Health & Fitness

All You Need To Know About Potassium Permanganate

In this article, we discuss the most commonly asked questions about the purple, color changing chemical compound: Potassium permanganate or KMnO(4). Seriously go buy it to try it out in your bathtub and you’re in for an absolute medical treat. 

But there are some guidelines on how to use it. 

What is Potassium Permanganate used for?

Potassium permanganate was first made in the 1600s and came into common medical use at least as early as the 1800s for a number of skin conditions. Uses include fungal infections of the foot, impetigo, pemphigus, superficial wounds, dermatitis, and tropical ulcers.

Potassium permanganate was a household favourite at my house growing up because my mother would drop these deep violet crystals into my bathtub, and it slowly reacted with water to turn mesmerizingly pink (not purple). It was definitely a hit show for me as a child. 

Little did I know that Potassium permanganate is a chemical compound that combines manganese oxide ore with potassium hydroxide. It was first developed as a disinfectant in 1857. Since then, it’s been widely used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including fungal infections.

How can you use it: 

KMnO(4) is most commonly used for skin diseases and before applying potassium permanganate to your skin, it’s important to dilute it with water to protect your skin. The ideal medical dosage suggests a dilution of 1 part to 10 when using a 0.1% potassium permanganate solution.

To achieve an appropriate dilution using potassium permanganate 0.1% solution, mix 1 part potassium permanganate with 10 parts of hot water. Undiluted potassium permanganate has a striking purple or violet color, but a diluted solution should be pink, so don’t add too much.  Potassium permanganate has to be diluted in water since undiluted solution may cause burns. Even after turning pink in water( ideal dilution color) it may irritate the skin, and with repeated use may still cause burns.

Potassium permanganate also comes in 400-milligram (mg) tablets which are not to be consumed. To utilize the tablets in a bath soak, dissolve 1 tablet in 4 liters of hot water before pouring into the bath. The bath soak is entertaining and you can repeat it twice daily for two days.

Here are some guidelines on how to use potassium permanganate for specific conditions:

  • Infected eczema: Create a dilution of 1 part in 10,000. Then add this to your bathtub and soak the affected part(s) of your body.
  • Superficial wounds: Apply a dilution of 1 part in 10,000 to a bandage and apply it over your wound. Change the bandage two to three times a day.
  • Athlete’s foot: If you have a severe infection, soak your foot in a 1 part in 10,000 dilution of potassium permanganate every eight hours. If your infection is seriously severe your doctor might prescribe a stronger solution.
  • Impetigo: Very gently rub a dilution of 1 part in 10,000 on the infected skin to remove the loose bits of skin.
  • Potassium permanganate is also used as a wet dressing for wounds on your skin’s surface that are blistered or oozing pus.

What are the dangers of potassium permanganate?

Potassium permanganate is generally safe, but it may leave a brown stain on your skin and nails, which should fade after a day or two. It might also leave a stain in your bathtub that’s hard to remove, which is why many people prefer to use it in a smaller basin. Alternatively, if you have kids, you can buy an inflatable swimming pool and add a tiny amount of the crystals to let yourself and your children have fun while taking care of any dormant or underlying fungal infection. 
Adverse side effects include skin irritation, redness, or burns. 

Potassium permanganate is a powerful solution that must be diluted before applying it to your skin. If it’s not diluted, it can damage your skin as well as the mucus membranes of your nose, eyes, throat, anus, and genitals.
Avoid using it near your eyes, and make sure you don’t swallow any, even in its diluted form.

For added safety, make sure you wear gloves when you’re preparing a dilution. If you’re using potassium permanganate tablets or crystals, make sure they’re fully dissolved in water before using the solution. Using hot (not boiling) water will help them dissolve.
If it irritates your skin or causes redness, stop using it immediately and contact your doctor.

Can I drink potassium permanganate?

No, do not consume potassium permanganate in drinking water. Potassium permanganate can control iron concentrations and is used to reduce the levels of nuisance materials that affect taste and odor of finished drinking water.

Can potassium permanganate be used to purify water?

