Pour this solution into the drain. Why pay for expensive drain cleaners when you can apply chemistry to make the products yourself? Of course, the result is impure, the chunks are too big, and glass is still stuck to some pieces, but for my purposes, this was a success. Make mistakes, but don’t play games with your safety. You can use half a box, if you like. Change ). I had to stop work for the day at this point, so I covered it, labeled it, and set it on top of my hot plate for the time being. So, having a big beaker full of the stuff, I started to pour water directly onto the powder. Make sure air circulation in the room is good and avoid using more product than you need. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. These pieces were then stored in a double bag, appropriately labeled. Sodium hydroxide can burn your skin and evolve caustic vapors. A quick way to test for sodium hydroxide is to dissolve the salt in question into water. ( Log Out /  Fill a plastic bucket most of the way full with cold water. If you have a plunger, try to loosen the clog. In my experiment, I should have used more protection (i.e. The powder immediately began to boil, and I could smell hydrogen gas. The active ingredient in serious drain cleaner is sodium hydroxide or lye. If you're a true do-it-yourself type, you can actually make sodium hydroxide from the electrolysis of sodium chloride (table salt) in water. Using sodium hydroxide (drain cleaner) we dissolve glass. A solution of anything else may or may not heat up, and in my case, sodium nitrate and sodium chloride do not. Well the sodium hydroxide reacted with it very vigorously in the following equations: 2 Al + 6 H2O → 2 Al(OH)3 + 3 H2 Remember how I said there were a few aluminum turnings in the fine powder? While this sounds redundant, some drain cleaners use bleach or hydrochloric acid as their main ingredients. If you haven't tried it already, clear the U-shaped trap below the drain, Put a bucket under the drain and use a wrench to unscrew the trap from the plumbing. While you could simply pour sodium hydroxide in your drain, it's much safer for you and your plumbing to mix it with water first to dilute it. I forgot exactly how corrosive sodium hydroxide is, and I also forgot very highly concentrated solutions of it eat through almost anything. If you're a true do-it-yourself type, you can actually make sodium hydroxide from the electrolysis of sodium chloride (table salt) in water. When I returned in the morning, I began to concentrate the solution further by boiling the excess water off. Choose from our selection of sodium hydroxide drain cleaners, including chemical drain cleaners, organic drain cleaners, and more. For this reason, I would advise any aspiring backyard chemist to find a lab coat. I used a combination of chiseling and further breaking the puck into pieces to loosen the glass from (almost) all the pieces of sodium hydroxide. The sodium hydroxide dissolves organic material, like hair and grease. Second, it is a powder. To see if the can even has a useful amount of sodium hydroxide to extract, the MSDS sheet is the place to start. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Now that I’d started putting water into solution, I couldn’t stop. These equations are actually how the drain cleaner destroys blockages in a pipe, but for me, this meant trouble. Later, I went back and calculated the exact strength of the solution. I turned off the heat and let the solution crystallize out (solid sodium hydroxide is much less harsh to deal with). There was about 200g of sodium hydroxide dissolved in less than 200 mL of water. By raising then cooling the temperature, the NaOH which is dissolved more than the water can hold will fall out of solution and turn into a paste at the bottom of the beaker, which you can retrieve. Sodium hydroxide can react with metal, so a glass bowl is fine too, but don't use a metal pot. The heat helps melt greasy clogs. ( Log Out /  So, wear gloves and avoid handling sodium hydroxide or putting unprotected hands in the water after adding this product. Be smart! Yes, that is my beaker. If no water is draining at all, you may need to break out the big guns. After the initial weighing, these big pieces were further crushed into semi-usable pieces. Here is how to make homemade drain cleaner to unclog your drain cheaply and effectively. In modern laboratories, sodium hydroxide, NaOH, is a very commonly used chemical which serves a wide variety of applications. What Is Caustic Soda and Where Can You Get It? Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. A common problem with bathroom sinks, showers, and bathtubs is hair caught in the drain. The active ingredient in serious drain cleaner is sodium hydroxide or lye. Not much is going to survive that high a concentration of NaOH, so instead of boiling it down, I should have reduced the liquid to a lesser volume, then let it sit and precipitate out of solution. When solvents (the dissolver – in my case, water) cool, most solutes’ (the dissolved – NaOH) solubility decreases. ( Log Out /  Below is what I thought was the sodium hydroxide. You can purchase sodium hydroxide (also called caustic soda) at any hardware supply store. To the aspiring backyard chemist, I would encourage you to go out and try this. So, after preparing my lab bench and gearing up, I began to physically separate the powder. What kind of beaker would you recommend to use while boiling the solution? After dissolving all the powder and getting rid of most of the dye, I had a concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide. Al(OH)3 + NaOH → Na+ + [Al(OH)4]–. Another Useful Chemical Salvage In modern laboratories, sodium hydroxide, NaOH, is a very commonly used chemical which serves a wide variety of applications. Not that you would, but don't drink it or leave it where children or pets might get into it. a lab coat), but at a minimum, gloves and splash-proof goggles are a must. First, it contains sodium hydroxide (wow…). Certain laboratory supply companies might sell sodium hydroxide to some institutions, and it is probably of very high quality, but to normal people, it is not sold. The products are also easy to find and inexpensive, so if your drain is just slow rather than seriously clogged, it's a good option to try. As with concentrating hydrogen peroxide, I have yet another way of making usable chemicals from household products. Or just use a lesser concentration of NaOH? Scrolling through the document, this section comes up: In case you can’t read it, the breakdown of components within the powder are: Aluminum: 1% – 5% (I’ll get to why aluminum is in the mixture later). When I went inside, I noticed small little drop-sized burns on my arm from being splashed with small amounts of the boiling solution. But, as I quickly found out, this too was a big mistake. It is important to note that from failure comes heightened understanding, and I realized that the fine powder was actually the sodium hydroxide. Another way to make lye is from ashes. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. However, when I dissolved this mixture in water…. Homemade Drain Cleaner Method #1: Baking Soda and Vinegar, Drain Cleaner Method #2: Sodium Hydroxide, How to Make Homemade Lye Using Two Ingredients.
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