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How to Remove Potassium Permanganate From Hands

By Abaigeal Quinn ; Updated July 27, 2017

Potassium permanganate--also known as “Condy’s crystals”--is an oxidizing agent. The dark purple, odorless crystal or granular powder is often used to remove colors, control tastes and odors, and manage biological growth in water treatment plants as well as to treat skin conditions such as eczema and athlete's foot, in a highly diluted form. Although the diluted form of potassium permanganate just temporarily stains skin, its pure form can cause burns, pain, swelling and redness to skin. You can remove it from hands by washing with water, but exposure to full-strength potassium permanganate may require medical attention.

Remove a diluted form of potassium permanganate by thoroughly washing your hands to clean off all traces. The color stain should fade on its own within 48 hours.

Immediately flush hands that have been exposed to full-strength potassium permanganate with large amounts of clean water for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Remove any contaminated clothing and shoes to avoid prolonging exposure to your skin.

Visit a doctor or emergency room to be examined if you have burns or experience skin irritation or dermatitis. Also seek immediate attention if you have symptoms of central nervous system impairment such as falling, emotional disturbances, lethargy, involuntary muscle spasms, fixed facial expressions or weakness in your legs. These are signs of chronic exposure.

Tips

Potassium permanganate is harmful when inhaled and can severely damage eyes and skin. Wear protective outerwear, including coveralls, boots, gloves, and eye and face shields, when handling the substance in its raw state--especially if you are pouring into liquid, which could cause splashing.

Warnings

Do not induce vomiting if you accidentally ingest potassium permanganate. Store potassium permanganate in a tightly sealed container away from combustible materials.

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