Potassium permanganate is a common point-of-entry treatment method that oxidizes dissolved iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide into solid particles that are filtered out of the water. Potassium permanganate is also used to control iron bacteria growth in wells. But if you were to consume water from that well, it cannot have traces of Potassium permanganate (KMnO(4) because it is poisonous and toxic. 

Why is KMnO4 purple?

Potassium permanganate(KMnO4) is colored because it absorbs light in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. This charge transference occurs when a photon of light is absorbed, which leads to the purple color of the compound.

Can I buy potassium permanganate over the counter?

Yes, you can purchase purple tablets of potassium permanganate as an over-the-counter remedy at your local drugstore. This remedy will be a fungicidal. You can buy potassium permanganate tablets these days (the non-consumptional one used just for bathing) to use in a basin or bucket of water as it will stain your bathtub. With medicinal properties this is an entertaining way to clean yourself once in a while. 

How long do you soak your feet in potassium permanganate?

Pour a tiny amount of purple liquid called Potassium Permanganate Solution into a basin containing warm water until the water turns “pale pink”. If using your hands and feet, then soak in water for approximately 10 minutes or until the water changes colour to orange/brown.

Alternatively, if you have kids, you can buy an inflatable swimming pool and add a tiny amount of the crystals to let yourself and your children have fun while taking care of any dormant or underlying fungal infection.

How do you use potassium permanganate to wash vegetables?

Prepare a basin of water and add a tiny amount of potassium permanganate crystals or liquid. Be careful not to use a basin that you like very much as it will stain.  Soak the fruits and vegetables for exactly five minutes. After that you can wash it under running water. You may also choose to use potassium permanganate to clean fruits and vegetables. Soak the fruits or veg in some potassium permanganate solution for about five minutes and then rinse. This is an effective method to wash away bacteria, pesticides and germs.

How much potassium permanganate do I put in a pond?

Pond treatment for parasites: 2-4 g / 1000 liters. Pond treatment for bacteria: 2-4 g /1000 liter and keep on adding in small doses (2-4 g/1000litr) to keep the pond water pink for 8-10 hours. Dip: very effective for parasites, bacteria, ulcerations etc. Use 1 gram per 10 liter of water for 7 minutes.

Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4) can kill a lot of algae and increase the oxygen especially in warm water over eighty degrees. If you add too much carelessly, it will kill your fish. It also kills 99.9% of exposed beneficial bacteria so you’re advised to avoid letting it pass through your filter.

Is potassium permanganate toxic?

In some cases, the ingestion of seemingly innocuous household products or chemicals can result in death. 

Poisoning with potassium permanganate can be fatal when a significant amount is ingested, as shown by a patient who suffered both the corrosive and systemic toxic effects of this chemical.

Potassium permanganate is a powerful solution that must be diluted before applying it to your skin. If it’s not diluted, it can damage your skin as well as the mucus membranes of your nose, eyes, throat, anus, and genitals. Avoid using it near your eyes, and make sure you don’t swallow any, even in its diluted form.

For added safety, make sure you wear gloves when you’re preparing a dilution. If you’re using potassium permanganate tablets or crystals, make sure they’re fully dissolved in water before using the solution. Using hot (not boiling) water will help them dissolve.

If it irritates your skin or causes redness, stop using it immediately and contact your doctor.

What is acidified potassium permanganate?

This is actually going to be really cool because acidified potassium permanganate doesn’t change colour at all. Alkenes react with acidified potassium permanganate. Potassium Permanganate is a strong oxidant, and will initially convert the double bond to two alcohol (OH) groups. Ethene + Acidified Potassium Permanganate –> Ethan-1,2-diol. The purple colour from permanganate will slowly fade as the reaction proceeds.

What is the common name of potassium permanganate?

Potassium permanganate, also known as Condy’s crystals, is a chemical compound with a chemical formula of KMnO4. The chemical compound is made of a potassium (K+) ion and a permanganate (MnO4-) ion. It is a strong oxidizing agent, so it readily takes or accepts electrons from other substances

Did you know that after chlorine, potassium permanganate is the most commonly used water purifying chemical? Since it’s discovery it has been used medically for its healing and disinfecting properties for our skin, and for things that come in contact with our skin. Purchase a small amount to keep it handy! 

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