Chemical Place

Potassium Alum


Potassium alum is a naturally occurring mineral salt. Alum is often chemically synthesised by companies wishing to use a cheaper ingredient in their products. It is important to be aware of this so that you can be sure the products you are using contain natural potassium Alum.Naturally occurring Potassium Alum has been used for hundreds of years as an effective natural deodorant and it is the main ingredient in many natural deodorants. Alum is commonly used in deodorants thanks to its antibacterial and astringent properties. But did you know it has many other uses too? The list below introduces a few of the alternative uses for this wonderful little crystal.

Hair Styling: Barbers in the early-mid 20th century used alum when cutting hair, particularly in styles that required a great deal of precision. The alum would cause the hair to stand on end so that any missed hairs could be easily spotted. Alum was also used by Barber’s for general hair ‘dressing’.

Aftershave: Alum has astringent and styptic properties, which makes it great for use as an aftershave. It closes the pores and reduces bleeding caused by small nicks from the razor. Alum is also drying, so can help to reduce shine and grease on the face. However if you have naturally dry skin it is recommended that you do not use it for this purpose.

Hemorrhoid Treatment: Alum has long been used as a natural and effective home treatment of external Hemorrhoid’s. Dissolving a little Alum powder in water and applying to the affected areas with a cotton wool ball helps to shrink the swelling.

Chinese Medicine: Alum has been used for many hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In TCM it is known as Ming Fan and has been used to treat a variety of ailments. For example it is used to stop bleeding, alleviate itching, relieve toxicity and clear phlegm.

Skin Whitening: Alum was used in the 16th century to whiten the skin, as was the fashion.

Baking Powder: Alum is an ingredient used in baking powder. Baking powder is used as a raising agent in foods, but has many other uses too. It is often used to make a home-made deodorant and has been used for cleaning and other applications.

Pickling: Alum is used for Pickling and as a food additive. It is found in many pickle recipes as it helps to preserve the crisp nature of the vegetables and fruit.

Water Treatment: The use of alum to purify water is very common and has been used for many years. Crystals of alum are inserted into water, the crystals cause the small particles present in water to stick together and form larger, heavier particles which settle at the bottom of the tank. These particles can then be safely removed. This process is termed as flocculation.