How To: Make Potassium Chlorate from Ordinary Household Bleach and Salt Substitute

Make Potassium Chlorate from Ordinary Household Bleach and Salt Substitute

If you're not just a chemistry nerd, but also a firearms freak and explosives nut, then this home brew chemistry concoction is just what you need for some cheap homemade potassium chlorate. It's a mixture of potassium, chlorine and oxygen (KClO3) and is used for such things as gun primers, propellents, and explosives (when mixed with the appropriate fuel). And guess what? NurdRage is going to show you the steps for this makeshift potassium chlorate.

You'll need laundry bleach and sodium-free salt (salt substitute).

Warning: This produces small amounts of chlorine gas and should be done outside or in a fumehood.

Potassium chlorate is a useful oxidizer and small amounts can be easily made using household chemicals. Start by boiling a large quantity of household laundry bleach, at least half a liter, until crystals start to precipitate. Immediately take it off heating and let it cool. As it cools, make a saturated solution of potassium chloride. Potassium chloride is sold as a "sodium-free" salt substitute. Now, once the bleach is cooled, measure out an equal volume of potassium chloride solution and pour into the boiled bleach solution, but do not mix in the crystals. Stir up the mixture and eventually potassium chlorate crystals will precipitate out.

What's happening is the sodium hypochlorite in the bleach is disproportionating to form sodium chloride and sodium chlorate. Adding the potassium chloride exchanges the ions and precipitates out potassium chlorate.

The boiling is required for this reaction to work; you can't simply let the bleach evaporate.

Nurd Rage does it again!

PS: Check out the chemical reaction at the end of the video, where sulfuric acid is added to potassium chlorate.

3 Comments

can you boil bleach in a metal pot please help

I wouldn't boil bleach in a metal pot because bleach is a strong oxidizer and could eat through the pot. Use something like Pyrex glassware and a camp stove to boil bleach safely. Another thing you can try is putting bleach in a large Pyrex container that is suspended in a pot of boiling water to heat it. Just make sure the bleach is not going to mix with the boiling water so it doesn't eat the pot.

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