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Sunday, 16 April 2017


Potash is a generic term for potassium compounds and potassium-bearing materials, the most common being potassium chloride (KCl). The term potash comes from the Middle Dutch word potaschen (pot ashes).

Potash (especially potassium carbonate) has been used in bleaching textiles, making glass and soap, since ancient times.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah refers to washing-soda and potash as a cleansing agency for clothes.

The Ancient Greeks were  fond of blond hair and men and women alike bleached their locks with potash water and herbal infusions.

Crystals of potash with a coin for reference. 

The old method of making potassium carbonate before the industrial era was by burning wood to produce ashes, dissolving the ashes in water and then evaporating the resulting solution in large iron pots, leaving a white residue called pot ash. The potash was then reacted with fat to produce soap.

Later, potash became the term widely applied to naturally occurring potassium salts and the commercial product derived from them.

The first U.S. patent of any kind was issued in 1790 to Samuel Hopkins for an improvement "in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process". Pearl ash was a purer quality made by the ignition of cream of tartar.

Today, potash is mostly used in fertilizers. It improves nutrient value, taste, color and disease resistance of food crops including fruit, vegetables, rice and corn.

More than 33 million tons of potash are produced worldwide every year.

Canada is the largest producer of potash, followed by Russia and Belarus.

Potash evaporation ponds near Moab, Utah. By Orange Suede Sofa 

The biggest consumers are of potash are China, the US, Brazil and India.

The UK's only potash mine is near Boulby on the north-east coast of the North Yorkshire Moors,

Source Daily Mail 

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