodium hydroxide is used in the production of detergents, pH regulation, and organic synthesis to create gasoline. It is also used in the pulping and bleaching wood fibers.
Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is a solid white alkali salt. It is sold in pellets, flakes, granules and in liquid form. It is most soluble in water, but it is also soluble in ethanol and methanol. It reacts with acidic oxides, such as sulfur dioxide, and it readily absorbs moisture. In 2004, global demand was 51 million tonnes.
In 1807, sodium hydroxide was discovered by Humphrey Day. The first line of sodium hydroxide was produced by treating sodium carbonate with calcium hydroxide in a metathesis reaction. By the late 19th century we began using the chloralkali process which has enabled for quicker and more efficient production time.