General Question

intro24's avatar

What's a weak base I can make at home?

Asked by intro24 (1396 points ) March 19th, 2012

I’m looking to find a weak base (somewhere in the pH of 8 to 10) that is fairly common or that could be made with fairly common household items. It also needs to be in solution indefinitely. By that I mean that no solid precipitates will form if it is left to settle. It’d also be nice if it was non-corrosive and overall not very damaging or harmful… Something like water but just a little more basic. Thanks!

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19 Answers

PhiNotPi's avatar

Soap is a base that is usually between 9 and 10. Most cleaning products are also bases, such as ammonia.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Baking soda and water? I don’t know what pH that would be but it’s safe.

intro24's avatar

Soap is genius! At first I was thinking baking soda but I thought it might leave solution. Was I mistaken?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@intro24 Off the wall thought. Mix soap with baking soda and water. It might keep the soda in suspension.

Kayak8's avatar

Egg whites come in at an 8.

Rarebear's avatar

Very very dilute bleach.

intro24's avatar

Now don’t go thinking too hard into this but… to extend my question, is it safe to use baking soda in solution as a one-day substitute for windshield wiper fluid in a car? Not is it recommended or is it proven (I know it’s not and it hasn’t been), but I’m just wondering if it would harm the car in theory. It would be washed out with water afterwards. I think for the most part it would act just like the usual stuff but I feel like there might be some overlooked aspect to which I’m not chemically inclined.

RocketGuy's avatar

Ammonia is basic, so maybe Windex with AmmoniaD would work.

jazmina88's avatar

yes….RocketGuy has this one. no soap. no soda.

cazzie's avatar

It depends on what you are wanting it to do. A dilution of ammonia would be my first thought. Soap has a surfactant property. Do you need it to lessen the surface tension of water?

Everything has corrosive properties, it depends on what you expose it to. I need more information to really help.

Windex sometimes has alcohol in it, which has one of the lowest surface tensions.

If you dissolve some baking soda in water, that which doesn’t dissolve will dissipate to the bottom, but enough may dissolve to give you the pH you require.

intro24's avatar

Well Windex is apparently basic. Why would I mix it with ammonia?

And like I said as long as it’s a base with a viscosity like water then it should work fine.

cazzie's avatar

Ammonia would be in the Windex perhaps. You’d have to read the ingredients list, but if you want to be sure, my point was to take just ammonia and water it down to the pH level you want, or put ammonia in water to up the pH level you want. Ammonia might go cloudy in water, I haven’t used it in years.

I use a very strong base made from Sodium Hydroxide, (lye). You could put a very small amount of lye in water to adjust the pH. It dissolves very well and doesn’t dissipate out even in large amounts. Lye is a very strong chemical on its own. You must use extreme caution when handling it. Of course lye, itself, is very corrosive.

Anything with a pH of 9–10 is going to be corrosive to something. Even soap, if left on a brass or copper dish, will oxidise the top of the metal. Even tap water can clock in at a pH of 8 and be pretty harsh on drains and pipes, so I’m not sure where you are going with your ‘non corrosive’ wish.

RocketGuy's avatar

@intro24 – you are intending to use this in a car windshield wiper system, to compare cleaning effectiveness vs water? Do you have a means to measure pH?

intro24's avatar

Ok, I did it. Nothing’s broken yet O.o Anyway I’d like to say that this was a science experiment with a fancy hypothesis and all but really I needed the basic baking soda in solution to spray out of the car and onto the windshield where I had some phenol red absorbed in some paper towels so that it indicated the base and turned purple. It wasn’t exactly pretty but that’s the only way I could get it to work. That being said, it didn’t work all that well but I used it in a round-about way to ask a girl to prom (I spelled “prom?” with the phenol red). Standard acid-base indicator setup. It wasn’t worth the trouble for how (not) well it worked but that’s kind of what I do… I’ll know what I’m doing in the future though if, for some odd reason, I need to do this again. Thanks all!

jaytkay's avatar

I used it in a round-about way to ask a girl to prom…

And…?

intro24's avatar

I wish I could say it was a simple yes but there always seems to be complications. It wasn’t about that though. I wanted a challenge, I got one, and I kinda mostly solved it so I’m at peace.

jaytkay's avatar

Hmmm. Well cool project, it shows ingenuity and style!

intro24's avatar

Thank you, sir. Also, thanks to the clouds today for not raining. That wouldn’t have gone over too well.

cazzie's avatar

@intro24, Well done. I would have loved a invite like this. She’s a fool if she turns you down.

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