Milk of Lime – An Essential Industrial Material

Milk of Lime – An Essential Industrial Material

by Raja Mehar

Calcium hydroxide Ca (OH)2, originally called slaked lime, is an inorganic compound. It is a white powder or colorless crystal, and it is formed when the solution is mixed with water. Milk of lime (MOL) is also referred to as caustic, slaked, hydrated, or pickling lime, and Cal.

The liquid solution of Ca (OH)2 Is referred to as Limewater. The mixture of slaked lime and water results in milk of lime solution. When carbon dioxide goes through limewater the mixture turns milky because of the formation of Cal carbonate.

More About Ca (OH)2

This is an odorless pure white powder that is used in industries, like paper production, sewage treatment, food processing, and construction. Additionally, it has dental and medical uses. For instance, root canal fillers usually contain calcium hydroxide.

There are several names and forms of Ca (OH)2, which are:

  • Calcium hydrate
  • Cal hydroxide
  • Food-grade lime
  • Cal (II) hydroxide
  • Hydrated,
  • Slaked or
  • Pickling lime

Uses Of Limewater

Just like oxide, MOL can be used for several things. For example, it can be used in refining sugar, liming soil, and in formulating other compounds. Also, limewater is mostly used as an affordable alkaline, because it has a high concentration of hydroxide ions.


In chemistry, it can be employed to test the presence of carbon dioxide. It is because limewater reacts with carbon dioxide to produce a precipitate of calcium carbonate:

Ca (OH)2 (aq) + CO2 (g) → CaCO3 (s) + H2O (l)

MOL is also useful in fermentation because it determines the presence of carbon dioxide. Also, when limewater is mixed with carbon dioxide it becomes milky.

MOL is also usefulMedicine

At the time of old Vaudeville, during the 19th to 20th century, patent medicine was rampant. This medicine is also known as nostrum or proprietary medicine. It was used as a treatment for a variety of diseases – aches, and ailments. Milk of lime was mostly used as an act. Most times, the seller would have patients blow through a straw right into a glass of slake lime. Given that their exhalation contains carbon dioxide, the effect would then make the water cloudy. Afterward, the seller announces that such a reaction is a result of an ailment.

The seller uses a patent medicine container that has vinegar or similar acid inside. He would then pour the acid into a glass of cloudy slake lime. This leads to the clarity of the Cal carbonate acid reaction and the water. This illustrates the strong effect of the nostrum the seller tries to sell to cure the disease demonstrated by the reaction.


Milk of lime is used in the making of tortillas. Below are other ways cal hydroxide is used in food:


It is mostly utilized in processing certain sugars. For instance, sugar beets and sugar cane often use a refining procedure called carbonation. During this process, the unrefined sugar solution is mixed with calcium hydroxide. This procedure eliminates impurities and enhances the stability of the product.

Corn Products

Residents of Central America use calcium hydroxide in processing corn. They soak fresh corn in the water together with Ca (OH)2. The method used helps in processing corn into flour. Also, it retains vital nutrients in the corn, like niacin.

Fortified Fruit Juice

Sometimes fruit juice is fortified with cal, normally for extra nutritional value. Ca (OH)2 is one of the many ways to do this. You can see more uses of limewater for meals here.


MOL is used in fresco painting as the solvent color to paint on fresh plaster.


Milk of lime is used by marine aquarists, as well as a major supplement to alkalinity and Cal for reef aquariums.

For this purpose, MOL is commonly referred to as “kalkwasser”

Other uses of lime are as follows:

  • To stabilize soil for road construction, buildings, and airfields.
  • To manufacture steel to dominate the impurities.
  • Improves asphalt resistance towards aging and stripping.

Types Of Limewater Used In Construction


It is achieved by the process of slaking- a mixture of quicklime and water. Moreover, it absorbs carbonic acid when exposed, and just like milk of lime, it is also known as calcium hydrate, calcium hydroxide, or lime hydrate.


Also called caustic lime, it is created by burning raw limestone.


This is known as water lime. It comprises thirty percent silica and five percent iron oxide and alumina. It reacts when liquid is added to it.

Fat Lime

This contains more Cal oxide. It is also called rich or white lime. It vigorously slakes when water is added to it.


MOL is vital in many ways, however, this article does not exhaust all of its uses. You can get further information about the chemical base when you consult professionals who are in the business.

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