Being in use for over a period of over 3500 years, alum (previously known as alumen) is a class of chemical compound that naturally produces itself in minerals like kalinite, alunite, and leucite. These chemicals are then treated with sulfuric acid to obtain the crystallized alum that is more renowned in the circle of commoners. It is colorless, odorless, bitter and acidic in taste. Although many types of alums are there namely soda alum, ammonium alum, chrome alum, selenate alums, and aluminum alum; it is the potash alum that we generally refer to as alum, whether in crystallized form or powdered form. Potash alum is used for various commercial purposes and more commonly for home remedies. It is prepared by dissolving water in potassium sulfate. The solution then goes through the process of evaporation after which it is precipitated to form alum crystals. These crystals are then further heated to drive away their water content and finally, what we get is the powdered form of alum. This powder has immense uses attached to it. Read further to get detailed information about the uses of alum powder.
Common Uses Of Alum Powder
- Alum is frequently used in the purification of drinking water in industries. It is dissolved in the water tanks which make the colloidal parts heavy so that they can easily be removed. This makes way for further purification of water.
- It is most commonly and frequently used as an after-shave. Applying powdered alum mixed with a little water or in the crystallized form over the face while it’s still a little wet, aid in blood clot on the minor cuts that occur from shaving.
- During the end of 16th century, it was commonly used as a base in many skin whiteners and in treatments for sunburns.
- Alum powder is known to keep the body odor in check as it is easily soluble in water and eliminates the odor causing bacteria. This explains as to why it is used as one of the primary ingredients in the manufacturing of deodorant sticks.
- Alum is used as a soothing agent to be applied on the freshly waxed skin.
- Alum is used as a readily available remedy for the treatment of mouth ulcers. Applying a pinch of alum powder on the ulcers will relieve the pain and heal them.
- It is also used as an ingredient in many toothpastes and toothpowders as it helps in maintaining a good oral hygiene.
- Alum is used as a preservative when making pickles out of fruits and vegetables as it maintains the crispiness in them.
- Many baking powders involve alum powder as an ingredient for providing the acidic content in them.
- Alum is consistently used for its flame retardant properties as it’s found in many fire extinguishers and is also used with clothes, wood, and paper materials to increase their resistance to fire.
- Alum is also known for its acne fighting properties when mixed with other ingredients like rosewater or egg white.
Now that you know the uses of alum powder; bring the powder home if you don’t already have it. You never know when it might come handy!