How to Prepare a Sodium Hydroxide or NaOH Solution

How to Prepare a Sodium Hydroxide Solution or NaOH Solution

Sodium Hydroxide
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Sodium hydroxide is a common and useful strong base. Special care is required to prepare a solution of sodium hydroxide or NaOH in water because considerable heat is liberated by the exothermic reaction. The solution may splatter or boil. Here is how to make a sodium hydroxide solution safely, along with recipes for several common concentrations of NaOH solution.

Amount of NaOH to Make Sodium Hydroxide Solution

Prepare solutions of sodium hydroxide using this handy reference table which lists the amount of solute (solid NaOH) that is used to make 1 L of base solution.

  • Don't touch sodium hydroxide! It is caustic and could cause chemical burns. If you do get NaOH on your skin, immediately rinse it with a large volume of water. Another option is to neutralize any base on the skin with a weak acid, such as vinegar, and then rinse with water.
  • Stir the sodium hydroxide, a little at a time, into a large volume of water and then dilute the solution to make one liter. Add sodium hydroxide to water -- do not add water to solid sodium hydroxide.
  • Be sure to use borosilicate glass (e.g., Pyrex) and consider immersing the container in a bucket of ice to keep the heat down. Inspect the glassware prior to use to make sure it is free from any cracks, scratches or chips that would indicate a weakness in the glass. If you use a different type of glass or weak glass, there's a chance the temperature change could cause it to shatter.
  • Wear safety goggles and gloves since there is a chance the sodium hydroxide solution could splash up or the glassware could break. Concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide are corrosive and should be handled with care.

    Recipes for Common NaOH Solutions

    To prepare these recipes, start with 1 liter of water and slowly stir in the solid NaOH. A magnetic stir bar is helpful if you have one.

     M of solutionAmount of NaOH
    Sodium Hydroxide6 M240 g
    NaOH3 M120 g
    F.W. 40.001 M40 g
     0.5 M20 g
     0.1 M4.0 g