Why do you have to use deionized salt?

Submitted by BK on 11/10/04 at 8:15 PM. ( )

I have been reading through many sites and looking over several methods of tanning hides and they all say to use non-iodized salt (table salt). Well when I went to the store to pick up table salt it says on the package that it is iodized salt. Is it bad that I used iodized salt? And if it is bad, what is the difference between using one and the other?

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I have been using the stuff forever

This response submitted by gordon on 11/10/04 at 8:37 PM. ( )

with no problems. The "iodized" part of the salt is so that the salt will flow easily tru a sifter with out caking. Not to worry.

The pH difference

This response submitted by J Scanlan on 11/10/04 at 8:45 PM. ( )

The problem with table salt is that it contains Sodium Ferrocyanide or Yellow Prussiate of Soda, which salt companies add to the table salt to keep it from clumping up. The problem is that these chemicals to some extent,if used in a pickling bath, will neutralize your solution.
Pickling and Tanning Solutions are acidic. The average pickling solution has a pH of around 2. If table salt is used, it will neutralize your solutions a little, and you might end up with a pH of 3 or 4. Which would require you to add a little more pickling acid to get the pH back down to the 1 to 2 pH range, where the best results are obtained. The Morton Salt company makes a type of salt called Canning and Pickling Salt, which you can buy at a Walmart for about 90 cents for a 4 lb. box. Though it was made for canning food, it is just plain salt with nothing added.


This response submitted by Bill Haynes on 11/10/04 at 8:59 PM. ( )

Table salt has iodine added to help maintain the iodine in the body. It prevents goiters on the thyroid gland,located under the jawbone.
I know this as fact, as I had a goiter when about 4 years old. It was caused by using non-iodized salt that was used primarly for curing meat.
You can by "mixing salt" or "stock salt" at any feed store in fifty lb bags for about $4.00 a bag. This is finely ground, and has a non-caking agent added to help keep it free flowing.

pH? Where did that come from?

This response submitted by George on 11/10/04 at 9:17 PM. ( georoof@aol.com )

This must be one of those "urban legends" as this is the second or third time I've seen that crap on here. Plain and simple: SALT IS SALT. Non-iodized salt is recommended because "someone" "someplace" reasoned that the microscopic traces of iodine added to the salt to prevent goiter (just like Mr. Bill said) would also TINT THE HIDE. I suppose if you were doing a white sheepskin and wanted white leather, that iodine MIGHT tint it a shade or two darker, but for taxidermy purposes, the SKIN is not what shows. It's the hair and the hair is impervious to that trace amount. ROCK SALT is not recommended simply because it is too large to be effective and leaves too many gaps in the skin untreated. If you crushed it, it wouldn't be ROCK SALT but it would work. Table salt is extremely effective as it is ground so fine as to reach all the surfaces easily. You will be money ahead, however, if you buy it in bulk. It's rather cheap by the pound anyway, but for $8 to $10, you could probably buy 100 pounds from a local bakery or a butcher shop that sells their hides and has to salt them for storage. These salts are NOT iodized.

BTW, I keep my pickle at 1.0 only because there are no negative numbers. The pH is more likely to be effected by soap residue in the vat or borax dust in your shop than by any salt you use.

Iodized will not hurt.

This response submitted by Adam on 11/11/04 at 5:35 AM. ( amctaxidermy@yahoo.com )

I've been using Iodized salt for months now with no problems. I work a part time job in a kitchen and have my boss order it for me in 25lb bags for about 2 bucks each. I use Saftee Acid and the PH stays at 1 for days on end. I left two doe capes in acid with iodized salt for a week and a half before I got to them with no ill effects or PH levels going flunky.

I agree with George that the iodized salt = bad is nothing more than an urban legend in the taxidermy community.

When people have problems with the tanning process it usually means they started out with a hide that was bad to begin with, or at least thats my experience.

Another urban legend

This response submitted by cyclone on 11/12/04 at 11:01 AM. ( )

being formed even here today is that pH's cannot be less than 1 or negative...guess again...they can be...

Learn the definition of pH....pick up a book.

Come again, Cyclone

This response submitted by George on 11/12/04 at 12:54 PM. ( )

Understanding that I'm just a dumb country boy, mind telling me where I might find this "reading" you're referring to? pH stands for (p)otential for (H)dyrogen. Now seeing as has the potential for Hydrogen in all atoms depends on that at least one molecule of hydrogen exist, mind telling me how it's possible to obtain an solution that is acidic enough to eliminate Hydrogen completely and still have a pH? Now's your big chance to educate all of us.

Iodized salt works...sort of

This response submitted by drake on 11/12/04 at 10:12 PM. ( )

The iodine in table salt inhibits penetration of the salt into the hide. Non-iodized salt penetrates the hide much more efficiently, allowing the salt to remove as much moisture as possible. Iodized salt will not draw out as mush moisture creating a risk of slippage.

That's alchemy George....

This response submitted by cyclone on 11/15/04 at 10:10 AM. ( )

Try this web site George...http://www.acid-base.com/ph.ssi


It is defined as the negative common logarithm of the concentration of hydrogen ions [H+] in moles/litre: pH = -log10 [H+]. The letters of its name are derived from the absolute value of the power (p) of the hydrogen ion concentration (H).

It doesn't mean "potential" ...the symbol "p" is a mathematical function meaning: "the negative of the logarithm of a number".....

"Misconceptions about pH "limits". As students we often pick up the misconception that the pH scale has absolute limits, e.g., 0 - 14, partly from our inadequate textbooks and partly because pH meters commonly span this range. However, such limits would imply that it is impossible to have a hydrogen ion concentration greater than 1 mol/L or less than .01 picoMol/L. Think of concentrated sulfuric acid, for example. It is approximately 18 mol/L which corresponds to a negative pH, -1.25. Similarly concentrated base solutions can easily have extremely low hydrogen ion concentrations, corresponding to pHs above 14. The pH playground here is constructed to work over a convenient, but limited, range. Its purpose is to breed familiarity with pH, not illustrate extremes of range."

or pick up any chemistry book....

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