How to Make Hot Ice Using Homemade Sodium Acetate




Introduction: How to Make Hot Ice Using Homemade Sodium Acetate

   Have you ever wanted to play with ice, but it was just too cold for you to touch? Well, we have found a way to solve this issue using everyday household objects. Yes, we mean hot ice! Often used in handwarmers, this "ice" warms your hands with the same ice texture. This way, you can do the things that were too cold to do before!

Step 1: Making Homemade Sodium Acetate From Scratch

   If you don't want to go online and buy sodium acetate, and you want to make it, then this is for you. If you want to make it from scratch, this is how we do it. Here is what you will need:
~ 1 16 oz. box of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
~ 1 gallon jug of distiled white vinegar (acedic acid)
~ 1 clean pot for boiling (5.5 quart or larger)
~ 1 clean pot for filtering (4 quarts or larger)
~ 1 pack of coffee filters (basket style)
~ 1 small wire mesh strainer (Big enough to hold coffee filter)
~ 1 stove
~ 1 cup measuring cup for pouring hot solution through filter. 
~ 1 large clean cooking spoon for removing samples while boiling. 
~ 2 small dark dishes for holding samples (custard cups)
~ 1 clean jar to hold final solution

Step 2: Mixing Vinegar With Baking Soda

   The first step is the fun part! First, pour all but one cup of the distiled white white vinegar into a 5.5 quart container. One tablespoon at a time, add baking soda to the vinegar. Make sure you don't just dump it in, this will cause it to overflow. Towards about halway through the box, you should notice that the reaction is starting to slow down. At this point you might want to reduce the amount of soda your adding to a teaspoon. When you are putting in the baking soda and it no longer bubbles right away, but bubbles slugglishly as it sinks to the bottom, then it is time to stop. Add the other cup of set aside vinegar into the mixture just so we know we don't have more baking soda than we do vinegar.

Step 3: Boiling It Down

   The reaction is finished, and now we are left with sodium acetate with leftover acetic acid, so we need to boil it out. Put the solution over medium-high and heat. Now watch it boil. You dont want a violant boil, just a rolling boil. You are trying to reduce the volume of solution, so a happy-medium should be fine. Beware, this isn't terribly fun. After the solution boils down to about half of its starting voume, you will notice a color change. It will turn a distinctive straw color, then gold. As it starts to turn to an amber color, you know that you need to stop.

Step 4: Filtration

   Turn down the stove to where the solution is being heated, but it's not boiling. Nest six coffee filters together and stick them into your wire mesh strainer. Hold this above your four quart container. Using a one cup measuring cup, pour the hot solution into your "filter" that is being held over your four quart container. Don't pour it too fast, for it could overflow your filter.

Step 5: Last Boiling

 Heat the filtered solution until it is at a rolling boil. After it is reduced to about half (Or less if you're not sure), take it off and it's time to make it or break it.

Step 6: Testing Your Work

   Next, we have to test your solution. With one clean dark dish, fill it with several ice cubes (Or a quarter cup of crushed ice). With the other, pour a sample of the solution into it. Place that dish on top of the ice cube dish. If you did your expirement correctly, crystals will start to form as it cools. This is good and it lets you know that you've done the steps right. If it does not form into crystals, then you probably messed up around step four.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Step 7: It's That Simple!

 You now have liquid sodium acetate. Store in a cool place and let it all crystalize. Put into a clear container and it is ready for anything that you need it for. In this case, hot ice!

NOTE: I have found it necessary that you heat the now solid sodium acetate in the microwave so that it is now in a powder form. This makes it easier to work with. 

Step 8: Hot Ice Preperation

For this, you will need:
~ Your just made homemde sodium acetate
~ Pan
~ Stove
~ Distiled water
~ Container for cooling
~ Container for extra crystals

NOTE: Make sure all containers are clean!

Step 9: Dissolving

Boil distiled water on the stove. Dissolve sodium acetate in water until no more can dissolve. Wait until you start to see crystals build up on the side of the pan. The moment you see this happen, pour the solution into a small container and quickly put a lid on it. Make sure you have the lid all the way on so no heat can escape. Scrape the excess crystals off of the bottom of the pan and place them in a small container as well.

Step 10: Cooling

Next, cool in fridge. There is another way that is probably more effective. You can get a container, fill it with ice cubes and water, and set the container in the ice bath. This is quicker, it only takes about ten minutes.

Step 11: Final Product

Next, take the container out of the ice bath after ten minutes of cooling. Pick one crystal from what you scraped off of the pan and drop it into the solution. Now sit back and watch. Problem solved. 

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    12 Discussions


    1 year ago

    This is sooo cool
    I need to try it


    Question 1 year ago on Step 4

    Mine all turned into a solid in the strainer


    Question 2 years ago on Step 8

    how much distiled water do we need


    4 years ago

    help the boiling is not even working any tips


    Reply 2 years ago

    Did you turn the stove on?


    4 years ago

    i make it !!!!!!!!!! yay me


    4 years ago

    Wow this is AWESOME!

    to JillianM3 - why would you write a comment with such a sarcastic tone? My daughter was 11 years old when she asked that question 2 years ago, she was doing a science fair project - so no, she had not taken a basic chemistry class - not even at high school or college level as was still at primary school and everything she has learnt is self taught, so now she could answer that question herself. So no she did not know the importance of distilled water and had probably never heard of it. That is the beauty of this site, learning curves and helpful people, not pompous people who think others should know basics, "Um..." (Lose the attitude and it would have been a pleasant and helpful reply) - that was from my 13 yr old.

    i dont get why in another instructable - nerdrage - he just boiled vinegar and baking soda and that is what he used to make hot ice. why have you done that step, then reboiled it with water? confused. also would it work with tap water not distilled?


    Reply 4 years ago

    Um, if you haven't already taken a basic chemistry class (high school or college level) you should know the importance of distilled water, as tap water has many impurities that can adversely effect the reaction. Distilled water has been boiled, evaporated, recollected and filtered to prevent anything bad from happening.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This looks like fun. Any chance you could rotate some of your images and make them all look a bit more uniform? What a great science project!