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Why would you wash a solvent with $\ce{NaOH}$ solution?

Does $\ce{NaOH}$ solution help water and solvent separate like $\ce{NaCl}$ solution does (salting out)?

Would you wash with hot or cold $\ce{NaOH}$ solution/water?

Anybody know anything about washing a solvent please explain basics to me? Thank you

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  • $\begingroup$ In my experience, washing is quite literal in meaning. I use solvents to remove an impurity that is soluble in the solvent while the product is not. If you're putting a strong base into solvent, I would think it's to remove an acid and allow separation by forming an aqueous layer. I'm no professional, so I'll just leave this comment here incase it helps. $\endgroup$ – PiZzL3 Mar 1 '15 at 2:38
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In general, the term washing means to remove something. For example, you have a water insoluble solvent containing some ionic contaminants, and you wash this with water to remove those water soluble ionic compounds.

As the first comment suggests, washing with a strong base like $\ce{NaOH}$ suggests that you are trying to remove an acid. A strong base would remove any acid, strong or weak. The base would be in an aqueous layer, and so there would also be the removal of water-soluble compounds.

The key is that your solvent must be non-miscible in water! In order to wash, your solvent and water cannot mix, so that the water pulls out the water soluble compounds and purifies the non-water soluble solvent.

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