How to Remove Potassium Permanganate

Close up of individual washing hands in sink.

Potassium permanganate is a potassium compound used for treating water supplies and aquariums to remove chlorine and to control for odor and taste. In high concentrations, potassium permanganate can cause staining of the skin and clothing. Stains are usually brownish or pink in color and can be difficult to remove. There are a few steps you can take in an attempt to remove these stains.


Step 1

Scrub the skin with lukewarm water if the stain is on the hands or other exposed part of the body. This will loosen the compound's crystals that have invaded the pores. The rest of the discoloration will wear off within one to two days as the skin sheds its dead cells.

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Step 2

Treat the stain with a diluted hydrochloric acid. This solution should be used only on nonorganic materials such as porcelain, glass or clothing. It will bleach the stain out of the materials by neutralizing the compound's chemical properties.


Step 3

Rinse stained papers with sulfurous acid. This must be done immediately after contact with potassium permanganate to prevent the stain from settling into the paper's fibers. Potassium permanganate and sulfurous acid are an ideal way to remove stains from photos and old books.

Step 4

Use sodium metabisulfite to remove potassium permanganate stains from all surfaces. This is a preservative found in most grocery stores in the canning supply section. It is safe for clothes, skin and inorganic surfaces alike.

Things You'll Need

  • Lukewarm water

  • Hydrochloric acid

  • Sulfurous acid

  • Sodium metabisulfite


Always wear protective clothing, gloves and eyewear when working with any of the above-mentioned chemicals to avoid skin irritation. Work in a well-ventilated room, and avoid smoking or working near a source of heat. Most of the chemicals are highly flammable.




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